Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

While Comey memo could be key, any Trump prosecution tricky


"It is critical that we quickly learn all the facts", Katko, R-Camillus, said in a statement released Wednesday.

The latest allegation suggesting obstruction of justice is the report that in February Trump asked Comey to back away from the probe into his former national security advisor, Michael Flynn. And in firing Comey, Trump claimed the FBI director told him three times he was not under investigation, which could be a sign that they were repeatedly having such conversations, said Daniel Petalas, a defense attorney who formerly worked in the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section.

"The president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn", the White House said in a statement.

In a letter to acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Jason Chaffetz, demanded the bureau turn over "all memoranda, notes, summaries, and recordings referring to or relating to any communications between Comey and the president" by next Wednesday. He is doubting his top advisers, even son-in-law Jared Kushner, who supported firing FBI Director James Comey despite the ongoing Russian Federation investigation.

"He's around and the best evidence of what happened in that meeting would be to call him as a witness", said Barbara McQuade, former USA attorney for the Eastern District of MI. First, as NPR reported, Comey's memo needs to be published in its entirety, so there can be no doubt as to its contents. Obstruction of justice charges often come down to whether prosecutors can show a person "corruptly" meant to interfere with an investigation.

They also want White House counsel Donald McGahn to hand over any recordings tied to "the FBI's investigation of alleged ties between President Trump's associates and Russian Federation, or the Clinton email investigation, including all audio recordings, transcripts, notes, summaries, and memoranda". On Tuesday the outlet said the staffer revised his comment to: "I guess I was wrong about the timing..."

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Since they are dealing with criminals, however, there is no reason to expect an honest transaction. Even if you pay the ransom requested, there's no guarantee that you'll get all of your data back.

The core problem here is that the President does not appear to comprehend that what happens within the government is subject to outside investigation and intense scrutiny.

Even without resorting to the force of a congressional subpoena, the committee already has turned up key documents and prodded federal agencies into action in the months since Cummings first asked incoming Vice President Mike Pence for information about Flynn's possible conflicts of interest last November, soon after Trump won the presidential election. He ominously called the Comey memo, "the greatest danger of his life". The reason, the President implied, was that Comey wouldn't end his investigation into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation - allegations the President insists were untrue.

"You have to put your head down and fight, fight, fight", he said.

Cummings said Mueller was a "solid choice" and urged Mueller "to follow the facts wherever they may lead, with integrity and independence". It has a lot to do with intent, with the context in which things are said and perhaps, the most important word in the statute: "'corruptly, '" he wrote.

"When I chose to just do it, I said to myself, I said, 'You know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made-up story, '" Trump said in an interview with NBC. But the central question remains: Did Trump actually make the request to Comey? It's a version of events that the White House denies.

Two Democrats in the House of Representatives, Maxine Waters and Al Green, have called for articles of impeachment to be drawn up, but most lawmakers are holding fire, fearing it could transform the process into a purely partisan exercise.

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