Wiretap: Now we’re back to the legal question of whether a president can obstruct justice

Donald Trump’s lawyer says the president probably knew that Michael Flynn had lied to the FBI at the time Trump reportedly asked then-FBI Director Jim Comey to go easy on Flynn. It was soon after, of course, that Trump fired Comey. You can probably see how the dots — and Trump’s post-plea tweets — might be connected. Certainly special counsel Robert Mueller can. Via The Washington Post.

And so we’re back to Nixonland, wherein Trump lawyer, John Dowd, says that a president cannot commit obstruction of justice because he’s the president. Via Axios.

Peter Beinart: The Flynn guilty plea may well lead to many more problems for Trump, but if you think those problems might lead Congress anywhere near impeachment, you haven’t been paying attention. Via The Atlantic.

Former FBI special agent Frank Montoya Jr. writes in the New York Daily News that the Flynn plea looks like Robert Mueller may be building a case against top Trump officials — including maybe the president himself — for obstructing justice.

If there’s anything we’ve learned from the tax-cut bill, it’s that the GOP doesn’t really care about deficits. After years of screaming about a debt crisis, they pass a bill that would add $1 trillion to the deficit. They passed that bill, of course, with no hearings and with scribbled amendments in the margins. You can call it hypocrisy. Or cynicism. Or straight-out lying. Via Vox.

It’s the booze and the broads. Or so says Sen. Charles Grassley when explaining why Republicans want to get rid of the estate tax, which kicks in for couples leaving fortunes of greater than $11 million: “I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.” Via Business Insider.

Next up: Will the government shut down? The deadline is Friday, not that it’s a firm deadline. Republicans want a two-week funding bill. Democrats aren’t so sure. Via The New York Times.

In case anyone actually believes there’s any question that Trump’s grab-‘em-by-pussy Access Hollywood tape is fake, Billy Bush, who did the interview, writes in The New York Times that, yes, Trump did say it. Believe him.

How Trump’s “fake news” strategy may, in fact, end up making the media stronger, particularly as all those New York Times and Washington Post stories about Trump’s team and Russian are shown to be true. Via The New Yorker.

Robin Abcarian: The verdict in the Kate Steinle murder trial was shocking but fair. Whatever the critics say, jurors put facts over politics. Via The Los Angeles Times.

From The National Review: George F. Will writes that baking a cake is baking a cake — and not constitutionally protected speech. But still Will wonders why this case ended up in court.

Photo courtesy of the White House, via Flickr: Creative Commons. President Donald Trump salutes as he and First Lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Marine One, Friday, May 19, 2017, to Joint Base Andrews, MD, for the start of their overseas visit to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Rome, Brussels and Taormina, Italy. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)


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