So much obfuscation.
Well, we’re off to a slow start. :-) But trust me, no obfuscation was intended.
Obstruction is an actual crime with explicit statutory defintions and is not contingent upon any antecedent crime having been committed.You can be guilty of obstruction even if you have committed no other crime.
Yes, I actually said that in the article. You’re absolutely correct, but what you’re doing is confusing the Court of Law for the Court of Public Opinion. (I expect to see your tribe conflate these two matters often over the next few weeks.)
Impeachment is a political decision, not solely a legal one. Let’s review the last two cases of this for insight.
In the case of Mr. Clinton, the Court of Law had him dead to rights on legal grounds. However, because of the circumstances of the crime, his attorney argued to the Senate that impeachment had a high bar that had not been met; IOW, the punishment (removal from office) was not commensurate with the gravity of the crime.
The Court of Public Opinion agreed; Mr. Clinton’s approval ratings rose. Thus, the Democrats saw that there was no political price to be paid for unwavering support, and they gave him that support by voting nay.
Mr. Clinton stayed in office.
In the case of Mr. Nixon, the Court of Law also had him dead to rights on legal grounds. Because of the circumstances of his crime, the Court of Public Opinion went the other way. His approval ratings crashed, his Party realized that to minimize the political damage they needed to vote to convict. (Of course, no vote was ever taken; Mr. Nixon, seeing the way the wind was blowing, resigned before the impeachment vote.)
In both cases the Court of Law found the President guilty; the variable was the Court of Public Opinion. If the Democrats impeach Mr. Trump, they will have to convince the Court of Public Opinion that his actions (a) were, in fact, intended to obstruct justice (questionable), when in fact (b) no crime had been committed. If they are successful, then Trump’s approvals drop by half and the GOP will join the Democrats in an impeachment vote to triage the political damage.
So, although obstruction is indeed a crime even if no crime was committed, convincing the Court of Public Opinion of that is a hard road; in fact, I’d say it’s almost impossible. And I believe the Democrats know this; the argument that Trump’s actions were consistent with that of an innocent man given no way to defend himself is persuasive.
(Further, there are other factors not related to the Mueller Report that make this a minefield for Democrats, but let’s not digress.)
Hence, the early talking points are attempting to “soften the battlefield” (if you will) by suggesting that it will be shameful to defend the POTUS. This is nonsense, but unless it’s called out early as a nonsensical tactic, it might take root.
For example, a black man is accused of a murder he did not commit. His mother, fearing an unfair trial, tries to protect him by giving police a false alibi. The police eventually determine the death was a suicide and no death related crime was committed. However thier investigation revealed the mother’s alibi to be false, and so charge her with obstruction of justice. Why? Because the false alibi is on its own a criminal offence independent of any other crime having been or not having been committed.
I have no idea why you felt it necessary to add race into your example, but I agree with everything written. However, I should point out that the example deviates from Mr. Trump’s case because (a) you’ve made it about the mother, not the alleged perpetrator, which takes the “innocent man defending himself” argument off the table, and (b) you’ve inserted a provably false alibi as the crime, where “provably” is not going to be part of the coming debate. It is going to be about Mr. Trump’s INTENTIONS, which is not something that can be proven one way or another.
So, as I said, we’ll see where this goes. Early polling indicates that GOP support for Trump has firmed post-Mueller (not that it needed much firming) but more relevant are the indications that the centrist/independent citizens seem ready to be done with these matters, indicating that there are minefields if the Democrats decide to ignore the wisdom of their leadership and go down an impeachment path.
To conclude: The Democrats are faced with the unenviable task of convincing (a) a relatively loyal Republican base not to give their POTUS the benefit of the doubt on charges of obstruction, possibly in a situation where the (b) swing voter would prefer them to move along. If (a) remains true, then the Senate faces no political backlash in voting for acquittal, and will do so.