Meanwhile, Attorney General William Barr has just advanced a likely doomed new legal theory that a president is entitled to shut down any investigation that he feels is unfair to him. “The president does not have to sit there constitutionally and allow [a special-counsel investigation] to run its course. The president could terminate the proceeding and it would not be a corrupt intent, because he was being falsely accused.” It’s an argument for total impunity based purely on political power—and for that reason will gain no favor from either Congress or courts.
Perhaps the Trump administration hopes it can run out the clock on the bank subpoenas and the other matters too. But so many clocks are ticking over so many inquiries into so many areas of potential scandal. Can they all be postponed and postponed past 2020? For a president with many guilty secrets, everything turns on the ability to insert delay after delay before ultimate legal defeat. It’s not a great plan. It’s liable to go wrong, maybe catastrophically wrong. At this point, though, it’s all he’s got.