Speed Reads

The 'I' word

Watch legal analysts explain why the Trump obstruction of justice investigation is a big deal, won't lead to an indictment

On CNN Wednesday night, Anderson Cooper asked legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin about the Washington Post report that President Trump is personally under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for obstruction of justice, wondering how big a deal that is. "Well, Anderson, it's a huge deal, and I don't hate to tell you that I told you so," Toobin said.

FBI Director James Comey's testimony combined with the reports that Trump tried to get other intelligence officials to stop Trump-related investigations clearly merits an obstruction investigation, Toobin said. "Doesn't mean that Trump is guilty, doesn't mean there's going to be an indictment, an impeachment, or anything like that, but there is clearly evidence that justifies an investigation, and this tremendous scoop by The Washington Post just makes clear that Mueller is doing his job."

Even if he finds concrete evidence that Trump obstructed justice, however, "Mueller's not necessarily going to put Mike Pence in office — that's not how this works," Jonathan Lemire, Associated Press White House correspondent, explained on MSNBC's The 11th Hour. The Justice Department "has said that they're loathe to indict a sitting president on any sort of criminal charges." What Mueller's team will do is conduct its criminal investigation and turn the evidence over to Congress, where it'll be "up to the House and the Senate to discuss impeachment and removal," Lemire said. Brian Williams said that's when things would get interesting, but suggesting things aren't already interesting seems a pretty big disservice to 2017. Peter Weber