16 May 2017

OK, This is a Big F%$#ing Deal

It appears that following his meeting with Donald Trump, James Comey wrote a memo describing the meeting, and in this memo he makes it clear that Donald Trump applied pressure to get him to drop the investigation on Russian coordination* with the Trump campaign.

Assuming that an actual copy of the memo is made available, and the recipients are willing to testify as to the timing of the memo, then this is more than sufficient justification to open up an investigation against Donald Trump for obstruction of justice:
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.

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 Russia. Late Tuesday, Representative Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, demanded that the F.B.I. turn over all “memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings” of discussions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Comey.

Such documents, Mr. Chaffetz wrote, would “raise questions as to whether the president attempted to influence or impede” the F.B.I.

Mr. Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the president immediately after the meeting, which took place the day after Mr. Flynn resigned, according to two people who read the memo. It was part of a paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation. An F.B.I. agent’s contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations.

Mr. Comey shared the existence of the memo with senior F.B.I. officials and close associates. The New York Times has not viewed a copy of the memo, which is unclassified, but one of Mr. Comey’s associates read parts of it to a Times reporter.


In a statement, the White House denied the version of events in the memo.

“While the president has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn,” the statement said. “The president has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies, and all investigations. This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey.”


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.
There is a part of me that is hoping that this meeting was actually taped.

There is another part of me who fearss that Mike Pence is way worse than the Donald.

That being said, Congressional Republicans value Donald Trump as the proverbial useful idiot, so I do not see any meaningful moves toward impeachment absent a complete electoral debacle in 2018.

*Note that Comey has been very meticulious about using the term, "coordination," and not, "collusion," the former is a violation of campaign finance laws, while the latter is just sleazy, and so only the former constitutes an underlying crime to which things like conspiracy or obstruction of justice charges can be laid.
But I am an engineer, not a campaign finance lawyer, dammit.
I love it when I get to go all Dr. McCoy!


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