US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting on prison reform in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, January 11, 2018. / AFP PHOTO ...
SAUL LOEB

Trump describes investigation into Russia scandal as ‘illegal’

Donald Trump’s willingness to play make-believe extends to pretending to be a legal expert who’s uncovered evidence of all kinds of crimes.

On Saturday, for example, the confused president, pointing to a memo prepared by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, argued that the Justice Department and intelligence agencies did “terrible things” that were “so illegal.” The Democratic document actually proved the opposite.

Soon after, he called into a Fox News program to argue that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was guilty of unspecified crimes, worthy of investigation. The president’s eagerness to lobby the Justice Department to probe his political adversaries continues to be unhealthy.

But perhaps most importantly, Trump published a tweet about an entirely new criminal allegation:

“This whole Witch Hunt is an illegal disgrace…”

Trump was referring to the investigation into the Russia scandal, which isn’t a witch hunt, illegal, or disgraceful.

For one thing, as Rachel noted on Friday’s show, just last week, Special Counsel Robert Mueller brought 89 new felony charges against 17 different people. Several of the accused, including the president’s own former White House national security advisor, have already pleaded guilty. The point at which this probe could credibly be called a “witch hunt” has long since passed.

For another, the idea that Trump believes the investigation is itself “illegal” seems new to me. I can think of all kinds of instances in which the president has whined incessantly about the investigation but I don’t recall him publicly condemning the probe as “illegal.”

In late January, congressional Republicans balked at proposals to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller, saying that there was no need to protect the person overseeing the investigation from the erratic president. Now that Trump has labeled the investigation “an illegal disgrace,” perhaps GOP lawmakers can reconsider their indifference?