Special Counsel Investigating Donald Trump For Possible Obstruction Of Justice

Posted June 16, 2017

That report makes clear that three senior intelligence officers - Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers and and former NSA deputy director Richard Ledgett - are being interviewed this week by special counsel Bob Mueller as he looks into whether Trump obstructed justice in the Russian Federation case. The move suggests he is examining whether the president sought their help in trying to get James Comey, the former FBI director, to end an investigation into Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser.

The attorney general seemed to understand the import of each of his words as the highest-ranking Trump administration official so far to testify publicly on the FBI investigation and Comey's firing. It did, on May 17.

Robert Mueller's investigation is looking into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, and is also looking into financial crimes among Trump associates, the Post wrote, citing five unnamed intelligence officials.

Trump wasn't under investigation personally prior to Comey's firing on May 9.

As for Comey's firing, Sessions told senators that his recommendation had nothing to do with the Russian Federation probe, that he and his second-in-command, Rosenstein, had a "clear view. that we had problems there, and it was my best judgment that a fresh start at the Federal Bureau of Investigation was the appropriate thing to do".

Trump was, as we've been told by Comey and by leakers inside the White House, enraged by Democratic efforts to delegitimize his victory with their talk of Russian collusion.

Sessions added that since his recusal, "I have no knowledge about this investigation" beyond media reports. Dianne Feinstein (D- CA). The appearance before the Senate intelligence committee gave Sessions a chance to defend himself, but offered little new insight. There are many questions as to whether this even constituted obstruction of justice. Fifty-four percent said it was "inappropriate" for Comey to hand off information to a Columbia University professor, who in turn sent it to The New York Times. It's simple: Democrats are eager to raise the specter of Watergate and the 1973 "Saturday Night Massacre", when President Richard Nixon fired the attorney general and deputy attorney general when they refused to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox.

For example, "it appears he has recruited an experienced Justice Department trial attorney, Lisa Page, a little-known figure outside the halls of Main Justice but one whose resume boasts intriguing hints about where Mueller's Russian Federation investigation might lead". The office of Director of National Intelligence and Ledgett declined to comment. That official argued Trump "shot himself in the foot again with this cockamamie scheme to get Mueller to play ball". Officials say that changed shortly after Comey's firing.

SHAPIRO: And so the question would be, was the dismissal of Comey meant to obstruct the investigation into possible collusion or Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign?

You don't have to believe that the Trump campaign even knew about any of this, much less collaborated with it, to believe that Jeff Sessions acted inappropriately in downplaying his foreign contacts - and that he's acting dishonestly now by refusing to treat his actions with the seriousness they deserve. He did not say he was using executive privilege, but rather adhering to longstanding tradition of Justice Department leaders not revealing private conversations with the president.

Committee members pressed Sessions to answer or to show a legal basis for not answering.

Sessions shot back: "I am not stonewalling". Kamala Harris' clear and pointed questions, "man-terruption", a term used to describe the widespread practice of men interrupting women.

"I appointed him; I stand by that decision, " he said.

For Harris, a Democrat from California, this was the second time in the last week she was shut down by GOP colleagues during her questioning of committee witnesses. Given Republicans' apparent lack of interest in prying the truth out of Sessions, the attorney general may never have to answer for this oversight.

The report also indicates that NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats will sit for interviews with Mueller in the near future.

Trump appeared unbowed by the new revelations. This lawsuit comes on the heels of a similar one filed June 12 by attorneys general of Maryland and of the District of Columbia.

For all of the pious sermons Democrats are spouting about Putin's attempts to subvert American democracy, the hearings telegraphed to the country that they've largely given up on pinning that charge to anyone around Trump.