Esteemed Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein says President Donald Trump‘s attorneys are soft-peddling the gravity of the Russia probe and telling the mercurial president what he wants to hear in order to keep him from acting in a rash way–like firing special counsel Robert Mueller.
Bernstein was discussing the issue with Dana Bash during an appearance on CNN‘s State of the Union. Bash asked the storied newsman the following question, “Carl, Bob mentioned the famous–infamous–Saturday Night Massacre, when Archibald Cox, the special counsel, was fired in 1973. Do you trust that the administration is not going to do this? They assure that the president won’t go that far–that he won’t fire Bob Mueller–do you believe it?”
To which Bernstein replied, “There is no reason to believe almost anything Donald Trump says because what we know is that the president of the United States and his presidency is characterized, above all else, by the lying of the president of the United States. That doesn’t mean that lying by the president is a crime, it does mean that we see him covering up events, but not necessarily criminally covering up events. And where this is going definitively we don’t know.”
Bernstein continued, citing his own anonymous sources within the White House. He said:
But there are many times he has expressed, I am told by people in the White House, the desire to fire Mueller, the desire to pardon people under investigation–including his family. And one of the things that’s going on now is his lawyers are telling him what he wants to hear; and that’s what I’m told by lawyers in the White House. They’re telling him what he wants to hear to keep him from acting precipitously and to go off and fire Mueller in a rage–or fire Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, in a rage. They have an out of control client. The president of the United States, in their view, is out of control a good deal of the time, especially when it comes to this investigation.
Bash then swung back to Bob Woodward, Bernstein’s longtime friend and writing partner, playing a clip of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) explaining her belief that Mueller’s investigation is well-positioned to issue obstruction of justice charges against Trump soon.
Bash asked both Woodward and Bernstein whether Feinstein’s read on the investigation was correct. Both of the legendary journalists pumped the brakes on Feinstein’s read–saying it was simply too soon to tell.
[image via screengrab/CNN]