Sunday, 09 December, 2018

Special counsel probing Trump for possible obstruction

Francis Olson | 15 June, 2017, 21:42

"It's my judgment that I was sacked because of the Russian Federation investigation", Comey said.

"Senator, I'm not going to follow any orders unless I believe those are lawful and appropriate orders", Rosenstein answered.

News that Mueller was investigating Trump came the same day as the revelation that the Senate Judiciary Committee was opening an investigation into Comey's firing.

The White House has moved to put a lid on speculation that President Donald Trump might fire the special counsel investigating the Russian Federation affair, while leaving just enough of a crack to keep the idea bubbling.

"When I chose to just do it, I said to myself, I said "You know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made up story, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should've won", Mr Trump told NBC.

"I am not at liberty to talk about that now, and the reason for that is that if it is within the scope of Director Mueller's investigation. we don't want people talking publicly about open investigations", he said.

Looking into whether Trump obstructed justice means that Mueller is also examining the circumstances surrounding Comey's firing, which was obviously not part of the original federal probe led by Comey when he still had a job as FBI director.

Using vague legal justification, Sessions shut down potentially important lines of investigative questioning - and that may be exactly how the White House wants it.

Do I wish the president would conform a little to the traditions most Americans expect of a White House occupant? I do.

Louisville, Pitino could lose NCAA title over stripper parties
Stay with WLKY and WLKY.com throughout the day for the latest updates on the decision. The panel also had harsh comments about McGee's actions in its decision.

SHAPIRO: Is it your understanding that the dismissal of FBI Director Comey could have been what triggered this expansion of the investigation into possible obstruction of justice?

Laurie Levenson, another former Department of Justice official, said she was unfamiliar with the policy, saying, "There has to be follow-up by Congress". The FBI did not immediately respond.

When asked whether this DOJ custom had a written source, a DOJ official pointed CNN to two 1982 memoranda.

BARRETT: It's probably a lesser understood part of this set of investigations that as they look at various people who were associates of the president both as president and when he was a candidate, they have also been looking at the finances of those folks. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., questions Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 13, 2017. "I don't know, Sen. I felt I was required to under the rules of the Department of Justice". When Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., asked about Sessions' recollection of meetings with Russian officials or businessmen, he complained, "I'm not to be able to be rushed this fast". They wanted a "fresh start", Sessions said. Sessions told the committee he is protecting Trump's right to later on assert executive privilege "if he chooses".

"I don't think it's for me to say whether the conversation I had with the President was an effort to obstruct", Comey said.

The tactic - combined with the earlier testimony of high-ranking Trump administration officials, who also deemed it inappropriate to divulge conversations with the president - may have given a roadmap for the White House to keep its secrets without the public-relations blowback of invoking executive privilege.

The committee can hold Sessions in contempt when he doesn't answer questions - but that could elongate the testimony and could potentially take months.

Comey testified that initial explanations that he was sacked because of poor leadership were "lies, plain and simple". "That's much more of a gray area".

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