Tag Archives: obstruction of justice

The cumulative evidence for a charge of obstruction of justice keeps piling up

The cumulative evidence for a charge of obstruction of justice keeps piling up against our Dear Leader, Donald Trump. And this is only what we know from what has been revealed in the media, and by Trump himself in his public statements and his insane Tweets. Investigators have acccess to documents, communications and witness statements that have not yet been made public.

The Washington Post reports, Trump asked intelligence chiefs to push back against FBI collusion probe after Comey revealed its existence:

President Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials.

Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.

Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president.

Trump sought the assistance of Coats and Rogers after FBI Director James B. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee on March 20 that the FBI was investigating “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.”

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Trump trash talked James Comey with his Russian handlers

Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin trolled Donald Trump, Offering to Provide a ‘Record’ of Trump’s Disclosures to Russian Envoys:

President Vladimir V. Putin on Wednesday jumped into the furor over President Trump’s disclosure of classified information to Russian diplomats, declaring that nothing secret had been revealed and that he could prove it.

Mr. Putin [said] that he has a “record” of the American president’s meeting at the White House with two senior Russian officials and was ready to give it to Congress — so long as Mr. Trump does not object.

It turns out that the White House has its own “record” of the meeting, which has not been made public. Trump’s disclosure of highly classified intelligence from Israel to the Russians is not the only reason, we now learn.

The New York Times reports, Trump Told Russians That Firing ‘Nut Job’ Comey Eased Pressure From Investigation:

President Trump told Russian officials in the Oval Office this month that firing the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, had relieved “great pressure” on him, according to a document summarizing the meeting.

“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

Well there is an admission against interest that is probative of the element of intent in an obstruction of justice charge.

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Comey’s Revenge?

Last Friday Donald Trump’s Tweet alleged secretly recorded “tapes” of his conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey.

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Tuesday night we learned that James Comey can say “I’ll see your alleged tape recordings, and raise you the contemporaneous memorandums of conversations that I maintain to cover my ass. And I want to testify in both public and private hearings before Congress.”

If Trump was bluffing about his “tapes,” now’s the time for him to fold. He’s about to lose this hand “bigly.”

The New York Times reported, Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation:

President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.

“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo.

This is the basis for an obstruction of justice charge.

Mr. Comey created similar memos — including some that are classified — about every phone call and meeting he had with the president, the two people said. It is unclear whether Mr. Comey told the Justice Department about the conversation or his memos.

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Witness Intimidation, Obstruction of Justice, and Impeachment

I am still on vacation visiting relatives during what has been a busy news week.

The most important developments from last week were the New York Times report on Donald Trump’s insistence of personal loyalty from FBI Director James Comey, as if he is a mafia Godfather insisting on the code of omertà; Trump’s interview with Lester Holt of NBC in which he essentially made a public admission of obstruction of justice; and Trump’s threatening Tweet to fired FBI director James Comey about “tapes” of their alleged conversations.

Trump cannot control his own destructive impulses from acting out on intimidation of witnesses and obstruction of justice — Count One of the Articles of Impeachment against Richard Nixon.

Here is a good summary from New York Magazine. Trump Asked Comey for Loyalty a Day After He Was Warned About Flynn:

Unsatisfied with his press office’s handling of the fallout from the firing of FBI Director James Comey, on Thursday night President Trump took matters into his own hands — and made things much, much worse.

Though their story kept shifting, for days White House officials stuck to their claim that Comey was fired because the president and top Justice Department officials felt he was doing a bad job, not because of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible Russia ties.

Then in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, Trump proclaimed that he had actually decided to fire Comey regardless of what Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recommended — and the Russia probe was on his mind.

“In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said [self], ‘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,’” the president said.

Trump speaking about himself in the third person is your first clue that this Dude is bonkers.

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Senate Intelligence Committee hearing: Russia’s ‘active measures’ are ongoing

The Senate Intelligence Committee held its first hearing on Russian interference in the U.S. election on Thursday. The committee heard from a series of expert witnesses on Russia’s use of “active measures” and manipulating social media with “fake news” (propaganda) and “bots,” and an army of trolls to influence media narratives and voters.

One of the more compelling witnesses was former FBI special agent Clint Watts, who testified that “part of the reason active measures worked in this U.S. election is because the Commander-in-Chief [Trump] has used Russian active measures at times, against his opponents.” Think Progress reports, Former FBI agent details how Trump and Russia team up to weaponize fake news:

During the first public Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about Russia’s meddling in the presidential election on Thursday, former FBI special agent Clint Watts explained how Russia and the Trump campaign team up to weaponize fake news.

Asked by Rep. James Lankford (R-OK) about why Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to make more of an effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election than in years past, Watts, who is now a a fellow at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, said, “the answer is very simple and it’s what nobody is really saying in this room.”

“Which is, part of the reason active measures have worked in this U.S. election is because the Commander-in-Chief [Trump] has used Russian active measures at times, against his opponents,” Watts continued.

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Michael Flynn seeks an immunity deal for his testimony

Last week I posted about Friday’s edition of Don Lemon CNN Tonight, in which CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem discussed the possibility in a panel discussion that former national security adviser Mike Flynn has cut a deal with the FBI and is now informing on his old boss. CNN analyst: Sources say Mike Flynn may have turned on Trump and become a witness for the FBI.

Kayyem may have been a bit premature with her analysis, but the Wall Street Journal (pay firewall) confirmed on Thursday that Mike Flynn Offers to Testify in Exchange for Immunity: “Mike Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, has told the Federal Bureau of Investigation and congressional officials investigating the Trump campaign’s potential ties to Russia that he is willing to be interviewed in exchange for a grant of immunity from prosecution, according to officials with knowledge of the matter.”

The Washington Post picks up the Journal’s reporting. Flynn offers to cooperate with congressional probe in exchange for immunity:

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has offered to cooperate with congressional investigators in exchange for immunity from prosecution, a suggestion that has been met with initial skepticism, according to people familiar with the matter.

“General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit,’’ Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kelner, said in a statement Thursday evening. “Out of respect for the committees, we will not comment right now on the details of discussions between counsel for General Flynn and the House and Senate intelligence committees, other than to confirm that those discussions have taken place. But it is important to acknowledge the circumstances in which those discussions are occurring.’’

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