Trump’s Attorney May Have Just Sealed Trump’s Fate Over Whether He Obstructed Justice (DETAILS) | THE POLITICUS

Trump’s Attorney May Have Just Sealed Trump’s Fate Over Whether He Obstructed Justice (DETAILS)

Yesterday, James Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he had given a memo documenting one of his conversations with Trump to a friend to leak to the press, hoping that would lead to the appointment of a special counsel. The memo contained no classified information, executive privilege only applies under certain circumstances, and Comey said that most of those memos were personal records created as a private citizen and not in his capacity as FBI Director. He’s very likely free to do with those memos what he pleases.

So, of course, Trump’s own attorney threw together a confusing statement claiming that Comey was both a liar and had vindicated Trump…and that Comey had admitted to leaking one classified memo to the press. He also accused Comey of giving privileged conversations with Trump to friends. To that end, he has now filed a complaint against Comey along those lines.

The only thing there is to say about that is, really? Well, yes, really. They’re filing a complaint with the Department of Justice’s Inspector General, along with the Senate Judiciary Committee, in the hopes that it will lead to opening an investigation into Comey’s leaking that memo.

Some lawyers are saying that what Comey did is something that’s generally frowned upon, but without classified info, there was nothing illegal about it. Richard Painter, who served as George W. Bush’s ethics lawyer from 2005 to 2007, actually called this complaint “more obstruction of justice” since Comey is now a material witness:

He went on to say:

I don’t see any evidence Comey did anything wrong. He was no longer a government employee…He clearly didn’t commit a crime. There was no classification here… I think it’s obstruction of justice, it’s witness intimidation… He’s trying to intimidate Comey. He’s using his power as president to intimidate a witness.”

Trump himself wrote an angry tweet his morning about Comey’s testimony, too, and who knows how that will play out with either the IG or with Mueller:

According to Dan Abrams at Law Newz, whether Comey’s leak was even unauthorized is unclear. A president can protect certain communications, but that does not apply to covering up alleged misconduct, which is what Comey said happened. He didn’t go so far as to say Trump was covering anything up or that he believed Trump was guilty of obstruction of justice – as he should have, he said it’s up to Mueller to make that decision.

There is a possibility that Trump and Kasowitz could get the DOJ and Senate Judiciary Committee to investigate the release of that memo under a federal statute that says “it’s a crime to sell or convey any record voucher, money, or thing of value of the United States or of any department or agency thereof, or any property made or being made under contract for the United States or any department or agency thereof.” However, Comey was clear that he considered most of his memos to be his personal records as a private citizen, and he didn’t create them in his capacity as a government official.

That will be difficult to determine, especially if the unclassified memos were created on a private device and not on government time. And the Trump team may have a difficult time getting the DOJ and the Senate to do anything at all. Comey is still well-respected and trusted, unlike Trump and his people. So all we can say is good luck with that, Donnie.


Featured image via Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

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