November 19 2017

Fractious House panel at center of latest Trump probes

November 19 2017, 06:46 | Clarence Walton

Gen McMaster and Mr Tillerson were sent out by the White House to rebut the report, insisting that Mr Trump did not "discuss sources, methods or military operations".

Defending Trump's actions, officials played down the importance and secrecy of the information, which had been supplied by Israel under an intelligence-sharing agreement, and Trump himself said he had "an absolute right" as president to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russian Federation. The push to prosecute usually comes from intelligence agencies, with the White House and other institutional actors applying the brakes. "President Trump's instinct to go after the press could well backfire legally".

Lawyers said the president needs his own counsel regardless of whether he is facing potential criminal liability for his responses to the Russian Federation investigation.

The latest rollout of such arguments follow The New York Times' revelation that Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to drop an investigation into Michael Flynn's dealings with Russian Federation and Flynn's lies to top White House officials. The memo's emergence, after Trump fired Comey, had congressional Democrats raising the specter that the president engaged in obstruction of justice, an impeachable offense.

"I hope you can let this go", Trump tells Comey, according to multiple reports.

Former prosecutors and legal academics say they foresee at least three lines of defense for the president.

Interfering with a federal investigation might constitute obstruction of justice and could potentially be invoked in any attempt to impeach Trump.

Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) and Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) also reiterated their calls for someone outside of Congress, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the White House to take the lead. If he did that, I would consider it a borderline abuse (and certainly not obstruction of justice).

"Reports that the President asked the FBI Director to end the investigation are deeply disturbing", Sen. If so, the president may lawfully intervene in federal investigations under certain circumstances. Each of these sections contain somewhat ambiguous language, to afford prosecutors flexibility in bringing an obstruction charge.

Since Trump's inauguration, Chaffetz has pursued an inquiry into Flynn, saying in April that Flynn did not comply with laws concerning the receipt of money from foreign governments.

"As a practical matter, Trump won't get the benefit of privilege if this ever goes to a grand jury", said Wright.

House members from both parties in other states have gone further than Colorado's delegation, openly calling for impeachment proceedings to be opened against the president. Even if he doesn't buy Pozen's warning about a backfire at the bench, Trump has even simpler reasons not to take this tack. Justice Department lawyers under presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton also concluded a president can't be indicted because it would interfere with his constitutionally assigned duties. Yesterday, she refused to comment on the details of allegations against the president.

"That shows the difficulty of having a client who won't listen", Wilkinson said.

But once again, Trump's inexperience, short attention span, cowboy style and recklessness were showing - and this time, he wasn't bashing Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. "The White House has put out a statement very clearly with our account", he said. John Cornyn of Texas, both Republicans; Alice Fisher, the former head of the Justice Department's criminal division; and Michael Garcia, a former USA attorney from Manhattan.

One lawyer proposed that Trump even cross the aisle and hire a Democrat to represent him.

While Rosenstein will be the official decision-maker on the special counsel question, the main driver will have to be a strong bipartisan demand from the Congress fueled by a national outcry to get to the bottom of the Trump-Russia connection. Neither responded to my emails.

For now, Trump seems to be sticking with the approach, accepting the advice of his aides and fighting his instinct to punch back.

Trump has been embroiled in controversy over his firing of Comey, who was leading an FBI investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and the Kremlin.

A Reuters reporter asked White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Wednesday if the president planned to hire his own lawyer.

Other news