\Well, that’s one way to show you’re unable to provide legal analysis without a political bias.
Our friends at Grabien flagged down an interesting moment on Wednesday morning as MSNBC contributor and former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks argued that if President Trump refuses to comply with a possible subpoena by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Americans should “rise up against” the government because then we’d be living “in an authoritarian dictatorship.”
Host Hallie Jackson set Wine-Banks up by asking for her take on the legal debate about whether “a sitting president can be indicted” and particularly in the Mueller probe’s search for Russian collusion or obstruction of justice by the President in the May 2017 firing of then-FBI Director James Comey.
Wine-Banks stated that Trump could be indicted even though “this is inconsistent” with the view of “the Office of Legal Counsel.” Nonetheless, she stated that Trump could definitely be subpoenaed and that’s when she played her Resistance card:
He is definitely not above that rule and he would have to comply and if he doesn’t, I think America should think that we are now in an authoritarian dictatorship, that we must rise up against. That would be unthinkable to me that he wouldn’t comply with the valid subpoena.
Jackson didn’t bat an eye at this plea to overthrow an entire branch of our U.S. government and characterization of the Trump presidency as a “dictatorship.”
Instead, she was intrigued, telling McClatchy Newspapers White House correspondent Anita Kumar: “Anita, I want to you weigh in on that because Jill is bringing up not just the legal perspective in the prism through which this is seen but the political one and that exists. There's a political component and piece to this as well.”
Kumar also moved right along, replying that Trump is the one who’s been stating for quite sometime that he wants to answer Mueller’s questions but that’s been up in the air more recently and especially following The New York Times publication of the “huge...wide-ranging” questions.
To see the relevant transcript from May 2's MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson, click “expand.”
MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson
May 2, 2018
10:08 a.m. Eastern
HALLIE JACKSON: Here’s — is the bigger question, though, related to — and again there are a lot of building blocks that would have to go into place, but about whether a president, a sitting president can be indicted.
JILL WINE-BANKS: There is a question about whether he can be indicted, but that, I believe, would be answered, yes, he can be. Obviously this is —
WINE-BANKS: — inconsistent with the Office of Legal Counsel. But that is not the same question as whether he can be subpoenaed? And the answer to that seems to me is a clear, yes, he can be. He is definitely not above that rule and he would have to comply and if he doesn’t, I think America should think that we are now in an authoritarian dictatorship, that we must rise up against.
JACKSON: So —
WINE-BANKS: That would be unthinkable to me that he wouldn’t comply with the valid subpoena.
JACKSON: Anita, I want to you weigh in on that because Jill is bringing up not just the legal perspective in the prism through which this is seen but the political one
ANITA KUMAR: Right.
JACKSON: And that exists. There's a political component and piece to this as well.
KUMAR: Right. Remember, this is the president who said over and over now I want to comply, I'm going to answer questions. He —
JACKSON: But recently, he's been saying if my lawyers let me, right?
KUMAR: — yeah, right, obviously and now we're starting over with Rudy Giulani who said he's going to take a few weeks to decide and you see the President really pushing back. He's pushing back, though, because he's seen the potential questions that The New York Times reported this week and they're huge. They're wide-ranging. Each question is three questions really. I mean, it would take a lot of preparation and a lot of work for him to go through — through those questions.