Friday, June 09, 2017

Just the beginning

At the end of the day, most people will view through their own political prism former FBI Director James Comey's testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

Sure, you can definitively argue that the Trump-Russia collusion angle is dead. Heck, even MSNBC's Chris Matthews acquiesced to that. And for all the caterwauling leftists have done over Trump allegedly obstructing justice by expressing his hopes that Comey would drop the Flynn investigation, they emitted a collective yawn over the revelation that former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch asked Comey to downplay Hillary Clinton's email scandal. 

However, if you think for one second that President Trump is fully vindicated, think again. Matthew Continetti at The Washington Free Beacon lays out a compelling scenario that Trump may still face impeachment down the road

It has to do with this tweet the President sent out three days after Comey's dismissal.

That tweet, Comey told the Senate, prompted the now-private citizen to instruct a friend, Columbia Law professor Daniel Richman, to share with the New York Times the contents of contemporaneous memos he had written describing his interactions with the president. The article, published a week to the day Comey was fired, revealed that the president had asked the FBI director to end the criminal investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Why did Comey have Richman call the Times? Because, he told the Senate, he hoped that the disclosure of the memo would prompt the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russia's involvement in the 2016 election and possible collusion with associates of the president's campaign. That is exactly what happened May 17, the day after the Times piece, when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named as counsel former FBI director Robert Mueller.

And though Comey would not say if he believed President Trump obstructed justice by urging him to "let go" the investigation into Flynn, he did say he was sure that Mueller would investigate whether obstruction of justice had occurred.

Obstruction of justice, of course, being something past congresses have considered a "high crime and misdemeanor" worthy of presidential impeachment.

In other words: By firing Comey and then tweeting recklessly about it, Trump elevated a long-running but manageable problem—the so-called "Russia thing"—into an independent investigation that seriously endangers his presidency.

I have no idea where this is headed, as Trump has seemingly staved off one potential catastrophe after another. But if indeed he is impeached, it would only be appropriate that the proverbial ball got rolling due to something he tweeted.

It's gonna be a long summer.


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