Published: Thu, June 08, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Comey's compelling case of Trump nearing obstruction of justice

In prepared testimony slated for delivery Thursday before Congress, Comey once again said that Trump had expressed his hope in an Oval Office meeting on February 14 that Comey would end his investigation into Flynn because "he is a good guy and has been through a lot".

Obstruction of justice is a federal crime, though it's an open question whether a sitting president can be prosecuted. It does not matter whether the person succeeds in impeding an investigation. As he was speaking, the Senate Intelligence committee released the prepared testimony Comey is expected to deliver Thursday.

"There's nothing in [the prepared Comey testimony] that's really new, that we didn't know from media reports", Issac Boltansky of political analysis firm Compass Point told Business Insider.

Comey does not detail every conversation he and Trump had - why not, and what did he omit from his statement?

"I need loyalty, I expect loyalty", Trump told Comey at a January 27 dinner, according to the testimony.

Trump says he fired Flynn for misleading the vice president about his contact with the Russians but nonetheless calls Flynn a "good guy" and urges Comey to "let this go".

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His mission was to downplay Trump's transparent attempt to have Comey drop at least part of his investigation into his campaign's alleged ties to Russian Federation. Trump and the Kremlin have separately denied any collusion.

Trump called Comey a "showboat" and "grandstander" in an interview with NBC News on May 11, saying that he would have fired Comey regardless of Rosenstein's recommendation.

"That will be an interesting thing to watch on Thursday, if (Comey) has the view that he can talk about specific things and can't talk about exactly similar things he doesn't want to talk about", Blunt said.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.), also on the committee, said it would be "inappropriate" for Trump to ask for a pledge of loyalty from an Federal Bureau of Investigation director, and said that "this is an issue we need to learn more about". Comey confirmed that in his statement, but he said they hadn't made that public because "it would create a duty to correct, should that change".

"Despite this sparseness", he wrote, "or maybe I should say because of it, it is the most shocking single document compiled about the official conduct of the public duties of any president since the release of the Watergate tapes". He stood against the curtains, hoping Trump wouldn't notice him.

Mr Trump's personal lawyer said the president was cheered by the testimony. "I hope you can let this go".

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While the legal and political implications of the testimony for Trump remain unclear, policy analysts say the event - which has been likened to the Super Bowl - will only hurt Trump's legislative agenda going forward. Those meetings broke precedent with past administrations, during which FBI Directors tended to keep distance as a show of independence. "I replied that he should give that careful thought because it might create a narrative that we were investigating him personally, which we weren't, and because it was very hard to prove a negative".

Earlier Wednesday, Trump announced that he planned to nominate Christopher Wray, a former Justice Department official, as Comey's successor.

There are multiple investigations looking into how Russian intelligence may have interfered with the 2016 presidential election.

'They elected an outsider president, ' said Christie, who was a Trump surrogate during the campaign and briefly chaired his transition organization after the November election.

Yes, but the circumstances around the firing raised concerns with lawmakers, even some of Trump's fellow Republicans.

"It's certainly very possible that this is evidence, in combination with other actions by the president, that could amount to obstruction".

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