Investigators should consider President Donald Trump’s lack of political experience when determining whether he committed obstruction of justice, a Republican congressman suggested Thursday.
Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) said on NPR’s “Morning Edition” that the investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia was “healthy.” But he cautioned investigators who are reportedly probing whether Trump committed obstruction of justice. Former FBI Director James Comey testified earlier this month Trump asked him to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn and requested Comey publicly declare Trump was not under FBI investigation.
Schweikert seemed to suggest that Trump should get a pass on such a charge because he was new to politics.
“We also have to be real careful from the standpoint that we have a president that’s not from the political class,” he said. “The learning of the discipline use of language and what certain words mean in our context, if you’re not from this world, you may not have developed that discipline.”
The comment prompted NPR’s Steve Inskeep to point out that the president of the United States has an entire staff and lawyers to advise him on what’s appropriate to say.
Schweikert’s defense of Trump echoed that of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Earlier this month, Ryan also excused the president’s behavior by citing his lack of political experience.
“The president is new at this,” Ryan said. “He’s new to government. And so he probably wasn’t steeped into the long-going protocols that established the relationships between DOJ, FBI and White Houses.”
Trump has strongly pushed back on the investigation, calling it a “witch hunt.”