Opinion: Trump is blatantly attempting to obstruct justice

(AP)

Let’s be clear, because clarity is essential at moments such as this:

Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday not because of Comey’s incompetence, but in hopes of ending the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in our election and into possible collusion with Russia by members of Trump’s campaign.

Trump wanted that investigation stopped in its tracks. He acted to do so. Multiple news outlets have all reported the same basic narrative. A week ago, an angry Trump put out the word to Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he wanted Comey fired, and Trump demanded that he be given a rationale, any rationale, that would allow him to do so.

Here’s Politico’s version of events:

“He had grown enraged by the Russia investigation, two advisers said, frustrated by his inability to control the mushrooming narrative around Russia. He repeatedly asked aides why the Russia investigation wouldn’t disappear and demanded they speak out for him. He would sometimes scream at television clips about the probe, one adviser said.”

In the Wall Street Journal version, the Trump White House “wanted Mr. Comey to ‘say those three little words: ‘There’s no ties.’’ When Comey did not say those words, his fate was sealed.

But of course, we already knew all that, straight from the horse’s mouth. This tweet came less than 24 hours before Comey’s firing, and it goes directly to presidential motive.

“When will this taxpayer-funded charade end?”

There is no defending that action. Presidents do get to fire and hire FBI directors; they do not get to try to end investigations that might bring their own actions under scrutiny. That’s not the way we do things here in these United States of America, at least not so far. And again, the intent is clear. As Trump spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders lectured us last night, with Comey’s removal it is now “time to move on” from the Russia probe.

I do not think so.

When Russia’s role is fully investigated and we know as much as possible about what happened, that will be the time to move on. Instead of putting the issue behind us, Trump’s blatant interference has pushed this investigation to the very top of the national agenda. I don’t know whether Trump and his associates played any role in Russia’s interference. Despite growing circumstantial evidence, I still tend to doubt it.

But I also know that Trump’s behavior is not that of a man confident of exoneration. It has a unseemly whiff of desperation to it, a sense of panic.

It is worth noting that just a few hours before Trump fired Comey, news broke that grand-jury subpoenas had been issued in an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a close Trump associate and a man whose own unreported ties to Russia may eventually put him behind bars.

That desperation is reflected even in Trump’s letter to Comey removing him from office. (The president lacked the grace to do the deed in person or even by the phone. Comey learned of his firing from news accounts while he was speaking to FBI employees in Los Angeles.)

In that letter, Trump tells Comey that “I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation.” Among other things, the fact that Trump demanded assurances three separate times that he was not under investigation says a lot about his nervous state of mind.

However, the statement itself is probably true, even if it doesn’t mean what Trump wants it to mean.  At this point, the FBI is investigating an event, not a person or persons. It is running a counterintelligence probe trying to understand how and why Russia was able to interfere so successfully into our election process on Trump’s behalf. As part of that investigation, it naturally wants to know whether any American citizens assisted Russia in that effort.

In a statement last week to Congress —  the statement that reportedly pushed Trump to new heights of anger and frustration — Comey laid it out plainly:  The FBI is investigating “the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”

“As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.”

We should also deal with the official pretense for firing Comey. As part of the firing announcement, the White House released a letter from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in which Rosenstein recommends Comey’s removal on grounds that he botched the handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. The letter does not take issue with Comey’s decision not to prosecute, and instead focuses on Comey’s decision to make his deliberations so public, in violation of longstanding precedent.

“We do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation,” Rosenstein writes. “Derogatory information sometimes is disclosed in the course of criminal investigations and prosecutions, but we never release it gratuitously. …It is a textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.”

All of that is true. However, the idea that Trump has fired Comey because nine months ago he released derogatory information about Clinton is literally unbelievable. If you pretend to believe that, you fool no one but yourself, even though an alarming number of Americans will do so.

And oh yeah, Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who gave Trump the excuse that he wanted to fire Comey? He is also the man in charge of the Russia probe.

And if that doesn’t set off alarm bells, take a look at who Fox News (echoed by the Washington Times) are touting as potential replacements for Comey:

Clockwise from top left, that’s Ray Kelly, former New York City police commissioner, who had earlier endorsed Trump’s proposed Muslim ban; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Trump sycophant extraordinaire; the hapless if Benghazi-addled Trey Gowdy; and the bizarre David Clarke, Milwaukee County sheriff.

So you might want to contact your senators and congressmen to let them know how you feel about all this. This is a moment that matters.

——-

SEN. DAVID PERDUE:

Contact by email at https://www.perdue.senate.gov/connect/email

Contact by telephone at (404) 865-0087 or (202) 224-3521.

SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON:

Contact by email at https://www.isakson.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-me

Contact by telephone at (202) 224-3643 or (770) 661-0999.

Reader Comments 0

3145 comments
Wayne Wells
Wayne Wells

You people need to get over it!!! Trump is president and he is not breaking any laws, he is simply doing his job! When and if he is found GILTY of breaking the laws of the US, then put him in jail.

PDPDP8
PDPDP8

Let us remember. Nixon fired the special prosecutor that was investing his involvement in Watergate. Nixon fires HIS Spec Prosecutor that he appointed because he was investigating NIXON. The next day congress began the Impeachment proceedings. Nixon resigned just to halt the disgrace of the Impeachment. What is the difference.

Lisa Shelton
Lisa Shelton

This man is clearly unhinged and I must seriously question the judgment of those who can't see this.

Phoebe Fugate
Phoebe Fugate

Trump please put RON WEAVER on your Payroll, he is from South Carolina

goober123277
goober123277

what part of the  the phrase "Presidents do get to fire and hire FBI directors". does mr.Bookman  not understand. Pres Trump should change his last name to "Obama" and all of this liberal phony outrage would end tonight.

PDPDP8
PDPDP8

If there was no guilt why would one try to stop the investigation. Reagan open the doors wide open....and hid nothing when he was investigated for the Contra feasco. He was guilty and admitted his and his staffs mistake and was never procecuted.

Mike DuPree
Mike DuPree

There's nothing wrong with wanting to fire someone that is a detriment to the FBI and the president's administration. You wouldn't be crapping all over yourself had Hillary been President (she isn't) and did the exact same thing. I agree clarity is essential at moments like these. It is clear you're not President Trump, you don't speak on his behalf, and you're a piss poor mind reader.

Citizen-of-the-World
Citizen-of-the-World

So once again, this time to Comey, Trump does the only thing he really, truly knows how to do: Ya Fi-ud. 

Shirley Procter
Shirley Procter

Trump think he is untouchable, it is still lots of crazy to come

Dabarsh
Dabarsh

Thank goodness for President Trump - a person who can make the difficult decisions despite 'rolling eyes" biased news folk on CNN.


Camo_Dawg
Camo_Dawg

@Dabarsh  Yes. Thank goodness for President Trump. America's first dictator-in-chief. His day will come.


Citizen-of-the-World
Citizen-of-the-World

@Dabarsh The only difficult decision Trump makes is whether to play 9 holes or 18. Firing someone who is investigating your campaign -- not really a difficult decision. It only became difficult because it was so monumentally stupid.

newshound65
newshound65

Ah, the moon is full.  Jay is right on schedule.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

What got me thinking about the utter cluelessness of the 6th district campaigns, last night, was seeing this for the first time. 

(Yes, Ossoff's ads are pretty pathetic, too. So are the DCCC's; if anything, they're even worse.)

But about this.

Do conservatives, at this point, NOT get that

a) they just don't really do "funny"? I mean, they rarely get it right, the comedy rarely works because it almost always "punches down," and they sure as hell didn't manage to make you laugh for the right reasons here; 

b) honestly, upon first glances--and that's all most tv ads manage--it really does just seem like a nice, pleasant ad for Ossoff, and I suspect about 70% of the people who bother to watch as it airs will just see cheerful people saying kind things about a sweet-looking young man, hardly the biting social satire these morons must've imagined; and lastly--

c) IT'S SAN F@GSISCO! WHERE THE GAY PEEPUL AT???

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IJp8-BAT6Y

Citizen-of-the-World
Citizen-of-the-World

@Visual_Cortex Just like the ad where they showed Ossoff having fun in college, this one with all the hippy-dippy SF people (and a peace sign, my favorite!) is going to make many people more inclined to vote for him. 


It's not that smart to try to make someone look bad to some people in a way that makes him look even better to other people. 


Of course, the Republicans aren't smart, or they wouldn't be enabling Trump. They'd be getting rid of him and his conflicted family of grifters. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Just for the record


Trump: I moved on her, actually. You know, she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it.


Unknown: Whoa.


Trump: I did try and **** her. She was married.


..............



Trump: Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.


Bush: Whatever you want.


Trump: Grab ’em by the *****. You can do anything.


That is a man describing what he does. Not his fantasies or any other nonsense. 


This was not playful locker room banter. Trump was 59 years old at the time.

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

@Hedley_Lammar All of that conversation is on tape - and none of it says he DID any of those things and no one except the libs want it to be the truth.  It may be true, yet there is no proof or accusation by anyone that he ever grabbed "'em by the p u s s y"...

PDPDP8
PDPDP8

17 women filed sexual assault charges against the Trump. He paid millions to get them "as Trump said", to shut their mouths.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@DownInAlbany I just saw your post down below, the answer to your question is yes.  Every memorial and statue of Jefferson need to be torn down and sand blasted, he was a slave owner and no slave owner should be memorialized in this country.  

rimsky
rimsky

@StraightNoChaser @DownInAlbany I got a better idea about these statues.  Put them in a gun range and use it for target practice.  An eye shot from 100 yds without a scope gets the first prize.  LOLOL

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@StraightNoChaser @DownInAlbany


You are displaying absolutely no discernment in the quality of your historical insight, SNC.  Every slaveowner of that era was not the same.  OP needs to understand that fact, also.


Generalizing is NEVER acceptable in an educated person.

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

Slaveowners owned and controlled slaves cant deflect that fact

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@MaryElizabethSings @ScubaSteve @StraightNoChaser @DownInAlbany Its the truth, Jefferson had all of these visions that you keep talking about but did nothing to act on them while living.  He was no better than the other plantation owner that lived down the road from him.  Both hired and paid an overseer to keep their slaves as free labor and captive.  

PDPDP8
PDPDP8

I would be worth a trip to Monticello to see and hear the truth. Jefferson tried various times to free slaves he inherited from his and his wife's family...but they always returned to his Monticello. Long story that is worth the trip....to Monticello.