Trump’s second White House Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, was hired to help keep Trump in line, but he’s actually making things even worse for Trump, and now for himself as well.
Bloomberg reports, President Donald Trump’s frustrations with the Russia investigation boiled over on Air Force One last week when he learned that a top Justice Department official had warned against releasing a memo that could undercut the probe, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.
Trump erupted in anger while traveling to Davos after learning that Associate Attorney General Stephen Boyd warned that it would be “extraordinarily reckless” to release a classified memo written by House Republican staffers. The memo outlines alleged misdeeds at the FBI and Justice Department related to the Russia investigation.
So, Trump was angry, because he wants the memo released. Why would he want it released? Because it was written by Republicans and it would help delegitimize Robert Mueller’s investigation by pointing out “misdeeds at the FBI and Justice Department”. Trump thinks the memo release will help him.
John Kelly has been using his power to push Trump toward even more severe stances on immigration and race issues, but it’s a new move by Kelly that is raising eyebrows. One that strongly suggests he’s walking a fine line between proper leadership and obstruction of justice.
Bloomberg characterized John Kelly’s behavior, saying:
“Kelly held separate meetings or phone calls with senior Justice Department officials last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to convey Trump’s displeasure and lecture them on the White House’s expectations. Kelly has taken to ending such conversations with a disclaimer that the White House isn’t expecting officials to do anything illegal or unethical.”
Just in case it’s not already obvious, these actions by John Kelly toward the DOJ are the very definition of obstruction of justice, explains Bill Palmer. He’s interfering with the justice department during an investigation that could go down as the biggest scandal in American history.
Kelly says he doesn’t want the team to do anything “illegal”, but that is being seen by many as a ‘cover your a**’ move, so in reality that disclaimer doesn’t mean much. The fact that he’s trying to influence the investigation is bigger than an empty statement saying ‘don’t do anything illegal’.
The mere act of attempting to influence the investigation on Trump’s behalf meets the definition of obstruction, even if he didn’t ask anyone to do anything “wrong.” This is a big deal.
Kelly’s been in the government for ages and he knows exactly what obstruction of justice is. His efforts to stay on Trump’s good side to continue forcing insane immigration agendas on Americans has clearly gotten the best of him. He had to have known that the DOJ would not take this lightly.
Bill Palmer says, “This is obstruction. This is the kind of thing that government officials go to prison for. John Kelly is now a felon. Special Counsel Robert Mueller can, and almost surely will, target Kelly in the hope of forcing him to flip on Donald Trump. Not only has Trump destroyed Kelly, he’s probably just created yet another insider cooperating witness against him.”