Does Comey Memo Show Trump Broke The Law?

By on May 18, 2017

May 18, 2017

If it is true that President Donald Trump pressured then-FBI director James Comey to drop the bureau’s investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn, that would provide the strongest support yet for a criminal obstruction of justice case against the president, legal analysts say. But, they caution, more would likely be needed to warrant any legal action. Many news sources have reported that Comey wrote a memo detailing a conversation he had with Trump about the investigation into Flynn, in which Trump told Comey, “I hope you can let this go.” “There’s definitely a case to be made for obstruction,” said Barak Cohen, a former federal prosecutor now at Perkins Coie. “But on the other hand you have to realize that – as with any other sort of criminal law – intent is key, and intent here can be difficult to prove.”

The law governing obstruction of justice requires prosecutors to show a person “corruptly” tried to influence an investigation, which requires some evidence of what a person was thinking when they took that action. “It depends on what was said and how he said it,” Edward B. MacMahon Jr., another criminal defense lawyer, told the Washington Post. “I call all the time and ask prosecutors to stop investigations. It just depends on how it’s done.” House Oversight Committee Chariman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sent a letter to the acting director of the FBI, asking that he turn over all records of communication between Comey and Trump, noting that the reports “raise questions as to whether the President attempted to influence or impede the FBI’s investigation.” The White House, in a statement, said, “the President has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end an investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn. … This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey.”

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The Washington Post

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