All he’s gotta do’s fire him

Newt Gingrich spelled out the core issue while chatting at the National Press Club:

By the way, technically, the president of the United States cannot obstruct justice. President of the United States is the chief executive officer of the United States: if he wants to fire the FBI director, all he’s gotta do’s fire him.

And yet, as many many people rushed to point out, that’s sure as hell not what Gingrich was saying when it was Bill Clinton in the cross-hairs. At that time he said the opposite.

So, is it bullshit, or is it true?

Clearly as a matter of outcome, it depends on who has the votes. As a matter of brute fact, it depends on power, not law and not morality.

But as a matter of moral fact? Yes of course the president can obstruct justice, and obviously Trump is trying hard to do just that.

Absurdly, Gingrich goes on to give what he calls a “very good test”:

If John F Kennedy had fired J Edgar Hoover over investigating and wiretapping Martin Luther King Junior, would people have thought it was obstruction. [smug nod]

John F Kennedy wasn’t the same person as Martin Luther King, so no, that is not a “very good test”; it’s a ridiculous test. Trump is trying to obstruct an investigation of himself.

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