What is Obstruction of Justice? The Legal Definition

Merriam Webster Online states that the legal definition of obstruction of justice is:

The crime or act of willfully interfering with the process of justice and law especially by influencing, threatening, harming, or impeding a witness, potential witness, juror, or judicial or legal officer or by furnishing false information in or otherwise impeding an investigation or legal process

In the Mueller Report, Special Counsel Robert Mueller described 10 different types of acts by the President that could be considered obstruction of justice. In the Ukraine case, President Trump appears to have again obstructed justice in a number of ways:

  1. Attempting to conceal evidence
  2. Impeding witnesses and potential witnesses
  3. Intimidating witnesses and potential witnesses
  4. Intimidating members of Congress

Obstruction: Attempting to Conceal Evidence

The transcript of the July 25, 2019 call with President Zelensky raised concern for many when they heard it, including U.S. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. When Vindman saw the readout of the call, he noticed a couple of omissions, and submitted them to ensure that the call record was accurate. His submissions were not included, and the call transcript was quickly put on a top secret server in the White House that only six people have access to. The server is generally used only for information related to highly sensitive national security matters. Why did the record of such a “perfect call” need to be hidden away from others?

Shockingly, when asked for a transcript of the call, President Trump quickly made the transcript available to the public, despite its supposedly highly sensitive nature. Did the released version include everything that was in the version on the server? During testimony, Vindman was asked about the reason for the transcript being put on the top secret White House server:

“My understanding is that this was viewed as a sensitive transcript.”

U.S. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman
National Security Counsel Ukraine Expert, Director for European Affairs

Adam Schiff:  “Both of you recall President Zelensky in that conversation raising the issue or mentioning Burisma, do you not?”

Jennifer Williams:  “That’s correct.”

Alexander Vindman:  “Correct.”

Adam Schiff:   “And yet the word Burisma appears nowhere in the call record that’s been released to the public. Is that right?”

Jennifer Williams:  “That’s right.”

Alexander Vindman:  “Correct.”

(11/19/19 Testimony)

Obstruction: Impeding Witnesses or Potential Witnesses

The President has made extensive use of the concept of “executive privilege,” claiming that it immunizes anyone in his Administration from testifying before Congress. Consistent with that logic, he has prevented a number of witnesses – some under subpoena – from testifying in the impeachment hearings. Among those witnesses and potential witnesses are:

  • John Bolton – Former U.S. National Security Adviser
  • Mike Pompeo – U.S. Secretary of State
  • Mick Mulvaney – Acting White House Chief of Staff
  • Rick Perry – U.S. Secretary of Energy
  • Mike Pence – Vice President

Obstruction: Intimidating Witnesses or Potential Witnesses

The President has made numerous threatening statements during the course of the impeachment hearings. Many of his statements were issued in plain sight on Twitter and Facebook, as they were during the Mueller investigation. If you do not perceive the quotes below as threatening, imagine yourself being the subject of such public pronouncements made by the most powerful man in the country – a man with legions of fanatical followers, some of whom have already become violent toward targets of similar statements that he has made in the past.

Intimidating the Person(s) Who Spoke to the WhistleBlower

“I want to know who’s the person who gave the Whistleblower the information because that’s close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”

Donald Trump
President of the United States
(Speaking to his staff at the United States Mission to the United Nations on 9/26/19. America has executed spies in the past.)

Intimidating the Whistleblower














Intimidating Witness Marie Yovanovitch


“It’s very intimidating. … I mean, I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is trying to be intimidating.”

Marie/Masha Yovanovitch
Former US Ambassador to Ukraine



Intimidating Witness Jennifer Williams


Intimidating Witnesses in General



Obstruction: Intimidating Members of Congress

Intimidating Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)

“Shifty Schiff – Little Shifty Schiff [audience boos]. He’s got the little, little 10 inch neck.”

Donald Trump
President of the United States
(Speaking at a rally in Louisiana on 11/15/19)

“Right now, you have a kangaroo court headed by Little Shifty Schiff. We don’t have lawyers, we don’t have witnesses, we don’t have anything,” said the President. “It’s a scam, it’s a big scam.”

Donald Trump
President of the United States
(Speaking at the White House on 11/20/19)













Intimidating Members of Congress in General









For more info, visit Trump-Ukraine Central

– rob rünt

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