Is Trump witness tampering?
Murray Waas has long been one of The Doc’s favorite investigative journalists. His latest article, for Foreign Policy, has probably already come to the attention of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, for reasons that will prove instantly obvious. Here’s a taste:
President Donald Trump pressed senior aides last June to devise and carry out a campaign to discredit senior FBI officials after learning that those specific employees were likely to be witnesses against him as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, according to two people directly familiar with the matter. … Not long after Comey’s Senate testimony, Trump hired John Dowd, a veteran criminal defense attorney, to represent him in matters related to Mueller’s investigation. Dowd warned Trump that the potential corroborative testimony of the senior FBI officials in Comey’s account would likely play a central role in the special counsel’s final conclusion, according to people familiar with the matter.
In discussions with at least two senior White House officials, Trump repeated what Dowd had told him to emphasize why he and his supporters had to “fight back harder,” in the words of one of these officials. …
Since Dowd gave him that information, Trump — as well as his aides, surrogates, and some Republican members of Congress — has engaged in an unprecedented campaign to discredit specific senior bureau officials and the FBI as an institution.
The FBI officials Trump has targeted are Andrew McCabe, the current deputy FBI director and who was briefly acting FBI director after Comey’s firing; Jim Rybicki, Comey’s chief of staff and senior counselor; and James Baker, formerly the FBI’s general counsel. Those same three officials were first identified as possible corroborating witnesses for Comey in a June 7 article in Vox. Comey confirmed in congressional testimony the following day that he confided in the three men.
This might account for some of Uncle Dotard’s crazy behavior in recent weeks:
Mueller has asked senior members of the administration questions in recent months indicating that prosecutors might consider Trump’s actions also to be an effort to intimidate government officials — in this case FBI officials — from testifying against him. … That Trump may have been motivated to attack specific FBI officials because they were potential witnesses against him could demonstrate potential intent that would bolster an obstruction of justice case.
… with a zesty dash of felony witness tampering. Delicious! ‘Nuff said.