CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey offers up a convoluted way to claim President Trump is innocent of obstruction of justice in his March 27 column, focusing on Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler:
On Sunday morning, Nadler appeared on CNN's "State of the Union." Later that day, Attorney General William Barr publicly released a letter to Nadler summarizing Mueller's principal conclusions. It stated: "The Special Counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 US Presidential Election."
Prior to the release of this letter, host Dana Bash asked Nadler whether he still believed — as he had "said before" — that President Trump obstructed justice.
In a nonsensical response, Nadler suggested there had been two types of obstruction of justice: criminal and noncriminal.
"Well, there have been obstructions of justice," Nadler said.
"Whether they are criminal obstruction is another question," he said. "But ... the special prosecutor is limited in scope. His job was limited in scope and limited to crimes.
"What Congress has to do is look at a broader picture," Nadler said. "We have the responsibility of protecting the rule of law, of looking at obstructions of justice, at looking at abuses of power, at corruption, in order to protect the rule of law, so that our democratic institutions are not greatly damaged by this president. And that's what we intend to do."
Bash then asked Nadler: "(I)f Robert Mueller comes out in his report and suggests very strongly, or states flat out, that he agrees with you that the president obstructed justice or that the president may have committed some crime that DOJ guidelines do not allow to be indicted, will you begin impeachment proceedings?"
"It's way too early to speculate about that," he said.
The idea of noncriminal obstruction is not "nonsensical." As one law blogger points out, it's entirely possible that there was obstruction that did not rise to criminal levels, and there are also reasons one might not prosecute Trump for obstruction even if it did rise to a criminal level.
Jeffrey then attacked Nadler for opposing President Clinton's impeachment because the offenses he was alleged to have committed didn't rise to that level. He added:
"What the president has done," Nadler said that day the House voted to impeach, "is not a great and dangerous offense to the safety of the republic."
Would Nadler ever make the same argument about a president who committed no offense he needed to cover up?
One can also ask: If the president committed no crime, why did he act in a manner as to obstruct the investigation into whether he committed one? Jeffrey never asks that.