Ex-GOP Federal Prosecutors Explain How Trump Obstructed Justice In Viral Video: 'Absolute Disregard For the Law'

A group of former Republican-appointed federal prosecutors this week explained why President Donald Trump would have been indicted for obstructing special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation if he were anyone but the president in a new viral video.

The video — released by Republicans for the Rule of Law (RRL), a conservative group whose stated purpose is "defending the institutions of our republic," in partnership with Protect Democracy — features three ex-GOP prosecutors: Donald Ayer, deputy attorney general under former President George H.W. Bush, Paul Rosenzweig, deputy assistant secretary of Homeland Security under former President George W. Bush and Jeffrey Harris, deputy associate attorney general for former President Ronald Reagan.

The trio starts by describing how Attorney General William Barr misrepresented Mueller's findings in his four-page summary, which was released roughly a month before the special counsel's report was made public. "When I finally had the opportunity to read the Mueller report itself, I realized that the Barr summary was not a fair and accurate summary of what the Mueller report contained," Rosenzweig said. "In the Mueller report, there is a damning case of obstruction of justice by the president. The second volume identifies 10 or 11 instances in which the special counsel examine the question of obstruction of justice."

"As a former prosecutor, I did not think that it was even a close prosecutory call as to whether the president obstructed justice," Harris added.

The group notes that Trump began interfering in the Russia investigation immediately after taking office.

"First thing he does is he tries to influence the [former] head of the FBI James Comey in asking him to go easy on Michael Flynn and when that doesn't work out, he fires James Comey," one of the prosecutors said in the video. "The worst obstruction of all was the president actively being involved to affect the testimony and cooperation of critical witnesses, being Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen."

Ayer, Rosenzweig and Harris then condemned Republicans for enabling Trump's behavior and called for GOP members to speak out for the rule of law. "One of the most disturbing things to me is the conduct of Republicans in the Senate and the House," Ayer said, as an image of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appears in the clip. "These are actually smart people, they know there is a damning case in the Mueller report of obstruction of justice by the president and they are acting like there's not. And that's just flatly dishonest."

The clip has been viewed more than 200,000 times since it was uploaded on Thursday.

Earlier this month, the three former prosecutors joined nearly 1,000 others in signing a statement which said they all believed that Trump's conduct should have resulted in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice if it were done by anyone other than the president.

Chris Truax, a spokesperson and legal adviser for RRL, told Newsweek that "these veterans of the Reagan and Bush Administrations are reminding us that the law applies the same to everyone — even the president. Republicans and all Americans need to listen."

Justin Vail, an attorney at Protect Democracy, said the three former prosecutors demonstrated in the video that "the rule of law must take precedence over any political concerns."

"Protect Democracy strongly believes that Americans deserve to hear from the men and women who spent their careers weighing evidence and making decisions about whether it was sufficient to justify prosecution," Vail said in a statement emailed to Newsweek. "We were approached by many Justice Department alumni who felt the same way, and so we agreed to send out a call for signatories to the statement they drafted. We are happy to help amplify their voices through efforts like this video."

Watch the RRL x Protect Democracy video below:

Ex-GOP Federal Prosecutors Explain How Trump Obstructed Justice In Viral Video: 'Absolute Disregard For the Law' | U.S.