Las Vegas Sun

November 18, 2018

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Trump backed into a corner

President Donald Trump came out for a press conference the morning after the midterm elections acting like he had a serious hangover from a bad night. He was combative with reporters and vowed a warlike stance with Democrats if they investigate him.

Then came the firing of Jeff Sessions as attorney general, followed by the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as his replacement. Trump found someone who professed loyalty to him and had a prejudice against the Russia investigation. He disregarded protocol, bypassing Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein.

A conflict of interest is anything with the appearance of impropriety. Whitaker has stated that the Russia probe could be deterred by reducing funding and that it should be narrowed in scope. He should be advised by Justice Department lawyers to recuse himself.

Of course, Trump has probably talked to Whitaker about a loyalty pledge, and he would not appoint another person who might recuse himself.

Since Trump is effectively under investigation, he should be questioned about his conversations with Whitaker. If there was any discussion about shutting down the probe, that would be obstruction of justice.

We cannot allow Trump to undermine our system of justice to suit his own ends. The Democratic House majority must try to enact legislation to protect the investigation while still trying to enact legislation to advance issues important to the American people.