In a 'self-defeating and self-incriminating' slipup, Trump just indicated he installed Matthew Whitaker to kill the Russia probe (Business Insider link): In a 'self-defeating and self-incriminating' slipup, Trump just indicated he installed Matthew Whitaker to kill the Russia probe.
"What is so unusual about Trump is that he publicly forecasts his motivation in a way that is self-defeating and self-incriminating," Elie Honig, a former prosecutor from the Southern District of New York who specialized in organized-crime cases, told INSIDER. Jeffrey Cramer, a longtime former federal prosecutor who spent 12 years at the DOJ, echoed that assessment.
"The president's knee-jerk pivot to talking about the Russia investigation when asked about Whitaker's qualification is what poker players call a 'tell,'" Cramer told INSIDER.
The most difficult thing for investigators to prove in an obstruction-of-justice case is corrupt intent on the part of the defendant.
"Sometimes you get lucky and get emails or wiretapped phone calls ... where the subject might secretly or privately admit intent," Honig said. "Other times the prosecutor simply must argue intent to the jury based on circumstantial evidence. With Trump, however, we have a subject who openly and publicly and unapologetically announces why he takes certain steps, even when those reasons might give rise to criminal liability."