search
Sections List
American Journal News

Trump might have obstructed justice, and his ignorance and incompetence is no defense

Former FBI Director James Comey testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday appeared to offera compelling case against Donald Trump for obstruction of justice. Comey was unequivocal in asserting that he was fired because of the FBI’s criminal investigation of Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and the links between members of the Trump team and Russia. And […]

By Ginger McKnight-Chavers - June 10, 2017
Share
Donald Trump

Comey was unequivocal in asserting that he was fired because of the FBI’s criminal investigation of Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and the links between members of the Trump team and Russia.

And he was crystal clear in his testimony that that the president had pressured him to drop the investigation, and had lied to the public about the matter. As a result, Comey’s explosive testimony has created a war of words between the earnest former FBI director and the Tweeter-in-Chief.

If Comey’s testimony is true, it strengthens the case that Trump might be guilty of obstruction of justice.

In the New Yorker, legal scholar Jeffrey Toobin concluded, “That’s the only rational conclusion to be reached if James Comey’s opening statement for his planned testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Thursday, is to be believed.”

The federal statute on obstruction of justice provides that anyone who “corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice, shall be punished[.]”

This law relating to obstruction of justice is very broad, and allows for typically lawful acts — like the president’s firing of an FBI director — to be in violation of the law if they are done with “corrupt intentions.”

So, of course Trump’s propaganda machine and enablers have started to roll out the excuses and accusations to discredit Comey, diminish the sting of his testimony, and attempt to persuade the public, and prosecutors, that Trump’s intentions were pure.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, meanwhile, begs us to be patient with Trump because he is “new to this,” and can’t be blamed for his abundant mistakes and ignorance of the law, and the protocols of our nation’s highest office that he so willingly, and aggressively, pursued.

On NBC, Nicole Wallace called this the “stupidity defense.” Trump and his personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, have vacillated between calling Comey a liar and a criminal for violating executive privilege — though legal experts overwhelmingly reject this — and claiming that Comey’s testimony somehow exonerated Trump from any wrongdoing.

Trump managed to combine both contradicting arguments in a single tweet the day after Comey’s testimony, insisting that Comey had made “so many false statements and lies,” and yet also provided “total and complete vindication” for Trump.

It is certainly possible that Trump is ignorant of protocols and proper procedures relevant to his office. And he has proven his incompetence to govern the nation and protect our national security interests and secrets time and time again.

But his ignorance and incompetence do not exonerate him from culpability in his intentions to subvert and ultimately stop the investigations into his team’s cozy relationship with the Russians — from his son-in-law, to his former national security adviser, to his attorney general — and potential collusion with Russia’s uncontroverted efforts to undermine the U.S. elections.

Trump’s words, deeds, and tweets shatter all suggestions that his intentions were innocent. An extensive timeline of events over the entirety of Trump’s tenure in office illustrates how the president consistently exerted pressure on Comey with respect to the investigation of Flynn.

Regularly calling the Russia investigations a “witch hunt” on Twitter, Trump summarily fired those who placed his administration under investigation, including Comey, Sally Yates and Preet Bharara.

He admitted to NBC’s Lester Holt on national television that, contrary to statements made by his press secretary and Vice President Mike Pence that Comey’s firing was based on a recommendation in a memo by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he had decided to fire Comey before any such memo existed.

He also admitted in the interview that he questioned Comey about whether he was under investigation. And though he claims that he never asked Comey for his loyalty, he has already started down his well-trodden path of double-speak by claiming, “There would be nothing wrong if I did say it.”

The president’s actions and words reveal his corrupt intentions to controvert a federal investigation. And though he now claims to want to testify under oath about Comey’s testimony, the president should be careful not to add a perjury offense to his potential obstruction of justice.

As someone who has for years repeated easily debunked lies — about President Barack Obama’s place of birth, to an absurd claim that millions of illegal voters robbed him of the popular vote, to the size of his inauguration crowds — he has little to no credibility.

Polls show that the American people increasingly mistrust the president and use negative terms like “liar” to describe him.

So Trump will face an uphill battle convincing anyone that his is the more accurate and trustworthy description of what he said to Comey after he kicked everyone else out of the room to confront him about the investigations in private. The president’s reputation for reliability and truthfulness is shaky, at best. Especially compared to the reputation of the former FBI director.

And, though unlikely, what if Trump is telling the truth about the existence of tapes of his conversations with Comey?

In the words of Comey during his testimony on Thursday, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.”


AJ News
Get the latest news here first.

Tai News

Newsletter
Read More
Biden rallies Democrats in Las Vegas: ‘Imagine the nightmare’ if Trump reelected

Biden rallies Democrats in Las Vegas: ‘Imagine the nightmare’ if Trump reelected

By April Corbin Girnus, Nevada Current - February 05, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
White House calls for focus on tutoring, summer school, absenteeism as pandemic aid winds down

White House calls for focus on tutoring, summer school, absenteeism as pandemic aid winds down

By Kalyn Belsha, Chalkbeat and Erica Meltzer, Chalkbeat Colorado - January 22, 2024
Trump legal problems abound as first test of 2024 presidential campaign nears in Iowa

Trump legal problems abound as first test of 2024 presidential campaign nears in Iowa

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom and Jacob Fischler, Georgia Recorder - January 08, 2024
December jobs report: Wages up, hiring steady as job market ends year strong

December jobs report: Wages up, hiring steady as job market ends year strong

By Casey Quinlan - January 05, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
AJ News
Latest
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Key takeaways from Monday’s U.S. Senate Ohio Republican primary debate

Key takeaways from Monday’s U.S. Senate Ohio Republican primary debate

By Nick Evans, Ohio Capital Journal - February 20, 2024
Human, financial costs of gun violence are growing dramatically, health care group says

Human, financial costs of gun violence are growing dramatically, health care group says

By Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal - February 20, 2024
Mark Robinson gun raffle raises campaign finance questions

Mark Robinson gun raffle raises campaign finance questions

By Jesse Valentine - February 16, 2024
Abortion care and transgender health care are ‘parallel struggles’ in 2024 legislation

Abortion care and transgender health care are ‘parallel struggles’ in 2024 legislation

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - February 16, 2024
Ohio Democrats introduce education bills for universal school meals, teacher pay raises

Ohio Democrats introduce education bills for universal school meals, teacher pay raises

By Susan Tebben, Ohio Capital Journal - February 15, 2024
Democrats dominate in getting bills to become laws, with leadership snagging the most wins

Democrats dominate in getting bills to become laws, with leadership snagging the most wins

By Dana DiFilippo, New Jersey Monitor - February 15, 2024