'Comey Memo' Could Solidify Obstruction of Justice Charges Against Trump

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 17, 2017

House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), surrounded by members of the media, leaves after a closed House Republican election meeting to pick the next GOP House Speaker nominee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., October 8, 2015. Comey wrote the memo after he met in the Oval Office with Trump, the day after the Republican president fired Flynn on February 14 for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the extent of his conversations a year ago with Russia's ambassador, Sergei Kislyak.

The documentation of Mr. Trump's request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump's associates and Russian Federation.

"He is a good guy".

"I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go", Trump told Comey, according to the memo.

The conversation occurred weeks after the Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewed Flynn regarding his contacts with the Russian Federation ambassador to the United States and after the acting attorney general, Sally Yates, warned the White House that Flynn had misled them about those conversations and could be vulnerable to blackmail.

Media reports of the Comey memo prompted members of Congress to renew calls for an independent probe into the Trump campaign's possible connections to Russian Federation and for Comey to testify before Congress.

He told Comey that Flynn, who was sacked for lying to Pence about the content of his telephone conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak before the inauguration, hadn't done anything wrong.

Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee ordered him to hand over all documents related to Russian Federation, after his refusal to cooperate with the investigation without prior immunity.

The associate also confirmed an account from the Times that Trump vented about media leaks during his conversation with Comey, and that the president expressed support for seeing reporters in prison. But the experts said intent was a critical element of an obstruction of justice charge, and the president's words could be subject to interpretation and possibly put into the context of other actions, like Comey's termination.

The fact that the president apparently said he "hoped" Comey would end the Flynn investigation rather than more directly ordering it "makes for a weaker but still viable case", said Christopher Slobogin, a criminal law professor at Vanderbilt University Law School.

A USA president has the authority to disclose even the most highly classified information at will, but US and allied officials said that by giving information to Russia, Trump had endangered cooperation from an ally that has intelligence on Islamic State.

In dismissing Comey last week, Trump created the very real possibility that a respected law enforcement official known for an outspoken nature and willingness to buck political convention could resurface in public.

Regarding the unique powers of the oversight committee, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in November that no government employee was exempt from being investigated by the committee, including the president, the Hill reported.

But McConnell acknowledged that "it would be helpful to have less drama emanating from the White House".

Chaffetz's letter comes just hours after the disclosure that Comey drafted a memo that detailed how Trump had asked him to shut down the Flynn investigation.

With the White House in chaos and congressional Republicans struggling to respond, communication appeared to have broken down between the two ends of Pennsylvania Ave.

Flynn was forced to resign February 13 after reports of the Yates-White House conversation.

Top staff, including Pence, left the White House to attend a fundraiser for the America First Policies PAC at a Washington steak house, Del Frisco's.

Another senior House GOP reacted to the latest debacle from the White House by asking: "What the heck is happening over there?" adding that it was time for Republicans to distance themselves politically from Trump.

"The time President Trump spent sharing sensitive information with the Russians was time he did not spend focusing on Russia's aggressive behavior", McCain said.

The source did not know how many memos Comey had written.

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