Earlier this week we learned that White House Counsel Don McGahn tried to convince Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself in the Trump-Russia investigation, meaning that McGahn obstructed justice. Now it turns out McGahn wasn’t the only one who made that effort. Also reportedly involved in pushing Jeff Sessions to remain in charge of the Russia probe and protect Donald Trump from it: Sean Spicer. It may be even messier than you’d think.
Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus both tried to convince Sessions not to recuse himself, according to a new CNN report (link), meaning they’re both on the hook for obstruction of justice, or conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice. Spicer is denying it, asserting that he was too far on the outside of the decision making process to have been involved in such a decision one way or the other. The real upshot here, however, is that other pieces of the puzzle suggest Spicer has already flipped.
This week we learned that Priebus has given his detailed notes about Trump’s obstruction to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. This means Priebus has flipped. In fact it means Priebus flipped back when he was interviewed by Mueller for a full day in mid October. If Priebus really did try to obstruct justice, as CNN now claims, it would explain why he was reportedly so eager and “champing at the bit” to get in there and speak to Mueller. Priebus took a new job running a law firm immediately after his Mueller interview, strongly suggesting that he was able to clear himself legally during that interview – and he could only have assured that by giving Mueller everything, which we now know he did. So how does this relate back to Spicer?
Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer were voluntarily interviewed by Robert Mueller within a few days of each other in October. Each interview lasted a full day, generally a sign of cooperation. Now that we know Priebus’s plan was to flip, it’s a fairly safe bet that Spicer was doing the same thing. In any case, if Spicer did obstruct justice, he’s looking at serious criminal liability – unless he has indeed already flipped on Trump.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report