Trump Allies Shift Their ‘No Obstruction’ Refrain After Mueller Speaks Publicly

on May 17, 2018 in Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 17: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders conducts the daily news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House May 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. Sanders faced questi... WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 17: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders conducts the daily news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House May 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. Sanders faced questions about Michael Cohen, upcoming talks with North Korea, why the president called some immigrants non-people and animals and other inquiries. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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President Trump’s allies, in the wake of public remarks by special counsel Robert Mueller Wednesday, have tweaked the language they have used to claim that the President did not commit criminal obstruction of justice.

The shift is minor, but telling.

No longer are the President’s top mouthpieces asserting that Mueller himself, in his report, found no obstruction. They are now hanging that conclusion on Attorney General Bill Barr — who said in an initial summary of the report that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein found Mueller’s evidence of obstruction insufficient — or on the Justice Department, generally.

Mueller said on Wednesday that he was unable, per DOJ policy, to accuse a sitting President of a crime, but that, nonetheless, if his team “had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that.”

Both points he had previously stated in his report, which was mostly made public on April 18.

Yet, perhaps because there is now camera footage of him making the statement, many in Trump’s orbit no longer feel comfortable attaching Mueller specifically to the “no obstruction” claim.

“The report was clear—there was no collusion, no conspiracy—and the Department of Justice confirmed there was no obstruction,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement after his remarks.

Vice President Mike Pence echoed that rhetoric in a statement of his own that said that the “Department of Justice concluded there was no collusion and no obstruction.”

The President’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow said that Mueller’s probe had produced no “findings” of obstruction against the President, but then stressed that the “Attorney General conclusively determined that there was no obstruction by the President.”

The initial claims by Trump’s inner circle about Mueller’s findings were not always so hedged.

Sanders referred to his conclusions as the “no-collusion, no-conspiracy, no-obstruction Mueller Report” in a May 8 statement from the White House.

“And the Special Counsel’s report is in: no collusion, no obstruction,” Pence said in a gaggle just last week.

Sekulow, also previously ignored Mueller’s claim in his report that he was not in a position to accuse Trump of a crime.

“Look, if they had an obstruction case they would have made it,” Sekulow said the day the report came out.

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  1. Avatar for sanni sanni says:

    Dear Trump Allies,

    It only feels like you are boxed in a corner, folks. But the walls are creeping closer - at this pace, you’ll really be boxed into a corner, very soon.

    For added dash of fun - consider the gossipy new about to be released Wolfe book - which relies heavily upon Bannon - who reportedly suggests that Trump isn’t smart, isn’t a billionaire, and will likely see some of his base turn on him.

    Oh the Tanties you are going to have to live through and pretend
    aren’t happening that are ahead of you…

    And singling you out McMajLeaderTurtle. perhaps you should retire soon, because I think it is likely to become pretty ugly for you, too.

  2. Shift? They’ll be like running the INDY 500 backwards as fast as they’ll be fleeing.

  3. This is good good good. Barr admitted he hadn’t reviewed everything before writing his initial lies in that 4 page letter, so what Team Grift (including Barr) is now admitting is that Barr “concluded” there was no obstruction without any real basis for drawing the conclusion. Responsible attorneys in positions of power don’t do that unless they’re shills serving a tribal agenda.

    ETA: we need to get out there claiming that the WH is now admitting and gloating that they’ve succeeded in pulling off a Saturday Night Massacre.

  4. Gee, don’t they find it laughable to say that a Trump cabinet member confirmed he’s innocent?

  5. Ah how the mighty Legal Houdini has fallen with his toes just over the line. FAULT!

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