Do We Know If Trump Obstructed Justice?
Legal minds and the press parse the Comey testimony and Russia investigation.
Former director of the FBI, fired by Donald Trump, James Comey grabbed the full attention of the country yesterday in much-awaited testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. There was the packed hearing room. The mob of photographers. Comey, ramrod straight, Boy Scout clear, but savvy. And then, a load of testimony. Told like a story. Earnest. And tough. This hour On Point: the implications of the Senate testimony of former FBI director, James Comey. — Tom Ashbrook
Claire Finkelstein, director of the Center for Ethics and Rule of Law and professor of law and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
From Tom’s Reading List
Washington Post: Comey: White House lied about me, FBI — “Former FBI director James B. Comey on Thursday used a dramatic appearance before a national audience to sharply criticize the character of the president, accusing Trump of firing him over the Russia investigation and then misleading the public about the reasons for the dismissal. Trump and his team, Comey said, told ‘lies, plain and simple,’ about him and the FBI in an effort to cover up the real reason for his sudden sacking last month. Comey said that after one particularly odd private meeting with the president, he feared Trump “might lie” about the conversation, prompting him to begin taking careful notes after each encounter.”
New York Times: Trump, Comey and Obstruction of Justice: A Primer — “The testimony by the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey that President Trump, before firing him last month, demanded loyalty, urged him to drop the investigation into his former national security adviser and pressed him to ‘lift the cloud’ of the Russia inquiry is fueling accusations that the president obstructed justice.”
USA Today: James Comey’s testimony doesn’t make the case for impeachment or obstruction against Donald Trump — “The crime of obstruction of justice has not been defined as broadly as suggested by commentators. While there are a couple of courts with more expansive interpretations, the crime is generally linked to obstructing a pending proceeding as opposed to an investigation. Most courts have rejected the application of obstruction provisions to mere investigations. The manual used by federal prosecutors makes that same distinction. Even if a prosecutor was able to extend the definition of obstruction, there would remain the need to show that Trump sought to ‘corruptly’ influence the investigation.”
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