On Thursday night’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” former CBS “Evening News” anchor Dan Rather said President Donald Trump was threatening special counsel Robert Mueller during his interview with The New York Times.
In the interview, the president said if Mueller’s Russia investigation looked into the Trump family finances, it would cross a red line.
Rather said, “My experience over a lifetime covering prosecutors and the criminal justice system, is it is never a good idea to threaten a prosecutor, never mind a special prosecutor. Who can say where this goes? Every day we have something like this happens like The Time’s interview with all the rich material in it, it increases the possibility if not the probability that down the road somewhere there will be a Constitutional crisis. Certainly would be if the president decided to fire the special prosecutor, which you can’t read the interview and think he didn’t intend to be a threat. A threat to the attorney general, to the deputy attorney general, to the special prosecutor, this is unprecedented. And the closest we have is the Nixon period of Watergate. And that didn’t turn out too well.”
He added, ‘Well, I think what you have here is the president is afraid. Exactly what he is afraid of is unclear to me. It is increasingly clear that he is speaking out of fear. He knows there’s something in his financial back ground, his tax returns, in the meetings he and the members of his staff have had with the Russians— whatever. What you have here, he’s afraid. He’s speaking out of fear, and he’s trying to intimidate, to control where the investigation will go. In effect, he is saying to Mueller and the others, ‘don’t follow the money.’ Anybody in journalism or a criminal investigation knows following the money is the best way to find out if any criminal act has happened. We always get back to this question, what is he hiding? He has to be hiding something. Otherwise, he would come out and say, ‘Listen. This is what I know. I’ll cooperate with the investigation. I’ll testify in public.’ What have you? So you have a fear factor operating with him here. And he has something to hide. It may or may not be something criminal. But there’s something he is very afraid will get out. And it is damaging, really freezing his presidency and hurting the country. This is not only a troubling time it is a dangerous time when we have to talk about a Constitutional crisis when we have only just passed the six-month point of his presidency.”
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN