Last summer, after we learned that Donald Trump Jr had met with the Russians at Trump Tower during the campaign, the media reported that it was Donald Trump himself who dictated his son’s public response. Since that time, Trump has publicly insisted that this was not the case. Now we’re learning that in January, Trump sent a confidential memo to Robert Mueller, admitting that he dictated the response, while arguing that it’s legal for the president to obstruct justice. The trouble: he may have just sent Hope Hicks to prison in the process.
Donald Trump’s legal spokesman Mark Corallo was present when Trump was plotting with his staff on how to obstruct justice with the Trump Jr response. Corallo was so unnerved by it, he quickly resigned. He’s since testified to Mueller that, among other things, he heard Hope Hicks telling Trump that she would make sure Trump Jr’s emails never saw the light of day. If this can be substantiated, it would mean that Hicks committed a felony.
Hicks’ best legal defense was that Trump himself has always publicly disputed that things happened in the manner Corallo described. But now we have Trump admitting in a memo that he did indeed dictate Junior’s response. It goes a long way toward corroborating Corallo’s version of events, and it gives credibility to Corallo’s claim that he heard Hicks plotting with Trump to obstruct justice. Here’s where it gets ugly for Hicks.
Donald Trump is not going to be able to sell the notion that it’s legal for him to obstruct justice because he’s the president. But even if he could pull that one off, his aides would still be committing a crime if they were conspiring with him to obstruct justice. In other words, in an attempt at protecting himself, Donald Trump and his memo may have just sent Hope Hicks to prison. Of course this in turn would only motivate her to cut a plea deal against Trump, so it may not exactly have been Trump’s best move.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report