Even his staunchest surrogates can't get around Trump's own damning words.
The case for Donald Trump’s obstruction of justice got another loud and very public assist from Trump himself this week, and left his surrogates with little to work with in covering for him.
During an impromptu press gaggle in embattled White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s office this week, Trump told reporters that he was simply “fighting back” against the Russia investigation when he pressured and fired former FBI Director James Comey.
On Sunday morning, White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short had a hard time defending Trump’s declaration when pressed by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace.
Wallace played audio of Trump’s comments, and asked the key question: “What does the president think is the difference between obstruction and fighting back?”
“I honestly, Chris, I don’t know,” Short replied. “I’m not often involved in those conversations involving that investigation.”
Short went on to say that Trump “has been frustrated by this investigation.”
“It feels like there’s been millions of dollars of taxpayer dollars spent, and no evidence yet of collusion,” he insisted.
Short also revived a partisan attack on special counsel Robert Mueller, alleging that Mueller knew in advance that he would be appointed to that post when he interviewed for Comey’s vacant FBI directorship.
It is notable that Short used the qualifier “yet” when insisting there’s “no evidence of collusion.”
California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the highest ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, noted that the infamous Trump Tower meeting was “about as clear of evidence you could find of intent by the campaign to collude with the Russians.” And more evidence will surely come out when Mueller’s investigation is complete.
But the case against Trump for obstruction of justice has already been made in public, repeatedly, by Trump’s own words. Even staunch surrogates like Short can’t get around that.
And it’s looking more and more likely that, in the end, neither will Trump.