7
   

Obstruction of Justice: Trump asked Comey to shut down investigation of Flynn

 
 
Real Music
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 May, 2017 10:38 pm
@maxdancona,
http://www.sacbee.com/news/nation-world/national/article150363272.html
Quote:
With his own words over the past two days, President Donald Trump has vastly escalated the stakes and potential consequences of his decision to fire James Comey as FBI director, provoking questions about whether his motivations and tactics may have run afoul of the law.

The president also suggested via Twitter that he may have “tapes” of private conversations with Comey, evoking echoes of Watergate and demands by Democrats that he produce what could be critical evidence.

All of that undermines Trump’s credibility as he seeks to name a new FBI director whose independence will be under intense scrutiny and who will lead the probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

The point of greatest sensitivity raised by Trump’s decision to fire Comey is its potential connection to the former FBI director’s role in investigating what he described as “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”

In a television interview and on Twitter, the president has given ammunition to arguments by some legal experts that his actions constitute a possible case of obstruction of justice - a central charge in the impeachment proceedings against two presidents in the last 43 years.

Obstruction is “a very mental-state-based crime,” said Duke University law professor Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor. “It’s all about the purpose with which it’s done. In theory, trying to intimidate, silence, or even influence someone who is investigating you could be obstruction of justice.”

But whether the unfolding controversy ultimately puts Trump’s presidency at risk is more a question of politics than law.

Given that both houses of Congress are in Republican control, it would take an enormous public outcry for lawmakers to begin the process of attempting to remove the president from office. The same, it appears, probably would have to happen before the Justice Department that reports to him would be compelled to appoint a special prosecutor, much less actually bring charges.

But Democrats have escalated the pressure for a more vigorous probe amid statements by Trump that contradict his White House’s initial contentions that Comey’s dismissal was based on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.

In an interview with NBC News’s Lester Holt on Thursday, the president said, “I was going to fire regardless of recommendation.” He also said that he had pressed Comey during a private dinner to tell him if he was under investigation.

Trump further revealed that the ongoing probe into questions of Russian influence on the 2016 election, which includes a look at the possibility that Moscow was coordinating with the Trump campaign, was one of the factors he considered before firing Comey.

“In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won,’ “ he said.

On Friday, the president created another stir with a flurry of tweets, one of which warned that Comey “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

In an interview with Fox News, Trump declined to say such tapes actually exist, even as congressional Democrats demanded that he produce them.

Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., the second-ranking Democratic senator and a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, said that Trump’s tweet was a “thinly veiled threat” that “could be construed as threatening a witness in this investigation, which is another violation of federal law.”

In an interview, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., added that “there is so much that smacks of obstruction of justice that is swirling around this dismissal and the meetings that preceded it. The exchange that took place with Comey, whichever version you believe, raises very, very serious questions about attempts to pressure an FBI director investigating wrongdoing potentially implicating the president.”

The issue is not Trump’s legal authority to dismiss Comey, which he possesses with or without cause.

“From a constitutional perspective, Trump can make whatever demands of his principal officers he wishes, and can fire them at will,” said Josh Blackman, a law professor at South Texas College of Law Houston.

Comey wrote in a farewell letter to his former colleagues: “I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason, or for no reason at all.”

That decision in Comey’s case, however, becomes legally problematic if it is done with the intent of circumventing an investigation.

“If shown that Trump removed Comey to avoid being investigated? Yes impeachable: abuse of power, corruption, undermines rule of law,” Harvard University law professor Noah Feldman tweeted Friday.

The questions about Trump’s motives are being fueled, increasingly, by his own words in interviews and on Twitter.

“The fact that Trump is saying these things in the midst of all of this is proof positive that he is not listening to counsel - in fact, he may not even be talking to counsel,” Buell said.

Then again, he added, the many contradictory statements by Trump and top officials may have served to “muddy the waters” enough that it is impossible to determine his actual intent.

Whether all of this could jeopardize the survival of Trump’s presidency is another question, and one whose answer is much farther down the road.

The Constitution specifies that the president can be removed only for treason, bribery, or “other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” the definition of which it leaves to Congress.

Obstruction of justice, however, was deemed to be one of the infractions meriting impeachment proceedings both in the case of Richard M. Nixon in 1974 and of Bill Clinton in 1998.

Nixon, having lost the support of his own party, resigned after the House Judiciary Committee passed three articles of impeachment in connection with the Watergate scandal; Clinton remained in office after being acquitted by the Senate in articles that stemmed from his alleged efforts to cover up an extramarital affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Thus far, only a handful of the more strident Democrats have engaged the possibility of impeachment in Trump’s case.

The better strategy at this point, party leaders have decided, is to pepper Rosenstein and others at the Justice Department with letters of inquiry, call for hearings and pressure Republicans to get on board with a more aggressive investigation.

Asked if he thinks that the controversy could be leading to impeachment proceedings, Blumenthal said: “Prejudging the results of any inquiry now is premature. Right now, the important point is to follow the evidence, to pursue every investigative lead and every potential witness diligently and promptly, and - I just might add this point - providing the resources that are needed.”

Democrats are also coalescing in their demand for the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor - something they are certain to press when Rosenstein visits Capitol Hill to brief the full Senate next week.

With Trump’s approval ratings already at record lows for a president at this early point in his term, public opinion will be an important factor. Republicans are already bracing for a difficult midterm election next year - and some fear that their control of the House may be at risk.

In the end, public perceptions may matter more than the letter of the law in determining if and how Trump weathers the most severe storm to hit his turbulent young presidency.

“This remains, I think, a political problem only,” Blackman, the law professor, said. “What will take Trump down is not the Constitution, but public opinion polling and the ballot box.”
0 Replies
 
Blickers
 
  3  
Reply Tue 16 May, 2017 10:42 pm
@oralloy,
Quote oralloy:
Quote:
Cite?

How about the famous Nixon quote where he told the people he was in position to fire, about the Watergate investigation: "I want you to stonewall it".

What's the difference between that and Trump telling the FBI Director, whom Trump can and did fire, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,".
oralloy
 
  -2  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2017 12:42 am
@Blickers,
Blickers wrote:
How about the famous Nixon quote where he told the people he was in position to fire, about the Watergate investigation: "I want you to stonewall it".

As a legal cite it leaves something to be desired.

The Democrats lynched Nixon because he was too willing to protect democracy against Communism and the Democrats wanted Communism to destroy democracy. And the Democrats got away with it. It was a shameful period in American history.


Blickers wrote:
What's the difference between that and Trump telling the FBI Director, whom Trump can and did fire, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,".

Off hand, Nixon's statement was an order, whereas the statement attributed to Trump was a request, and only if Comey had no misgivings with fulfilling the request.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2017 01:35 am
@McGentrix,
McGentrix wrote:

Trump is hardly "incompetent".


I don't think you know what incompetent means. Even before the Russian leaks and Comey sacking debacles Trump's presidency was the word made flesh.

Quote:
Sleeping just four or five hours a night, Trump has operated at a manic pace that has made the world’s collective head spin. He had an angry phone call with the prime minister of Australia, had a Twitter spat that convinced the president of Mexico to cancel a meeting, and consulted the prime minister of Japan about a North Korean missile launch in full view of dinner guests at his Florida country club, Mar-a-Lago. He approved, over dinner, a commando raid in Yemen that resulted in the death of a navy Seal and an eight-year-old girl.

At home, he was caught on live television making a false claim about his electoral victory, press releases have been littered with spelling mistakes, and the president has fought Twitter battles with everyone from senators to Arnold Schwarzenegger to a department store that dropped his daughter’s products.

Then there were the White House contradictions around the abrupt departure of Flynn, who misled the vice-president over his conversations with the Russian ambassador. Then Trump’s pick for labour secretary, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination after facing questions over his personal background and business record.

Not even in his fourth week, there was the president’s ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, an order widely denounced and sowing disarray and demonstrations at airports. Trump sacked his acting attorney general for refusing to defend the ban, attacked the courts for pausing it to weigh its lawfulness, and insisted this week that it was “a very smooth rollout”.

“This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine,” he said at a rambling, impromptu press conference.

That characterisation has provoked scorn. “From what I can tell, it’s non-functional,” said Rick Tyler, a political analyst. “It’s not firing on all cylinders, and the timing is off, and the transmission won’t engage.”


https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/18/trump-administration-chaos-white-house
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2017 01:39 am
@izzythepush,
Sounds like he's been real busy.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2017 05:14 am
I guess the answer is that Oralloy and McGentrix are sticking with Trump in spite of everything. There is a growing number of conservatives that are already jumping ship... do you all read Redstate.com?

Red State wrote:
Oh, I’m sure he does miss Flynn. That’s not McMaster’s fault. It is entirely Trump’s fault for his refusal to take good counsel. He, nor the nation are well-served by a phalanx of Yes-men.

Quote:
In private, three administration officials conceded that they could not publicly articulate their most compelling — and honest — defense of the president: that Mr. Trump, a hasty and indifferent reader of printed briefing materials, simply did not possess the interest or knowledge of the granular details of intelligence gathering to leak specific sources and methods of intelligence gathering that would do harm to United States allies.

In other words: He’s too dumb to grasp the really critical info that would cause a big problem if he blabbed it, so everybody can relax.

http://www.redstate.com/sweetie15/2017/05/16/mcmasters-shepherding-cannot-keep-trump-straying-cliff/




(BTW Oralloy, it will take far fewer than 20 years to disprove your prediction. It can be disproven in 4 years (and maybe fewer Wink ).
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2017 06:41 am
@roger,
You couldn't call him boring.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  0  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2017 07:05 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

I guess the answer is that Oralloy and McGentrix are sticking with Trump in spite of everything.


You mean in spite of nothing... As in there has been nothing but allegations with no evidence except for hate and anger.

In private, people can say, or more realistically be accused of saying, anything. You don't even have to have actual people. You can just have administration officials... Susan Wright is hardly what anyone would call a right winged writer. She is certainly no Trump lover if you examine her catalog of work. Her criticism has no credibility.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2017 07:13 am
@McGentrix,
So, if there were evidence, McGentrix, would you change your mind? That really is the question here. How deep does this loyalty to Trump go?




McGentrix
 
  0  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2017 07:34 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

So, if there were evidence, McGentrix, would you change your mind? That really is the question here. How deep does this loyalty to Trump go?


Then you agree there is no real evidence then? I am glad you've come around.

If Trump went to Times Square and shot some one (unless it was like Chuck Schumer) I would no longer support Trump. If Trump came to my house and kicked my dog, I would no longer support Trump. If Trump starts a nuclear war, I will no longer support Trump...
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2017 07:51 am
@McGentrix,
No, I believe there is evidence. And we will see what comes ...

I just want to know the depths of your love... (and sure, I have always hated Trump, but that doesn't change the facrs).

I will accept the facts as they become available. But right now, the facts don't look good for Trump supporters and the ones who are more reasonable are admitting as much.

As I have said, I want four years of this.... So in that way you and I are on the same side Smile.

This whole, poor Trump is being thwarted schtick is funny. He is the president and his party controls both houses of Congress. That he is being thwarted speaks volumes.
Blickers
 
  3  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2017 09:43 am
@McGentrix,
Quote McGentrix:
Quote:
You mean in spite of nothing... As in there has been nothing but allegations with no evidence except for hate and anger.

No evidence? That's a riot.
Several of Trump's aides were close to Putin and paid by Putin or one of the Kremlin's puppet operations.

Michael Flynn
-whose investigation is still going on and who wants a plea deal. He was at Putin's table celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Russia Today TV network, the Kremlin's propaganda outlet. And he had a regular show on that propaganda outlet as well. Note:

http://i67.tinypic.com/29f8llt.jpg

Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort-worked for Putin's Ukrainian stooges and took $1.2 Million in illegal money. Also functioned as a lobbyist on behalf of Putin, to get Congress and the Senate to adopt laws more to Putin's liking, for which he got paid handsomely. In addition, one of Putin's oligarch buddies has Manafort on a 10 year contract to promote Russian interests which, as far as we know, is still in force. This guy was Trump's campaign manager.

Wilbur Ross, (now Sec'y of Commerce)-one of the directors of the Cyprus bank which did extensive money laundering for illegal Russian government operations. And who can't seem to remember talking to Soviet Ambassador Kisylak at the Republican National Convention last year.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions-allegedly recused from being involved in the campaign investigations for telling untruths about meeting Russian Ambassador Kislylak at the Republican National Conventions. Yet he re-involved himself enough to fire FBI Director Comey.

And just what was the Russian Ambassador doing at the Republican National Convention anyway? When has that ever happened before? Even Guy Burgess didn't go to public celebrations for Stalin. What comes next-Trump gives Putin his own private guest room at the White House?

How bad does it have to be before you realize the danger the US is in?

izzythepush
 
  3  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2017 09:49 am
@Blickers,
Not that sort of evidence, hypothetical evidence that doesn't exist in the real world. Remember McGentrix would rather believe Trump's lies than his own eyes, he won't accept any evidence unless given permission to do so.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2017 12:32 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
I guess the answer is that Oralloy and McGentrix are sticking with Trump in spite of everything.

Well, yes in a way.

But I'm pretty bored with this goofy temper tantrum that the liberals are throwing, and am tuning most of it out. I'm not likely to devote my life to contradicting all the silly nonsense being babbled about Trump.

Right now my main interest is in which theaters are going to show Dunkirk in 70MM IMAX FILM on a flat screen (it is really going to matter which sort of theater people see this movie in).

And my secondary interest is in the coming nuclear war that the US is going to fight with North Korea.


maxdancona wrote:
do you all read Redstate.com?

I've never even heard of it. Most of my news comes from PBS. I supplement that with a healthy dose of BBC and France 24.


maxdancona wrote:
(BTW Oralloy, it will take far fewer than 20 years to disprove your prediction. It can be disproven in 4 years (and maybe fewer Wink ).

Back when you guys were saying it was only going to take until 2016 to prove me wrong, I pointed out that that you guys would be saying the same thing every single election cycle over the next 20 years.

We we approach the election of 2032, you guys will be saying that even though I just happened to correctly predict the last four presidential elections, I'll still be wrong about the next one.

(But I won't be.)
oralloy
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2017 12:34 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
So, if there were evidence, McGentrix, would you change your mind? That really is the question here. How deep does this loyalty to Trump go?

If I saw actual evidence that Trump committed obstruction of justice, I would support him even more.

For one reason only: Bill Clinton committed obstruction of justice, and if it was all right for him to do it, it is all right for Republican presidents to do it too.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2017 12:35 pm
@oralloy,
Quote:
But I'm pretty bored with this goofy temper tantrum that the liberals are throwing, and am tuning most of it out. I'm not likely to devote my life to contradicting all the silly nonsense being babbled about Trump.


Are you kidding? I love Trump. I am throwing a goofy party.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2017 12:35 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
No, I believe there is evidence. And we will see what comes ...

No. There really really isn't.


maxdancona wrote:
I will accept the facts as they become available. But right now, the facts don't look good for Trump supporters and the ones who are more reasonable are admitting as much.

Just remember: When Democratic leaders start passing out Kool Aid to everyone, DON'T DRINK IT.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2017 12:37 pm
@oralloy,
Quote:
I'm not likely to devote my life to contradicting all the silly nonsense being babbled about Trump.

Right now my main interest is in which theaters are going to show Dunkirk in 70MM IMAX FILM on a flat screen (it is really going to matter which sort of theater people see this movie in).


So how do you explain the large number of posts you are making on the topic?

(I love irony).
oralloy
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2017 12:47 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
So how do you explain the large number of posts you are making on the topic?

I don't believe that I am making a large number of posts on this topic.

What few posts I am making about the subject are only because it is the only thing that people are talking about that holds even a minor interest to me. If I saw a Dunkirk discussion I would be all over it.

You do understand why, if you see Dunkirk, it is vital to see it only in IMAX FILM?

Other forms of IMAX (and other forms besides IMAX) should be disregarded for this movie.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2017 01:15 pm
@oralloy,
I just checked Oralloy -- https://able2know.org/user/oralloy/

Your past 25 posts have all been defending Trump, it seems like an obsession.
 

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