Election 2020

Bill Weld: Trump's Obstruction 'Goes Well Beyond Anything President Richard Nixon Ever Did'

With the Mueller report scaring off other GOP challengers, the special prosecutor's former boss calls on the president to resign, raises "millions," and continues to get drubbed in the polls.


A Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll of 394 likely New Hampshire Republican voters released Tuesday is showing more bad news for GOP challenger Bill Weld in his own backyard: 72.3 percent favor President Donald Trump, while just 16.5 percent back the former two-term governor of Massachusetts. When fence-sitters John Kasich and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan are thrown in, Weld slips to third place behind the CNN commentator, 7.9 percent to Kasich's 9.1, more than 60 percentage points behind the incumbent.

Like many of Trump's most fervent political opponents, Kasich and Hogan had been hoping that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation would dramatically alter the political landscape, giving them an opening against an otherwise overwhelming favorite busy stacking his party's deck. Well, so much for that. The official Hogan position these days is "seriously considering" but needs to see a "path to victory"; meanwhile, Kasich hype man John Weaver keeps hyping every new some-conservatives-don't-like-Trump poll, as his meal ticket gets paid for repeating on CNN that "all of my options remain on the table."

Weld, who told me in late February that "I'm not waiting to see what happens with the Mueller investigation, because I know all I need to know about the rule of law," has since his April 15 official announcement been ratcheting up his Trump/Russia criticism, while fundraising, he claims, is "in the millions.""It's time for Trump to resign," he wrote last week for the NeverTrumpers over at The Bulwark (whose founder Bill Kristol, meanwhile, keeps pining for Nikki Haley to jump into the race).

Weld hired Robert Mueller in 1990 as his deputy at the Justice Department (fun fact: Mueller's only reported political contribution was to Weld's losing Senate race against John Kerry back in the '90s). So I asked him while guest-hosting Sirius XM Insight's Stand UP! with Pete Dominick last Thursday what (if any) special insights he has on the special counsel's work.

"I think the whole conspiracy with Russia issue is gone," Weld said. "Mueller is a very thorough prosecutor, found no evidence of that. If he didn't find any evidence of that, that didn't happen." However: "He didn't say Trump is guilty of obstruction, [but] he puts out all the evidence." More:

I can tell you, it's very obvious that the evidence goes well beyond what's required to charge the president with obstruction of justice. It goes well beyond anything President Richard Nixon ever did. What the Mueller report says at the end of Volume Two is, we would have liked to have come to a conclusion that the president is not guilty of obstruction of justice, but we were unable to come to that view. They didn't pull the trigger, because they thought they couldn't charge the president. If you read Volume Two, it's very clear that the president committed the offense of obstruction of justice.

I asked Weld to address the objection that obstruction is a dubious charge when, unlike in the case of the Watergate burglary, there is no underlying crime. "Well, that's not the law," he said. More:

I realize that's the theory advanced by Bill Barr, now Attorney General Barr, in his June 2018 19-page memo for the president's eyes, which wound up with him getting selected to be attorney general. … It's as though he never read United States vs. Nixon, the summer of 1974 case, decided unanimously by an eight to nothing Supreme Court, saying, "Nixon, you've got to turn over those tapes in response to the subpoena, or you're going to be guilty of contempt of Congress."

Nixon, as I've said, had self-awareness and a sense of shame, whatever you want to call it. He turned them over right away. He resigned August 9th; I think that opinion was July 24th or something like that. That was a huge earthquake around the Supreme Court's holding, that the president is not above the law. Part of their rationale was that this is pursuant to a legitimate criminal inquiry, there was some evidence, etc. etc. In other words, they went into exactly the sort of thing that Mr. Barr says you can't go into. He says, once the president does something, you can't examine the motivations or the circumstances surrounding it. It's just pure executive power. You can't even cross examine him on that.

Weld's bottom line: "Mueller showed obstructive acts. He recited enough to show corrupt intent as well. That's all there. The only thing that stopped him was this internal Justice Department opinion from 20 years ago. I would not have relied on that myself."

NEXT: Pelosi, Schumer Pitch Trump on Spendy, Protectionist Infrastructure Package

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  1. I’m as convinced of this as I was about Trump being a pupped of the Reds.

    1. No, he’s a puppet for money and the Russians understand how to corrupt people like Trump.

      1. Putin certainly knew what made Clinton tick, $145 million.

      2. Obama is actually caught on tape begging the Russians for “Breathing room” until after his election and then he’ll cave on missile defense. But that’s okay.

        The Clinton Foundation took $145 million from the parties involved in Uranium One. But that’s okay.

        Trump didn’t collude or get a dime from the Russians, but somehow “He’s a puppet”.

        Go fuck yourself you nauseating shill.

        1. Obama is actually caught on tape begging the Russians for “Breathing room” until after his election and then he’ll cave on missile defense. But that’s okay.

          One of Nixon’s more egregious crimes was using the intelligence community to spy on and undermine his political enemies. Trump, not being President at the time, couldn’t have used the intelligence community to spy on and undermine his political enemies.

          There is however, plenty of known factual evidence as presented in the Mueller report, that a political party colluded with the sitting administration’s intelligence services to spy on and undermine their political enemy. Before any of this happened, people were already calling the leader of this administration ‘Chocolate Nixon’.

    2. And Russia has a czar now and a far right conservative agenda. You’re living in the past.

      1. Yes, the people mocking the new Red Scare are the ones living in the past

      2. Says the guy emulating McCarthy.

      3. “And Russia has a czar now and a far right conservative agenda. You’re living in the past.”

        Joseph McCarthy, ladies and gentlemen.

        And, Welch — nice pick of “Libertarians” to fawn over there, buddy. Funny, I pointed out that he didn’t have a Libertarian bone in his body in 2016. I mustb e better at spotting Libertarians than Reason.

        1. and where is Welch “fawning” over Weld in this article?

          1. Bill Weld should be treated with the same seriousness as Lyndon LaRouche. The fact that Welch gives air to his ravings is fawning in my book.

        2. EVERYBODY is better at spotting libertariansim than reason.

    3. I convinced that like the idiot Weld you are a puppet of Soros.
      What has happened to Reason?

  2. Vote for me because I hate Trump and love Hillary and I am a Republican. Such a lame opportunist.

    1. I half imagine the next line will be “I am for the 16 year old vote, Medicare for all, Free College tuition for all, Free Heroin for all, Free Free, Free…..

      1. Well, Weld & Johnson in 2016 while pandering to the LGBTers & their huge numbers of supporters when they were so gleeful in stating that Govt. should FORCE Christian bakers to violate their religious conscience & take part in a ceremony they view as a severe transgression of their faith. They also were for continuing some of America’s IMMORAL & ILLEGAL wars & for expanding the powers of the FBI…It was after that last volley that I turned them off for the rest of their ludicrous campaign!

    2. Weld 2020: Ain’t The Bulwark just dreamy?

  3. Sure, because Nixon accepted resignations from two AGs until he found one who would actually fire Special Prosecutor Cox as Nixon demanded.

    Whereas Trump … oh, never mind.

    1. Sessions was a tool who recused himself for no real reason and yet Trump never fired Mueller…didn’t destroy tapes, didn’t hinder the investigation … the firing of Comey was legit in fact recommended by the Deputy AG. Weld every time he opens his mouth confirms his stupidity.

  4. Weld does not seem to get around to explaining just what Trump did that was worse than Nixon in his view, just to comb through the Mueller report. You would think he would be able say what those things are clearly.

    I think I shall be sceptical of Weld’s claimss.

    1. He can use the AOC strategy when asked about reasons for impeachment: There are just so many reasons that she couldn’t think of more than two.

      ISIKOFF: What would be your top three if you were drafting the articles of impeachment?

      OCASIO-CORTEZ: The top three? I think number one is emoluments. I think it’s always been emoluments. It’s always been about that for me.

      ISIKOFF: Two and three?

      OCASIO-CORTEZ: Two and three. I think two would be tax fraud. And number three, um. Man, number three.

      1. Gosh the Clinton pig family have emoluments written all over their pig faces.. Wait a minute… that’s right Weld and the Reason staff are big fans of the Clinton pig family. BTW AOC is the gift that keeps on giving. Brazen idiocy in a progressive has never made me smile so much.

        1. Also, “these other people did it too” isn’t a valid defense.

          I’m not saying that Trump is guilty of anything, but bringing up the Clintons is rather irrelevant. If people get a pass because their opponents did too, nothing is going to get better.

          1. Ok then, you be the first, take one for the team.

            Oh wait, that’s fucking stupid. Dems would just keep trying to get away with it. We know that because we see it.

            1. First what? I think you misunderstand.
              If trump were guilty of receiving emoluments (which I don’t believe he is), then holding him to account for it would make it easier to hold others, including Democrats, to account in the future.

      2. She’s no Rick Perry.

        1. funny. at least Perry can blame the Percs.

      3. Cowfarts thinks number three is when you piss and shit at the same time.

    2. He viciously complained about the investigation into a crime that didn’t happen. And he fired somebody everybody thought should be fired.

      That there proves it!

      1. We find ourselves in the scenario where you get charged for a purposefully fabricated crime, and if you bitch about it, and fire a utterly incompetent employee, you’re charged with another fabricated crime.
        The fact that these idiots are even calling this obstruction is proof of how sinister and totalitarian they really are.

    3. Really? Only now you are skeptical of Weld? The guy is real loser. Next Election cycle look for him in the Green party.

      1. I was trying to civil and even tempered.

        1. Yeah, AER1972, what the fuck is wrong with having some fucking civility around here? Even yo dumb fat momma should realize that.

    4. “Weld does not seem to get around to explaining just what Trump did that was worse than Nixon in his view, just to comb through the Mueller report.”

      Exactly. “He’s worse than Nixon somehow!”
      Real convincing, donch’a think?

  5. That’s quite the pep rally. Wonder how long they stayed awake.

    1. “Please clap.”

    2. with Weld speaking I think less than what it takes for a fly to take a dump

    3. I am not sure if 3 people constitute a rally

    4. That picture really needs some alt-text.

      1. Welcome to The Disinterested Spirit of New England,
        Population 3

      2. A Brazzers logo, perhaps?

  6. “It goes well beyond anything President Richard Nixon ever did.”

    Let’s take a walk down Memory Lane.

    “U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox; Richardson refused and resigned effective immediately. Nixon then ordered Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox; Ruckelshaus refused, and also resigned. Nixon then ordered the third-most-senior official at the Justice Department, Solicitor General Robert Bork, to fire Cox. Bork considered resigning, but did as Nixon asked.”


    Add Nixon’s refusal to comply with a congressional subpoena for the infamous “Nixon tapes”.

    1. And the notorious gap on the tapes, literal destruction of evidence.

    2. lets see Trump asked people to fire Mueller they didn’t (no one resigned) He asked people to lie (unconfirmed) they didn’t .. Mueller was a guy he passed over for Director of the FBI the day before he was appointed special counsel … he hires known Clinton sycophants and supporters on his team… They were using a Russian / Clinton hit piece as their source of intel… I don’t blame Trump for wanting to fire the guy which is in his purview.. For the most part the libertarians (including the writers) on this site are really pathetic progressive twits

    3. For the left, memory lane runs into a brick wall when we get to 2008.

  7. >>>while fundraising, he claims, is “in the millions.”

    the photo says by separating grandmas from their social security

    1. I thought that was his staff of crack advisers…”They may not be all that quick but damn they work cheap” says the mentally ill presidential candidate.

    2. If they are the average age of his base they may all be gone by primary day.

  8. Weld is the sort of person who gives opportunists a bad name. But he criticizes Bad Orange Man and that makes his blatherings worth publishing, by Reason standards anyway.

  9. This is so ridiculous. Weld is such a putz. Why is Reason a platform for this non-libertarian, liar, drunk, loser? What a pathetic cross-examination by Reason. What “acts” did Trump take that were “obstruction?” What evidence of mens rea do you have? How do you exclude any other justifications that there may be (assuming the acts took place, which they didn’t) that would make it impossible for a jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt? (he can’t, the defense would be so fucking easy).

    As far as I can tell, Trump’s “obstruction” is speech and thoughts, not the unidentified action of Gov Gin Blossom. Speech and thoughts about how he wanted to run the executive branch (private, executive privileged, political speech) and whether and how to exercise certain Constitutional powers (pardon, oversight of the DOJ) in the face of an investigation that he knew was meritless and political. (Even the actions would have been 100% lawful if he took them – but he didn’t). If he didn’t think about firing Mueller then he wasn’t doing his job. Mueller should never have been appointed and, once Mueller had reason to believe there was no evidence for conspiracy/collusion (sometime in late 2017 or early 2018) then he should have made an interim report to the DOJ and that should have been sufficient for Rosenstein to shut it down. The considerations as to whether or not to fire Mueller were not obstruction based, but purely politically based. How would the media/country/Vichy GOP react? Trump could easily have made a speech saying that there was no factual predicate at the appointment was illegal, he’s fired Sessions, assumed control of the DOJ himself, and fired Mueller. The considerations were political. Trump knew if he “colluded” with Russia. He wasn’t guessing. This whole thing is idiotic. And it is particularly pathetic to see Napolitano playing into this nonsense. I’ve lost a lot of respect for him as a legal scholar.

    1. Thanks I agree .. it is hard to know what is driving Reason and the Judge.. it doesn’t make sense and I am losing hope for Libertarians

      1. I keep saying this: The left’s “march through the institutions” is nearly finished, and Reason is part of the final mopping up.

        They stupidly took the “liberalitarian” overtures for cooperation seriously, threw open the gates, and got taken over.

  10. As if Weld couldn’t get more loathsome.

    1. thank you .. Apparently Weld is still held in high regard within the progressive cubicles of Reason

      1. Probably just Matt Welch.

  11. I want Weld to get the nomination just to see his reaction when the entire press and Democrats turn on him and make him out to be an evil, bloodsucking, homophobic, racist who is a dangerous threat to America.

    But seriously, I would still rather have Weld than Trump, but he is either a fucking asshole or a fucking moron. If his strategy is just to help the Democrat candidate, he is an asshole. If he actually is serious about running against Trump, his strategy of being extra nice to the press is the dumbest fucking strategy imaginable. I don’t know which it is.

    1. While I am not a fan of Tramps persona I don’t pick candidates based on their personality scores but rather on their ability to make good on what they promise. Aside from being a creepy and pandering idiot I am not sure what Weld has ever accomplished. Trump is more transparent.

      1. I hope what they promise also enters into your judgment of a candidate.

  12. I feel bad for Matt. I mean, it must be really lonely being the only carbon-based life-form in the known universe who actually gives a shit about Bill Weld.

    1. ha hahahahah
      but I still don’t feel sorry for Matt. His support of Weld is just plain creepy.

    2. Hey, there are those three geriatrics in the photo too.

  13. Nixon was attempting to obstruct the investigation of an actual crime. There was no crime in this case. You cannot obstruct the investigation of a crime that does not exist. All the talk of obstruction is wishful thinking on the part of Democrats, the media and never Trumpers. Weld is a RINO, a clown and a complete idiot.

    1. Actually, you can obstruct an investigation into a crime that doesn’t exist, as a matter of law.

      The real problem here is that, if Trump was innocent, and he knew it, then it becomes highly implausible that he had a corrupt motive in interfering with the investigation. (To the trivial extent he did interfere.)

      And since none of the actions he took were illegal in and of themselves, you’d have to prove corrupt motivation in order to turn them into obstruction of justice.

      1. Yes can you be convicted of expressing a desire not acted on?

        1. Conspiracy is a thing.
          And serious threats.

          1. Criminal conspiracy charges require an affirmative act in furtherance of the conspiracy. Talking about robbing a bank, but not taking any specific acts to prepare for robbing a bank is not chargeable as conspiracy to commit bank robbery.

        2. That’s a separate issue, that none of Trump’s actions actually interfered with the investigation, and he’d certainly had the power to effectively interfere, if he’d so intended.

    2. You cannot obstruct the investigation of a crime that does not exist.
      Of course you can. And it’s probably appropriate that it is a crime. Investigations are to determine if a crime happened or not (in principle). It would be a weird and untenable situation if interference in an investigation were only criminal if the investigation eventually leads to a conviction. Would provide quite the incentive for destruction of evidence and witness tampering.

      1. There’s a lot of middle ground there.

        Zero evidence of a crime = no obstruction.

        Some evidence that the underlying crime occurred but less than enough evidence to convict a specific individual of said crime and obstruction becomes chargeable if it happens.

        1. Yes, that’s how it should be. But when political prosecutions are a possibility, it all goes out the window.

      2. The problem is definitional. We aren’t talking about obstructing a crime that Trump didn’t commit. We’re talking about obstructing a crime that quite literally never occurred. Destroying evidence? There is no evidence to destroy. Impeding an investigation? There were no impediments and nothing for the investigators to investigate. Witness tampering? You can’t tamper with imaginary friends.

        1. Yeah, the case of Trump is special for several reasons. I was making a general comment on the possibility and wisdom of obstructing an investigation being a legitimate charge.

  14. Trump’s crime is a combination of hubris and political rookie. Here comes a wealthy person with sufficient ego to run for his first political office – President of the USA – and wins. The life-long ruling class, professional politicians all, cannot believe or accept the reality that a significant fraction of voters dislike and distrust the professional politicians to such an extent that the likes of DT made it to the White House. In terms of moral turpitude, business acumen and slight-of-hand, ability to lie while staring someone in the eye, etc., DT is neither better nor worse than the Clinton Crime Family, the millionaire Socialist Bernie the Sanders, and the rest of the vermin that are populating the government, local, state and federal. However, the saddest part of this tale is the face we continue to vote these people into office.

  15. ha, I wonder if that picture was designed to make him look relatively young and spry

    1. I predict a Weld /Biden ticket.. it will be a real sleeper.. I am already falling asleep

  16. What an idiot.

  17. I’m not waiting to see what happens with the Mueller investigation, because I know all I need to know about the rule of law…

    A presidential candidate willing to act fact-free. How refreshing.

  18. Leslie Nielsen should sue Weld for making him look bad.

    Weld should at least get a moustache to cover up the Nielsen resemblance.

  19. I know that it apparently helps in running for office to be tall, but did Weld pay the photographer to lay on the floor while taking that shot? He’s 6’4″, but that photo makes him look more than 7 feet tall.

    It was clearly taken from a perspective well below the heads of the people sitting there.

    1. And there are other perspective tricks that can make him look taller, such has having him further in front of the seated people than
      he appears to be or selecting particularly short people for the background and scaled down furniture.

  20. Weld is a hack who just wants the power. Anyone who seriously thinks Trump should resign over anything thus far is lying to themselves. I get it; you hate his policies and want someone else in power. Make better arguments and win elections. Stop trying to weaponize Congress and the legal system like governments in third world hellholes do.

    1. If power is what he’s after, he’s choosing a weird path. I think what he really wants is relevance and influence. Which I don’t think he’s going to get much of either.

      1. He’s sought ambassadorships in the past, maybe President Biden will make him an ambassador.

        Mexico? Somalia? Maybe the European Union – it seems the place for weenies like him.

        1. Clinton nominated him to be ambassador to Mexico and Jesse Helms blocked it because he was too socially liberal. I wonder who they got instead.

      2. Are relevance and influence not power?

  21. Weld is a total loser.

  22. Every year Gary Johnson has to be getting madder and madder at himself for choosing this dude as a running mate.

  23. It’s an absurd claim. What a shill?

  24. You would think a libertarian president would be among the first to call out a politically motivated probe that was based on a BS dossier assembled by political operatives and a single Trump Tower meeting which did not involve any collusion. Yay, more power to the government.

    If acting suspiciously in the absence of evidence was reason enough to pursue federal charges, then some illegal immigrants in this country would be in trouble.

    When police raids based on bogus tips to bad, Reason instantly blames the police or the government. The behavior of the suspect would be close to a non issue. Granted, people actually die in these incidents, but the feds did send a swat team to arrest Roger Stone in the dead of night, with CNN stationed nearby to broadcast the event.

    If a libertarian candidate isn’t committed to constraining the government, I have no incentive to vote for him. I’ll just vote for a republican like Rand Paul whose overall policy (including immigration) is much more palatable. What happened to Trump, BK and Jussie Smollett was a dangerous power play and they go a little beyond the government’s typical overzealous prosecution.

    1. BK got arrested? The Burger King? I bet some clown set him up.

    2. Let me know when you come across a libertarian candidate and we’ll see…

    3. Reason only cares if they send in a swat team. Oh,, wait.

  25. And the ignorant ones as usual on Reason defend Trump instead of Weld’s true comments. This isn’t a site for libertarians- it’s a site for pathetic people who will latch onto anyone wearing the R yet claim they’re such “independent thinkers.”

    1. Agreed! Nothing says libertarian like establishment lifelong politicians and members of the intelligence committee joining together to go after a bunch of innocent people who made the mistake of having the wrong political opinions.

  26. A crime that didn’t exist? It was a crime that was manufactured for political reasons by a branch of the government that Trump is supposedly in charge of, unwittingly? aided by another branch. Now the Congress is getting ramped up. If we could just get SCOTUS to carry water we will have completed the hat trick. Just like a real third world country. Maybe Trump can get prison time and exiled to Russia. Are you listening Russia?

  27. […] with the Daily Mail, Trump campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany was blunt about Weld’s Quixotic fight to dislodge a president who polls consistently at 90 percent approval among Republican […]

  28. […] with the Daily Mail, Trump campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany was blunt about Weld’s Quixotic fight to dislodge a president who polls consistently at 90 percent approval among Republican […]

  29. […] upon the report’s delivery that “It’s time for Trump to resign,” then told me in late April that “it’s very obvious that the evidence goes well beyond what’s […]

  30. calmodulin kinase ii, Recognizes the ~60 kDa CaM kinase II protein in rat brain and liver and in mouse brain. As the sequences of rat α-, γ-, and δ-isoforms are conserved over this amino terminal region, this antibody may recognize all three of these isoforms.

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