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Comey Exonerates Trump

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Love the final 4 sentences...

Comey exonerates Trump – so much for obstruction

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/06/08/gregg-jarrett-comey-exonerates-trump-so-much-for-obstruction.html

James Comey’s public testimony exonerates President Trump of obstruction of justice.

To put it simply, “hoping” that something happens is not a crime.  The law demands much more than that.  Felony obstruction requires that the person seeking to obstruct a law enforcement investigation act “corruptly.”  The statute specifically defines what that includes:  threats, lies, bribes, destruction of documents, and altering or concealing evidence.  None of that is alleged by Comey.

Instead, the fired FBI Director recounts how President Trump expressed compassion for the man he dismissed as his National Security Adviser, calling Michael Flynn “a good guy” who “has been through a lot.”  Comey agreed.  Then the president said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.” 

The president’s statement is not an order or mandate.  It is not even a “request,” though Comey insists he understood it to be.  But even if we construe it as such, it is not enough to constitute obstruction.  Not even close.  There must be a “corrupt” act that accompanies the directive.

For example, if the president had said, “Bury whatever incriminating evidence you have, exonerate Flynn, and terminate the investigation of him entirely… or I will fire you.”  That is, arguably, obstruction.  It includes two corrupt elements –a threat and concealing evidence.  However, this is not what happened.

Comey knows all this.  Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, posed the key question: “Do you know of any case in which someone has been charged with obstruction based on the word ‘hope’?”  Comey answered, “I don’t.”  On that point, Comey is correct.

Hoping or wishing for an outcome bears no resemblance to the crime of obstruction as defined not just by statute, but by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2005 case of Arthur Anderson v. United States.

Intelligence Committee Chairman, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., asked Comey quite directly, “Was the president trying to obstruct justice?”  As expected, Comey demurred by claiming, “It’s not for me to say.”  While there is no legal basis for declining to answer the pivotal question, Comey dodged it for a reason.  If he said, under oath, that he regarded the president’s words as obstruction, Comey would have incriminated himself in a crime known as “misprision of felony.”

As explained in an earlier column, the law imposes an affirmative duty on federal officials, like Comey, to immediately report knowledge of a felony such as obstruction to a person in authority.  In the case of an FBI Director, his superior is the Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice.  Comey admitted he did not tell anyone at DOJ.  His excuses were legally vacuous.

Thus, one can conclude that Comey either did not believe the president obstructed justice (and, therefore, had no duty to report it) or he did not want to put himself in legal jeopardy.

Comey was pressed on the issue.  Unbelievably, he claimed he did not know whether FBI agents have a duty to report a crime that has been committed:

Question:  “You’re unsure whether they would have a legal duty?”

Answer: “That’s a good question.  I’ve not thought about that before.  (pause)  There is a statute that prohibits misprision of a felony -- knowing of a felony and taking steps to conceal it.  But this is a different question.”

No, Mr. Comey, it is not a different question.  It is a fundamental legal obligation for all people who serve in law enforcement.  The head of the FBI should know that.

Regardless, the entire question of obstruction was rendered moot and meaningless by Comey himself when he endorsed what constitutional scholars, including Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz, have long maintained.  That is, the president has the constitutional authority to stop investigations and prosecutions.

“I’m not a legal scholar…but as a legal matter, the president is head of the executive branch and could direct, in theory, that anybody be investigated or not be investigated,” admitted Comey. 

Comey Leaked His Memo

Obstruction aside, one of the more stunning moments during the hearing came when Comey confessed that he deliberately leaked to “a friend” the contents of the memo memorializing his conversation with Trump… so that it would then be leaked to the media.  Comey said it was his personal property.  Wrong.

Under the Federal Records Act and the FBI’s own Records Management regulations, “any document that is made in the course of business” is the property not of the person who authored it, but the property of the U.S. government.  And so are its contents.  It matters not whether the document, as this one, is unclassified.

Comey improperly and, perhaps, unlawfully leaked a government document involving an FBI investigation.  Comey admitted he did it to prompt the appointment of a special counsel who is now tasked with examining Russia’s interference in the presidential election.  At the very least, Comey violated government rules by converting government property for his own use.  It does not matter, legally, that he was no longer employed by the FBI.  Is it a crime?

Under 18 USC 793 (“Leaking Non-Classified Information”), it is a crime punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment to “willfully communicate or transmit national defense information,” even though it is not classified.  While the contents of the memo do not deal directly with national defense matters, the overall investigation does.  So it is debatable whether Comey could be charged.

If nothing else, Comey’s leak appears to be a rather sleazy tactic designed to harm the president.  How can he justify publicizing his own self-serving narrative while admitting in his testimony that he resisted all attempts by the president to publicize the truth that Trump was not personally under investigation?  He cannot.

It is equally disgraceful that Comey appears to have purposefully written his memo as an unclassified document so that he could later use it to his advantage by leaking it to the public without committing a serious crime.  Making it classified, he told the committee, “would tangle it up.”  In other words, he manipulated the classification system to exploit the political damage his document might cause.

Comey’s testimony did manage to put to rest the constant accusation that President Trump attempted to quash the Russian investigation.  Sen. Burr inquired, “Did the president at any time ask you to stop the FBI investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. elections?”  Comey replied, “Not to my understanding, no.”

As anticipated, Comey trashed Trump in a manner that is typical of an angry or disgruntled former employee who lashes out at the boss who fired him.  But his venomous attack seemed shrill and unbecoming of his stature.  He branded Trump a liar and claimed the president “defamed” him when Trump described the FBI as “poorly led and in disarray” under Comey’s leadership.

As a lawyer, Comey well knows that the president was expressing an opinion which is protected speech under the First Amendment.  Hence, it is not defamation at all.  Moreover, truth is a complete defense.  Given Comey’s mishandling of the Hillary Clinton email case, in which he contorted the law and usurped the authority of the Attorney General, the president’s description may be the truth.

And so, the much anticipated Senate Intelligence Committee hearing did not provide what President Trump’s antagonists yearned for – evidence of guilt.

The only guilt rests with the president’s critics, especially many in the media, who have leveled wild and baseless assertions that he committed a crime during his now infamous conversation with the fired FBI Director on February 14th.

Through ignorance and malevolence, they have laid bare their contempt for facts and the law in pursuit of a political mugging.  It’s a shame that is not a crime.

Jails would be overcrowded with politicians and journalists.    

 

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https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/08/us/politics/donald-trump-james-comey.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=a-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

For Trump, the ‘Cloud’ Just Grew That Much Darker

WASHINGTON — Upset about the investigation into Russian interference in last year’s election, President Trump sought relief from James B. Comey, then the F.B.I. director. By Mr. Comey’s account, Mr. Trump asked him to help “lift the cloud.”

But thanks to Mr. Trump’s own actions, the cloud darkened considerably on Thursday and now seems likely to hover over his presidency for months, if not years, to come.

Rather than relieve the pressure, Mr. Trump’s decision to fire Mr. Comey has generated an even bigger political and legal threat. In his anger at Mr. Comey for refusing to publicly disclose that the president was not personally under investigation, legal experts said, Mr. Trump may have actually made himself the target of an investigation.

While delivered in calm, deliberate and unemotional terms, Mr. Comey’s testimony on Thursday was almost certainly the most damning j’accuse moment by a senior law enforcement official against a president in a generation. In a Capitol Hill hearing room, the astonishing tableau unfolded of a former F.B.I. director accusing the White House of “lies, plain and simple” and asserting that when the president suggested dropping an investigation into his former national security adviser, “I took it as a direction.”

 

Mr. Comey gave ammunition to the president’s side, too, particularly by admitting that he had orchestrated the leak of his account of his most critical meeting with Mr. Trump with the express purpose of spurring the appointment of a special counsel, which he accomplished. The president’s defenders said Mr. Comey had proved Mr. Trump was right when he called the former F.B.I. director a “showboat” and a “grandstander,” a conclusion Democrats once shared when he was investigating Hillary Clinton last year.

But Mr. Comey also revealed that he had turned over memos of his conversations with Mr. Trump to that newly appointed special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, suggesting that investigators may now be looking into whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice by dismissing the F.B.I. director.

“This was a devastating day for the Trump White House, and when the history of the Trump presidency is written, this will be seen as a key moment,” said Peter H. Wehner, who was White House adviser to President George W. Bush. “My takeaway is James Comey laid out facts and was essentially encouraging Mueller to investigate Trump for obstruction. That’s a huge deal.”

The White House was left in the awkward position of trying to minimize the damage. Mr. Trump himself remained uncharacteristically silent, while his advisers kept the daily briefing off camera and sent out the backup to Sean Spicer, the press secretary. “I can definitively say the president is not a liar,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the principal deputy press secretary, told reporters.

Washington has not seen a spectacle quite like this since the days of Watergate, Iran-contra or President Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Whatever the controversies under Mr. Bush and President Barack Obama, neither was ever accused of personal misconduct by a current or former law enforcement official in such a public forum.

Indeed, Mr. Comey highlighted the difference by noting that he had never taken notes of his conversations with either of those presidents because he trusted their basic integrity, but he did write memos about each of his one-on-one encounters with Mr. Trump because “I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting.”

In any other presidency, the events laid out by Mr. Comey — Mr. Trump asking for “loyalty” from the F.B.I. director who was investigating the president’s associates, then asking him to drop an investigation into a former aide and ultimately firing him when he did not — might have spelled the end.

 

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As for every story in Politics in Washington, one get get as many interpretations of what went down yesterday as there are sources. It just depends where you look. After listening to both sides, no one "won" and no one "lost". Comey bashed everyone, including himself. 

The Democrats certainly did not get what they hoped for, and CNN must be in a real thither 

I think Loretta Lynn will take the biggest hit from all this...as she rightfully should..... with her attempt to turn the FBI off an investigation of Hillary.

Edited by Jaydee
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While it is possible that the Democrats may not have gotten what they wanted, the more important thing is that Comey's testimony has opened the window further into the way that the current administration operates.  The GOP will have to take that into consideration with the upcoming mid-terms.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/comey-testimony-reveals-trump-is-running-america-like-a-crime-boss/article35252262/?reqid=39f36a4a-dde8-4f0a-9334-a2e8045f20c9

Edited by deicer

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Agree to a point. Trump got his fingers slapped for style points but nothing earth shattering or unexpected came from the hearing.

The testimony has finally opened windows for investigation of the Democrats. If there ever was Election tampering.

The old adage of being careful what you wish for has never been more apparent.

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Right out of the gate Comey presented as a disgruntled employee. It would have been downright embarrassing to your side Deicer had Comey been on the stand and subject to cross-examination.

During two previous meetings with Trump, requests to clear the room were made by Comey; at the third meet Trump followed the protocol already established by Comey.

Comey is a self admitted leaker.

Someone on FOX paraphrased Comey; 'if only I was a stronger man I would have ...'

THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION.

IT sounds like AG Lynch may go down.

When the dust finally settles on the Flynn investigation I'm pretty certain anything discovered will not amount to evidence of wrong doing, only a guy trying to pad his retirement pocket by agreeing to speaking engagements, which sounds similar to the goal of the Clinton's and their now largely defunct Foundation ... now there's a good place to start an investigation.

And so it goes Deicer; the Left manufactured all sorts of controversy to steal away the Presidency and hide their own corrupt operations, but failed to achieve their miserable objective. Now the so-called Democratic Party is left to die, a hopeless, idea-less corrupt and bankrupt train wreck. Schumer needs to go!

 

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http://www.politicususa.com/2017/06/08/defending-trump-lawyer-impeached.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

Kasowitz’s statement contained several factual errors and flat out false statements. The area that might get the President in even more trouble was when he claimed that Comey is a leaker who could be prosecuted.

Threatening a witness with prosecution is at best witness intimidation, at worst, it is a presidential abuse of power. Either way, the man who was supposed to defend Trump may have added to the tally of offenses that this president has committed that could be impeachable.

Trump couldn’t get a top flight law firm to represent him, and the lawyer he has just made things a lot worse.

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Are the Lefties really hoping to turn a public lawyer into a Republican boogieman? Good lord Deicer, your side needs real and immediate help.

 

  

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Once again, it is reassuring to see the messenger being attacked, not the message.  The facts stand as they may, and hopefully 45 provides the tapes he keeps hinting at.

 

mikel-jollett-mikel-jollett-one-of-these-two-men-is-22445571.png

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