Besieged White House denies, defends as new bombshells hit

May 18, 2017, 00:41

Reports state that the president had asked to speak privately to the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief after others had left the room, according to Comey's associates.

There is no other explanation for this maneuver; its timing, its politics, its optics, its reflection of the current investigation into his campaign's role in Russia's meddling in our national electoral process, or the eventual handling of the announcement.

Yet Arizona Republican Representative Trent Franks defended Mr Trump.

And while Comey himself has been silent, his associates have been exposing intriguing details of his encounters with Trump. The president made a decision to include an aside about having been told personally by the man he was sacking that he was not directly under investigation...three times; a ham-fisted attempt to deflect the idea that this had nothing to do with being under investigation.

Schumer said in a brief, somber floor speech Tuesday that he was "shaken" by the report that Trump asked Comey "to shut down an active investigation into a close political associate". Lawyers don't agree if Trump's purported comments to Comey amount to obstruction of justice, the main charge in both the Nixon and Clinton impeachment cases.

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The panel's top Democrat, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, a constant Trump critic, called the allegation of Trump pressure on Comey "explosive" and said "it appears like a textbook case of criminal obstruction of justice".

"If there are notes of these meetings", he continued, "they should be provided to Congress immediately - subpoenaed if necessary - and Director Comey should be brought back to testify before Congress without delay". The debate will nearly certainly hinge on whether Comey accurately described the president's comments and whether he correctly understood the president's intentions.

Comey's political misadventures may offer Republicans a chance to question his motives should he testify, and the GOP is in a mood to defend its president, whose antics in recent days have sorely tested the patience of his supporters.

"I would hope that at some point the Republicans will join with the Democrats and say, 'Look, we've got to address this.' This is indefensible", Cummings told MSNBC. The lawmakers also called for an independent investigation into the Trump campaign's possible connections to Russian Federation.

And added: " This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the President and Mr Comey".

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According to the report, Mr Comey said in the memo that the President told him Gen Flynn was a good guy and had done nothing wrong. You don't have to be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to sleuth this one.

He also published his letter to the FBI's acting director, Andrew McCabe, urging him to provide all of Comey's documents on meetings with the president within a week. There can be broader definitions of obstruction of justice such as Sections 1503, 1505 and 1512 of Title 18, which contains variants of language, making it a crime if someone corruptly "obstructs, influences or impedes any official proceeding", according to the New York Times.

This is once again a solution looking for a reason. Pelosi speaks during her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill, May 4, 2017, in Washington, DC.

Kislyak was with Lavrov at the White House when Trump disclosed the sensitive information. And while mocking investigations against you is classic Al Capone stuff, Trump only echoes the idea that there is something worth mocking. Soon after the memo was released, the White House was accused of obstructing justice.

What shouldn't be lost in all this is that Comey was really shitty at this job, or at least performing the public face of it. Because he was so appalled that a president of the United States would behave in this way. Granted, one might think he would care when USA interests (and perhaps lives) are on the line, but we've seen no evidence of that; that "officials expressed concern with Trump's handling of sensitive information as well as his grasp of the potential consequences" is consistent with everything we've seen from him in the campaign, during the transition and after he took office. When Comey was now requesting further resources to increase the investigation? When Trump had a meeting with Russian diplomats closed off to the media?

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James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of "Deep Tank Jersey", "Fear No Art", "Trailing Jesus", "Midnight For Cinderella" and "Y".

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