Would Trump request to end Flynn probe have broken law?
Would Trump request to end Flynn probe have broken law?
18 May, 2017, 11:17
During a graduation speech at the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut, Trump complained about media coverage, though he did not address the specific report or mention Comey by name.
The former director, who reportedly agreed that Flynn was a good guy, subsequently recorded their conversation in a memo, which he shared with senior Federal Bureau of Investigation employees.
Unimpressed, Rep. Elijah Cummings, top Democrat on a key House oversight panel, said, "Speaker Ryan has shown he has zero, zero, zero appetite for any investigation of Donald Trump".
"What you have is contemporaneous documentation of Comey's recollection of what the president said", said Bob Bauer, who served as White House counsel under President Barack Obama.
Comey was leading an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election when he was sacked by Trump.
By contrast, here are some of the actions Trump has undertaken that have not caused most Republican officials to abandon their support, or even offer especially sharp criticism (if any criticism at all): multiple attempts at a Muslim ban, boasts about sexual assault, mocking people with disabilities, attacking a Gold Star family, making baseless claims that Obama wiretapped him, making baseless claims that 3 million people voted illegally, comparing the intelligence community to Nazis, firing the FBI director investigating his campaign, betraying a critical ally by sharing highly classified information with the Russians. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), said he's "no Comey fan" but added, "I won't defend anyone who obstructs justice".
"If true, these memoranda raise questions as to whether the president attempted to influence or impede the FBI's investigation as it relates to Lt. Gen. Flynn", Chaffetz wrote.
Trump himself is helping investigators put all of those pieces together, through interviews, tweets and offhand comments to reporters, said Zeidenberg.
It's no surprise that Amash, R-Cascade Township, is continuing to take a hard line on Trump. Following publication, a spokeswoman for Curbelo contacted Mother Jones to point out that "Congressman Curbelo was actually the first Republican to mention impeachment". McCabe has replaced Comey, who was sacked last week by Trump.
But the White House (and, in the case of the Comey-Trump memos, the FBI) could just decide not to hand anything over. He says there is "clearly a lot of politics being played". On February 13, Flynn resigned from his post, acknowledging that he had provided White House officials with "incomplete information" over a phone call he'd had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
The White House denied Comey's version of events in an emailed statement that said Trump "has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation".
Democrats pointed out that Ryan had called for Democrat Hillary Clinton to be denied classified briefings after Comey concluded a year ago that she was careless in how she handled classified information over her email accounts.
Whether a sitting president can be indicted for a crime is a question that is not answered by either the Constitution or by Supreme Court cases, but many legal scholars believe impeachment is the only way to hold a president accountable for misconduct.
For one, he asked Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to leave the room before speaking privately with Comey about Flynn, according to a Comey associate. Several came to his defense and sought to close ranks.
Putin, watching from afar, said the "evolving political struggle" had gone from something of an amusement to serious cause for concern, and he suggested Trump's critics were stoking anti-Russian sentiment to damage the president.
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