May I suggest three names for Santa Mueller’s naughty list?
In March, as the House Intelligence Committee was preparing to call fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates to testify about her warnings to the White House regarding disgraced National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, committee chairman Devin Nunes pulled a clown Uber show, racing to the the White House to get an urgent briefing from Flynn hire Ezra Cohen-Watnick and former Nunes counsel Michael Ellis to back up the president’s wackadoodle claims that Obama tapped his wires.
The episode, while hilarious and ultimately humiliating for Nunes, did have an effect besides providing employment for late-night comedians: it derailed the committee’s schedule and canceled Yates’ testimony. It was a literal obstruction of the machinery of justice.
Republicans may object that, since Yates later publicly testified at a subcommittee hearing for the Senate Judiciary Committee, justice was not thwarted so no harm, no foul. Besides, they’ll argue, stopping Yates’ testimony wasn’t the goal, but exposing the evil unmasking done by the nefarious Black President.
To address those two points: First, obstruction need not be successful to be investigated or prosecuted. In fact, if it is successful, it will not, by definition, be investigated or prosecuted. You try to stick up a liquor store and you’ll get busted, even if the owner beats the crap out of you with a bat.
As for the second argument, that there was no intent to stymie the House committee’s investigation, how do we know that? We have Nunes’ word on it? His Midnight Ride discounted the value of his word to zero, so we must go another route to discover the motive for the bizarre episode.
Nunes, Cohen-Wattnick and Ellis need to be deposed, under oath. And I imagine Mr. Mueller’s already got that on his to-do list.