Mueller Time: Obstruction bombshell rocks West Wing, DOJ
Mike Schmidt’s latest article for The New York Times is somewhat obtusely titled, “Obstruction Inquiry Shows Trump’s Struggle to Keep Grip on Russia Investigation”.
The article itself describes several incidents that took place between March and May of last year. The newly leaked facts pretty much scream that the nation is close to seeing many members of the Trump Gang indicted for obstruction of justice.
Mark my words: this may be the tipping point.
Here are the key takeaways from the article.
- “President Trump gave firm instructions in March to the White House’s top lawyer: stop the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, from recusing himself in the Justice Department’s investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s associates had helped a Russian campaign to disrupt the 2016 election. … Mr. McGahn was unsuccessful, and the president erupted in anger in front of numerous White House officials, saying he needed his attorney general to protect him. … Mr. Trump then asked, ‘Where’s my Roy Cohn?'”
- “The lobbying of Mr. Sessions is one of several previously unreported episodes that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has learned about as he investigates whether Mr. Trump obstructed the F.B.I.’s Russia inquiry.” [When we read this, it raised the question: who leaked this to the Times? This writer immediately assumed it was probably Reince Priebus, with Sean Spicer a dark horse possibility.]
The special counsel has received handwritten notes from Mr. Trump’s former chief of staff, Reince Priebus[bingo!], showing that Mr. Trump talked to Mr. Priebus about how he had called Mr. Comey to urge him to say publicly that he was not under investigation. The president’s determination to fire Mr. Comey even led one White House lawyer to take the extraordinary step of misleading Mr. Trump about whether he had the authority to remove him. … The lawyer, Uttam Dhillon, was convinced that if Mr. Comey was fired, the Trump presidency could be imperiled, because it would force the Justice Department to open an investigation into whether Mr. Trump was trying to derail the Russia investigation. … Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas School of Law, called the incident “extraordinary,” adding that he could not think of a similar one that occurred in past administrations. “This shows that the president’s lawyers don’t trust giving him all the facts because they fear he will make a decision that is not best suited for him,” Mr. Vladeck said.”
- “[F]our days before Mr. Comey was fired, one of Mr. Sessions’s aides asked a congressional staff member whether he had damaging information about Mr. Comey, part of an apparent effort to undermine the F.B.I. director. It was not clear whether Mr. Mueller’s investigators knew about this incident. … Two days after Mr. Comey’s testimony, an aide to Mr. Sessions approached a Capitol Hill staff member asking whether the staffer had any derogatory information about the F.B.I. director. The attorney general wanted one negative article a day in the news media about Mr. Comey, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting.”
Schmidt and the Times deserve major kudos for tonight’s reportage. We would, however, suggest to their editors a punchier title, say,
“Obstruction-pallooza: Trump’s Struggle to Crush Russia Investigation Drags His Lawyers, His Staff, and an Out of His Depth Attorney General into Boiling Legal Brown Sauce.”Click here for reuse options!
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