Back in early 2018, one major media report after another revealed that Donald Trump ordered White House Counsel Don McGahn to commit felony obstruction of justice and McGahn heroically refused to do it. By the end of 2018 we learned that McGahn had been selling Trump out to Robert Mueller all along. In hindsight, McGahn was rather clearly feeding these stories to the media in order to try to absolve himself. Now suddenly we’re seeing it again today, but with a bunch more names.
Today’s stunning New York Times expose about Donald Trump’s obstruction of justice antics spans two years and covers several stages of Trump’s revolving door of senior advisers. The one thing that stands out is that, according to the story, every one of these advisers either heroically refused to carry out Trump’s obstruction orders, or at least earnestly tried to talk Trump out of it. How convenient for them, we suppose.
It’s not too difficult to parse that Matt Whitaker, Sean Spicer, and familiar face Don McGahn, who are all depicted in the NYT story as heroically standing up to Donald Trump’s crime spree, were direct or indirect sources for the story. Someone is going down for Trump’s obstruction, and they’re trying to use the media to ensure that it’s Trump, and not them, who goes down.
What’s interesting is the timing. Why would these three guys all decide that right now is a good time to make sure the world knows that they weren’t cool with Trump’s obstruction of justice? Makes you wonder if they all know that Robert Mueller is about to drop the hammer on obstruction of justice, and they’re trying to get out in front of it. After all, Mueller just interviewed Trump’s last remaining obstruction loyalist, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, which would suggest that Mueller’s obstruction probe is ready to go.
Here’s the intriguing part. Since mid 2017, Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus, and Don McGahn have all been represented by the same criminal defense attorney in the Trump obstruction investigation. By legal definition, this means they’re all mounting the same exact defense strategy, with no possibility of any conflict of interest among them. It’s since been confirmed that McGahn was cooperating with Mueller all along. That means Spicer and Priebus were as well. Steve Bannon later hired the same lawyer, meaning he was also cooperating.
So if you take the three people playing hero in this New York Times story, (Matt Whitaker, Sean Spicer, Don McGahn) and you add in the two people who are legally tied to Spicer and McGahn at the hip (Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon), it means five of Donald Trump’s top current and former advisers have sold him out for obstruction of justice. That may be the truly big story here.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report