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Weeks after taking office, President Trump reportedly called former FBI Director James Comey to ask when federal authorities would publicly state that he wasn’t under investigation, according to yet another Comey bomb dropped by Mike Schmidt in theNew York Times.
The day after the dinner during which Trump reportedly asked Comey to pledge his loyalty and asked Comey to drop the investigation into Mike Flynn, Reince Priebus also asked Comey to help push back on reports that Trump’s associates had been in contact with Russian officials during the campaign according to Schmidt’s source.
“The day after the Flynn conversation, Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, asked Mr. Comey to help push back on reports in the news media that Mr. Trump’s associates had been in contact with Russian intelligence officials during the campaign.”
This isn’t just about Donald Trump anymore. This raises questions about what the RNC knew about Russia, and if they were involved given that Reince Priebus is the former RNC Chair.
At the end of March, a report surfaced that the Republican National Committee used a firm with ties to Russian intelligence to dig up dirt on Hillary Clinton.
The RNC used former CIA officers’ firm the Hamilton Trading Group, which has “particular expertise” in Russia, to dig up dirt on Clinton according to a Politico report. Speaker Paul Ryan swore to secrecy the Republicans involved in a conversation that involved the House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy saying that Putin pays Trump.
The reticence on the part of Republican leadership to take any action to protect the U.S. makes more sense given this context.
Donald Trump and Reince Priebus both asked the FBI Director to publicly state that Trump was no longer under investigation. If there was any doubt about smoking guns of obstruction of justice, this should clear that up.
Trump has denied pressuring Comey and indeed denied colluding with Russia, although notable Trump refused to say today that his campaign didn’t collude with Russia.
Lawfare blog editor in chief Benjamin Wittes confirmed to Schmidt that Comey had described his struggles to set boundaries with the Trump administration, and thought he had finally taught Trump the proper procedure for contact about investigations between the FBI and the White House, which are set by the DOJ.
FBI notes such as Comey kept are given credence and used as evidence. Schmidt wrote on the 16th, and Merriam-Webster dictionary is already using as an example of contemporaneous, “An F.B.I. agent’s contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations.”
The Comey memos will need to be authenticated, but if they are and they say what these reports indicate, the Trump White House is in deep, deep trouble and it seems to be spreading. There are more memos.
This really is a Comey bomb, because obstruction of justice is a felony.