The controversial legal defense offered by President Trump's personal attorney John Dowd yesterday that the president cannot be guilty of obstructions of justice because he is the nation’s top law enforcement official has come under scrutiny from an unlikely source: Trump’s lawyer inside the White House.
Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer handling Russia matters, says the legal strategy raised by Dowd on Monday in an interview with Axios, to his knowledge, simply doesn’t exist.
“There is no strategy of which I'm aware to rely boldly on the proclamation that obstruction is always impossible with regard to a president," Cobb said in a statement to ABC News. "I expect a fact-based exoneration that does not require that level of legal analysis.”
It’s an unusual contradiction between these two lawyers for Trump, who are known to coordinate on legal strategy. The president and his team have vehemently denied he is guilty of any wrongdoing — and that he is even the subject of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe.
Dowd declined to comment on Cobb's latest statement but stood by his initial statement from yesterday in which he argued that the president cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice.
Dowd made the case yesterday that a sitting president cannot obstruct justice, citing Article II of the Constitution. The "president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under Art II and has every right to express his view of any case," Dowd said on Monday.
That legal strategy drew into question whether the President and those around him now fear obstruction charges could be coming, and it drew comparisons to Nixon’s famous remark during delivered a few years after the Watergate scandal: “when the president does it, that means it is not illegal,” Nixon told David Frost in a 1977 interview.
This comes on the heels of former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn pleading guilty last Friday to lying to Federal authorities earlier this year. Flynn has agreed to cooperate with the investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into potential collusion between the Russian government and Trump campaign during the 2016 election.