Nel's New Day

October 25, 2017

DDT’s Obstruction of Justice

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 10:29 PM
Tags: , , ,

Can Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) be convicted of obstruction of justice? That’s the question that the Senate Judiciary Committee has been investigating, and there may never be an answer. The committee seems to have blown up, and each party will likely submit its own report. The Senate Intelligence Committee has said that it will no longer be investigating anything about DDT’s firing of former FBI director James Comey. Committee chair Richard Burr (R-NC) said, “Future questions surrounding Comey’s firing are better answered by the [special] counsel or by the Justice Department.”

Obstruction of justice is a charge for attempts to influence, obstruct or impede a federal investigation or a judicial process. Steven Harper has written about how DDT taken a number of actions that could be considered obstruction of justice.

Jan. 27, 2017: One week after the inauguration, acting Attorney General Sally Yates talked to White House counsel Don McGahn about her concerns regarding national security adviser Michael Flynn. During DDT’s campaign, Flynn was frequently in contact Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. VP Mike Pence and press secretary Sean Spicer denied that Flynn talked about Russian sanctions in December, but Yates told McGahn that U.S. intelligence agencies knew these statements were false. If Flynn lied, Russians could blackmail him because they knew the truth. That was the same day that DDT called Comey to a private dinner at the White House and told him, “I need loyalty.”

Feb. 14, 2017: DDT asked Comey to stay for a private conversation after DDT’s advisers left. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” DDT told Comey in private.

Mar. 20, 2017: Comey testified before Congress that the FBI was investigating DDT’s campaign connections to Russia.

March 22, 2017: DDT asks National Intelligence Daniel Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo to stay in the Oval Office after a briefing with senior officials. DDT complains to them about Comey’s handling of the Russia investigation and asks them to intervene with Comey to get the FBI to stop investigating Flynn. During later Senate testimony, Coates and Pompeo refuse to answer questions about this meeting without offering an explanation of any legal basis for doing so. A few days later, DDT asked Coats, Pompeo, and Director of National Security Mike Rogers to deny publicly “the existence of any evidence of coordination between his campaign and the Russian government.” Deputy Director of the NSA Richard Ledgett wrote an internal NSA memo documenting DDT conversation with Rogers, including DDT’s questioning the accuracy of the IC Assessment that Russia had interfered with the election. Senior White House officials also “sounded out top intelligence officials about the possibility of intervening directly with Comey to encourage the FBI to drop its probe of Michael Flynn.”

Mar. 30, 2017 and Apr. 11, 2017: DDT asked Comey to “lift the cloud” of the Russia investigation. DDT repeatly urged Comey to tell the public that DDT is not under investigation. Comey later testified to the Senate that the FBI and DOJ were reluctant to make a public statement that they did not have an open case on Trump “for a number of reasons, most importantly because it would create a duty to correct, should that change.”

Apr. 25, 2017:  DDT sent Flynn a message to “stay strong.”

May 2, 2017: DDT added witness intimidation to his series of “Russia hoax” tweets on the night before Comey’s scheduled testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee: “FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds! The phony…”

May 6-7, 2017: DDT had spent the past few days ranting about Comey’s Senate appearance on May 3. With the help of aide Stephen Miller, DDT drafted a four-page letter to Comey that outlined his reasons for firing Comey.

May 8, 2017: DDT continued his witness intimidation before Sally Yates testified about her January conversations with Don McGahn regarding Mike Flynn: “Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Counsel.” DDT read the draft of his letter firing Comey to advisers, including White House counsel Don McGahn and VP Mike Pence. DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, then-chief of staff Reince Priebus, Pence, and drafted talking points about Comey’s planned firing while DDT asked AG Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for a memo outlining their problems with Comey. DDT used their statements as recommendations for his firing Comey.

May 9, 2017: DDT fired Comey while DDT’s subordinates, including, publicized the falsehood that Rosenstein had called for Comey’s termination.

May 10, 2017: DDT told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyak in the Oval Office that he fired Comey because of “Russia.” DDT told them, “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job … I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off … I’m not under investigation.”

May 11, 2017: DDT repeated the real reason, “Russia,” for firing Comey in an interview with Lester Holt on NBC.

May 12, 2017: The New York Times reported DDT’s “loyalty dinner” with Comey on January 27, and DDT sent another tweet to intimidate a witness: “James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

May 18, 2017: DDT answered a question about whether he had ever asked Comey to close or back down on the investigation into Mike Flynn with the curt response: “No. No. Next question.”

May 18, 2017: Rosenstein testifies before a closed-door Senate briefing, reportedly saying that he knew DDT wanted to fire Comey before he wrote his letter justifying Comey’s removal. Rosenstein also said that DDT asked him to write the letter and that he knew on May 8 that DDT was planning to fire Comey.

June 6, 2017: The Washington Post reported that DDT was considering live-tweeting during James Comey’s upcoming Senate testimony.

June 7, 2017: DNI Coats and NSA Director Rogers both refused to testify about their personal interactions with DDT and whether DDT asked them to intervene in the Russia investigation at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

June 8, 2017: Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee that DDT had repeatedly asked him about Russia and that he understood DDT’s expressed “hope” about “letting Flynn go” as an order.

June 9, 2017: DDT called Comey a liar and accused him of leaking classified information.

July 8, 2017: DDT helped his son Donald Trump Jr. write a misleading statement about the son’s campaign meeting on June 9, 2016 with his top advisers and three Russians who promised to provide “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

July 19, 2017: After incessant attacks on special investigator Robert Mueller, DDT talked about limitations to Mueller’s examination of the DDT-Russian connections.

July 21, 2017: The Washington Post reported that Trump had “asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe.” Such pardons might constitute obstruction of justice or an abuse of power.

July 26, 2017: About whether Mueller’s job was safe, DDT said, “No, we’re going to see.”

As Harper wrote:

“[DDT] lied about Comey’s firing, persisted in efforts to intimidate key witnesses, inserted himself into misleading statements about his campaign advisers’ meetings with Russians offering to help him win the election, and held the sword of Damocles over the special counsel investigating him? Behind any effort to obstruct justice is a fear of the truth.”

Barry H. Berke, Noah Bookbinder, and Norman Eisen have outlined the case against DDT in a detailed 108-page factual and legal analysis for the Brookings Institution. As Harper stated, “Trump’s actions have always been rational in a key respect: Trump does what is best for Trump, regardless of the consequences. If that means obstructing justice, so be it.”

Whenever DDT finds himself in trouble, he distracts. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) claimed that DDT’s current distraction from Russia’s election meddling and potential obstruction of justice is DDT’s attention to the 2010 Uranium One deal. The member of the Senate Judiciary Committee said:

“The president has done everything he can — calling the investigation a hoax, bringing distracting issues to deflect attention from the potential obstruction of justice by his administration and possibly by himself into the investigation on Russian meddling, and Trump’s alleged collusion with that meddling.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Judiciary chair, has called on the DOJ to appoint a special counsel to investigate the agreement giving a Russian-owned company partial control of U.S. atomic energy resources in 2010. Last week the committee said that it is opening an inquiry into the deal, and the House wants a joint investigation. The next GOP lie and the next shiny thing: Hillary Clinton benefited from the deal.

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