Check the "Tapes" - Trump May Have Committed Obstruction of Justice


Everybody knows that Donald Trump can't keep his mouth shut.

But has gift for gab now opened the door to impeachment?.

The Donald Trump-James Comey story just keeps getting weirder.

After the New York Times reported that Trump demanded loyalty from Comey during a January dinner and Comey refused, the president appeared to threaten the former FBI director in a tweet:

"James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"

The White House - of course - is denying that this was a threat, but denials are pretty much all they've got at this point.

Trump might have already set himself up for impeachment - just by opening his mouth.

So Donald Trump may or may not have "tapes" of his conversation with Jim Comey.

But he almost certainly admitted to obstruction of justice during his interview with NBC. Check it out:

"Regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey... Knowing, there was no good time to do it. And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won."

How is this not obstruction of justice?

Comments

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 14 weeks 3 hours ago
#1

Knowingly and with intent!

Trump has been used as a disposable conduit for evangelical religious nutjob efforts to introduce religion into politics in contravention of the Consitution

Pence is their man

Likely pres 46 quite soon

Outback 14 weeks 3 hours ago
#2

Clearly Trump fired Comey because he was pressing forward with the Russian connection. The thing that baffles me is the part of his statement that ends ".... it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won." An election Hillary should have won? I wonder what kind of Freudian significance this could have, if not an admission that someone had their thumb on the scale.

Ou812's picture
Ou812 14 weeks 2 hours ago
#3

President Trump Did Not Obstruct Justice

By Alan Dershowitz

A dangerous argument is now being put forward by some Democratic ideologues. Namely that President Trump should be indicted for the crime of obstructing justice because he fired FBI Director James Comey.

Whatever one may think of the president’s decision to fire Comey as a matter of policy, there is no legitimate basis for concluding that the president engaged in a crime by exercising his statutory and constitutional authority to fire director Comey. As Comey himself wrote in his letter to the FBI, no one should doubt the authority of the president to fire the Director for any reason or no reason.

It should not be a crime for a public official, whether the president or anyone else, to exercise his or her statutory and constitutional authority to hire or fire another public official. For something to be a crime there must be both an actus reus and mens rea — that is, a criminal act accompanied by a criminal state of mind.

Even assuming that President Trump was improperly motivated in firing Comey, motive alone should never constitute a crime. There should have to be an unlawful act. And exercising constitutional and statutory power should not constitute the actus reus of a crime. Otherwise the crime would place the defendant’s thoughts on trial, rather than his actions.

Civil libertarians, and all who care about due process and justice, should be concerned about the broad scope of the statute that criminalizes "obstruction of justice." Some courts have wrongly interpreted this accordion-like law so broadly as to encompass a mixture of lawful and unlawful acts. It is dangerous and wrong to criminalize lawful behavior because it may have been motivated by evil thoughts.

People who care about the rule of law, regardless of how they feel about President Trump, should not be advocating a broadening of obstruction of justice to include the lawful presidential act of firing the FBI Director.

Such an open ended precedent could be used in the future to curtail the liberties of all Americans. So let’s put this nonsense behind us and not criminalize policy differences, as extremists in both parties have tried to do.

Both Republican and Democratic partisans often resort to criminal law as a way of demonizing their political enemies. "Lock her up," was the cry of Republican partisans against Hillary Clinton regarding her misuse of her email server. Now "obstruction of justice" is the "lock him up" cry of partisan Democrats who disagree with President Trump’s decision to fire Comey.

I opposed the criminalization of policy differences when former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Congressman Tom Delay and Sen. Bob Menendez were indicted; and I strongly oppose the investigation now being conducted against Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Criminal law should be used as the last resort against elected officials, not as the opening salvo in a political knife-fight. There is no place in a democracy for elastic statutes that can be stretched to fit lawful conduct with which political opponents disagree. If they are allowed to be stretched today to cover your political enemies, they could be stretched tomorrow to go after your political friends.

The debate over the proprietary of the president’s actions, about which I have opined repeatedly, should continue. But let’s take the allegations of criminal obstruction of justice out of this important debate. There is more than enough fodder for a debate over the merits and demerits of the president’s actions without muddying the waters with politically motivated charges of criminality.

Partisanship seems to have no limits these days. Both parties are equally at fault, as are extremists among the public and within the media. It is getting harder and harder to have a nuanced debate about complex political issues. Everything is either evil or good. Nothing has elements of both.

Actions either deserve criminal indictment or the Nobel Prize. Nobody benefits from this kind of ideological shouting match. So let’s agree to disagree about important issues, but let’s not distort the debate with extremist slogans like "lock her up" or "obstruction of justice." We are better than that.

This article was updated by Professor Dershowitz, at his request.

ErinRose's picture
ErinRose 14 weeks 2 hours ago
#4

I don't think Trump is going to be impeached. Impeached by whom? I don't think there is that much integrity in the whole system put together. I think the Don ald will wander on until the term ends, will probably be re-elected, and it all will go on for another four years. What is wrong in this country has as much to do with the inertia of the people as it does with miscreant politicians and administrators.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 14 weeks 2 hours ago
#5

On Wednesday Hillary Clinton revealed highly classified information to Putin's messengers. Crooked Hillary only allowed Russian Press into the oval office during this meeting. All this right after she fired Comey for looking into her collusion with Putin regarding the hacking of RNC emails and interfering in the election for the purpose of defeating Trump.

If you voted for Trump because of Benghazi and Clinton's email server and you still feel fine about voting for crooked Donny....not only are you a world class hypocrite, you're also a god damn fool.

This country is headed for a disaster of epic proportions....better put your money in a safe place asap.

randolphgarrison1@gmail.com's picture
randolphgarriso... 14 weeks 1 hour ago
#6

1 or 1000 tapes will make no difference.

There will be no impeachment while the republicans have total control.

The only way we will get the fascist trump out of office and stop his destruction of America is a bloody revolution complete with guillotines. It worked before in France.

There are groups organizing to cause the revolution to become a reality, soon it hope.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 14 weeks 1 hour ago
#7

Nixon made it into his second term before his Republican dishonesty, corruption, and evil finally caught up to him. Ford, the stumblebum VP-cum-accidental-president, failed to make it to his first term because he pardoned the "I'm-not-a-crook" crook. Reagan somehow managed to wander aimlessly into his fifth year before his Republican dishonesty, corruption, evil, and advancing Alzheimer's finally sidelined him to the daycare center in the West Wing, while Pappy Bush tried to keep all the cracked plates spinning -- a weak, mealymouthed, Republican warmonger who, deservedly, only made it through his one term. Darth Cheney and his sidekick, Dubya, made it through two of their terms, tragically -- ruining the economy and militarizing diplomacy -- but not before their Republican dishonesty, corruption, and evil destroyed any vestigial image of America as a force of good in the world.

His "Greatness," Trump the Half Orangutan, couldn't even make it through his first winter before his shameless dishonesty, extensive corruption, pure evil, plain stupidity, childish pettiness, pathological narcissism, megalomaniacal authoritarianism, profound paranoia, and likely dementia (a partial list) have become shockingly apparent to all but a rapidly shrinking Devil's choir of fevered believers (who, if anyone, should've been purged from the rolls on grounds of howling lunacy).

The big question: How long -- this time! -- will the Republican Party allow their latest dishonest, courupt, evil catastrophe continue before he further erodes what little remains of our fake democracy?

ErinRose's picture
ErinRose 14 weeks 1 hour ago
#8

RE: (#Ou812): Dershowitz is making the point that the POTUS has the *right* to fire anybody he wants to but is not addressing whether or not there is substantive reason for that fire or a preemptive strike of concealment to avoid being outed for engaging in illegal acts. Dershowitz is setting up a strawman argument.

Dershowitz says that there "is no legitimate basis for concluding that the president engaged in a crime by exercising his ..." Well, that remains to be seen and thus the reason for an investigation. The act of firing becomes an illegal act when improperly motivated.

We can only judge the Presidents mens rea (mental state) in the light of whether or not he had in fact engaged in illegal acts and to what extent those acts were illegal. if the official doing the firing has not been involved in anything untoward, he should welcome an investigation that would only return exculpatory evidence; not turn on an investigator and fire them. Should anyone be allowed to have a police detective fired for investigating suspicious and potential criminal behavior? Isn't that what "investigations" are for; to make determinations?

(1) "For something to be a crime there must be both an actus reus and mens rea — that is, a criminal act accompanied by a criminal state of mind."

(2) "Even assuming that President Trump was improperly motivated in firing Comey, motive alone should never constitute a crime. There should have to be an unlawful act. And exercising constitutional and statutory power should not constitute the actus reus of a crime. Otherwise the crime would place the defendant’s thoughts on trial, rather than his actions."

Here we have the definition of a crime; it has to have intent and an actual act. Then the author turns around and bifurcates this definition, isolating the mens rea and saying that we should not put thoughts on trial. While we all agree that we don't want to be putting thoughts without acts on trial, by bifurcating the definition, the author has changed the overall context and definition. Both parts must be present to prosecute; actus reus and mens rea. If we remove the motivation part of things saying we don't want to put thoughts on trial, then we remove intent. In the instance of defendant A being involved in the death of victim B, the court would want to know if the death was an accident (manslaughter) or intentional (homicide). Again, Dershowitz is playing with our minds as he engages in "rally 'round the president".

"Criminal law should be used as the last resort against elected officials, ..." Is he kidding? Oh, let us provide sanctioned cover for elected officials for any sick thing they want to be involved in or any act of self preservation in the light of improper or illegal acts.

"There is no place in a democracy for elastic statutes that can be stretched to fit lawful conduct with which political opponents disagree." This should read: There is no place in a democracy for elastic statutes that can be stretched to fit UNLAWFUL conduct with which a political political opponents disagree. Question: Is/was Comey a "political opponent"?

I could go on, but what's the point? I used to think Dershowitz was a brilliant mind once upon a time, but he has sold out to the NWO state and is now one of these people attacking the law and making it useless and nonsensical. Very disappointing.

ErinRose's picture
ErinRose 14 weeks 1 hour ago
#9

RE: (#Ou812): Dershowitz is making the point that the POTUS has the *right* to fire anybody he wants to but is not addressing whether or not there is substantive reason for that fire or a preemptive strike of concealment to avoid being outed for engaging in illegal acts. Dershowitz is setting up a strawman argument.

Dershowitz says that there "is no legitimate basis for concluding that the president engaged in a crime by exercising his ..." Well, that remains to be seen and thus the reason for an investigation. The act of firing becomes an illegal act when improperly motivated.

We can only judge the Presidents mens rea (mental state) in the light of whether or not he had in fact engaged in illegal acts and to what extent those acts were illegal. if the official doing the firing has not been involved in anything untoward, he should welcome an investigation that would only return exculpatory evidence; not turn on an investigator and fire them. Should anyone be allowed to have a police detective fired for investigating suspicious and potential criminal behavior? Isn't that what "investigations" are for; to make determinations?

(1) "For something to be a crime there must be both an actus reus and mens rea — that is, a criminal act accompanied by a criminal state of mind."

(2) "Even assuming that President Trump was improperly motivated in firing Comey, motive alone should never constitute a crime. There should have to be an unlawful act. And exercising constitutional and statutory power should not constitute the actus reus of a crime. Otherwise the crime would place the defendant’s thoughts on trial, rather than his actions."

Here we have the definition of a crime; it has to have intent and an actual act. Then the author turns around and bifurcates this definition, isolating the mens rea and saying that we should not put thoughts on trial. While we all agree that we don't want to be putting thoughts without acts on trial, by bifurcating the definition, the author has changed the overall context and definition. Both parts must be present to prosecute; actus reus and mens rea. If we remove the motivation part of things saying we don't want to put thoughts on trial, then we remove intent. In the instance of defendant A being involved in the death of victim B, the court would want to know if the death was an accident (manslaughter) or intentional (homicide). Again, Dershowitz is playing with our minds as he engages in "rally 'round the president".

"Criminal law should be used as the last resort against elected officials, ..." Is he kidding? Oh, let us provide sanctioned cover for elected officials for any sick thing they want to be involved in or any act of self preservation in the light of improper or illegal acts.

"There is no place in a democracy for elastic statutes that can be stretched to fit lawful conduct with which political opponents disagree." This should read: There is no place in a democracy for elastic statutes that can be stretched to fit UNLAWFUL conduct with which a political political opponents disagree. Question: Is/was Comey a "political opponent"?

I could go on, but what's the point? I used to think Dershowitz was a brilliant mind once upon a time, but he has sold out to the NWO state and is now one of these people attacking the law and making it useless and nonsensical. Very disappointing.

Ou812's picture
Ou812 14 weeks 1 hour ago
#10

ErinRose,

Stick to nursing, I certainly wouldn't call you for legal advice:(

deepspace's picture
deepspace 14 weeks 1 hour ago
#11

ErinRose,

The site timed out, but when you resubmit it sometimes records twice. Same thing just happened to me, so I just erased the second one and posted this one in it's place.

Haha, yours was a great post though -- worthy of a second reading!

Outback 14 weeks 52 min ago
#12

All Latin aside, would it be specious to assert that Dolald Trump has "the means, the motive and the opportunity" to squelch an official investigation into his potential cooperation with a foreign entity in determining the outcome of this past election in the face of mounting evidence (albeit circumstantial at this point) that he in fact did? And given the grave consequences, should we simply just blow it off? I don't think so.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 14 weeks 41 min ago
#13

Nixon also wanted everyone to blow off his high crimes and misdemeanors. Too bad the American audience loves a juicy scandal (probably more than they love saving democracy). Republicans are between a rock and a hard place of their own making: impeach and piss off their base; not impeach and piss off everyone else. Stay tuned...

Outback 14 weeks 29 min ago
#14

Hey deepspace, we probably don't have an option ;-)

bollivar 14 weeks 17 min ago
#15

You need to go back to law school:

Obstruction of justice
Obstruction of justice is defined in the omnibus clause of 18 U.S.C. § 1503, which provides that "whoever . . . . corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice, shall be (guilty of an offense)." Persons are charged under this statute based on allegations that a defendant intended to intefere with an official proceeding, by doing things such as destroying evidence, or intefering with the duties of jurors or court officers.

A person obstructs justice when they have a specific intent to obstruct or interfere with a judicial proceeding. For a person to be convicted of obstructing justice, they must not only have the specific intent to obstruct the proceeding, but the person must know (1) that a proceeding was actually pending at the time; and (2) there must be a nexus between the defendant’s endeavor to obstruct justice and the proceeding, and the defendant must have knowledge of this nexus.

§ 1503 applies only to federal judicial proceedings. Under § 1505, however, a defendant can be convicted of obstruction of justice by obstructing a pending proceeding before Congress or a federal agency. A pending proceeding could include an informal investigation by an executive agency.

bollivar 14 weeks 16 min ago
#16

Obstruction of justice
Obstruction of justice is defined in the omnibus clause of 18 U.S.C. § 1503, which provides that "whoever . . . . corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice, shall be (guilty of an offense)." Persons are charged under this statute based on allegations that a defendant intended to intefere with an official proceeding, by doing things such as destroying evidence, or intefering with the duties of jurors or court officers.

A person obstructs justice when they have a specific intent to obstruct or interfere with a judicial proceeding. For a person to be convicted of obstructing justice, they must not only have the specific intent to obstruct the proceeding, but the person must know (1) that a proceeding was actually pending at the time; and (2) there must be a nexus between the defendant’s endeavor to obstruct justice and the proceeding, and the defendant must have knowledge of this nexus.

§ 1503 applies only to federal judicial proceedings. Under § 1505, however, a defendant can be convicted of obstruction of justice by obstructing a pending proceeding before Congress or a federal agency. A pending proceeding could include an informal investigation by an executive agency.

wex:

bollivar 14 weeks 14 min ago
#17

Obstruction of justice

Obstruction of justice is defined in the omnibus clause of 18 U.S.C. § 1503, which provides that "whoever . . . . corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice, shall be (guilty of an offense)." Persons are charged under this statute based on allegations that a defendant intended to intefere with an official proceeding, by doing things such as destroying evidence, or intefering with the duties of jurors or court officers.

A person obstructs justice when they have a specific intent to obstruct or interfere with a judicial proceeding. For a person to be convicted of obstructing justice, they must not only have the specific intent to obstruct the proceeding, but the person must know (1) that a proceeding was actually pending at the time; and (2) there must be a nexus between the defendant’s endeavor to obstruct justice and the proceeding, and the defendant must have knowledge of this nexus.

§ 1503 applies only to federal judicial proceedings. Under § 1505, however, a defendant can be convicted of obstruction of justice by obstructing a pending proceeding before Congress or a federal agency. A pending proceeding could include an informal investigation by an executive agency.

wex:

Outback 14 weeks 8 min ago
#18

Enter the "so called" tapes....

deepspace's picture
deepspace 13 weeks 6 days ago
#19

There sure are a lot of lawyers speaking legalese nowadays in the news cycle -- which is a good thing, I suppose, since no one is above the law, especially the crap-flinging twitter monkey who can barely speak fourth-grade grammar.

Even though our government is a constitutionally-limited, representative, democratic republic by definition, all the right-wing ideologues love to preach that we are a "republic" (because it sounds so "Republican") as opposed to a "democracy" (which sounds way too much like "DemocRAT"). Well, guess what, little trolls: a republic means rule of law. Damn, that really sucks for your fake president!

I can't remember the legal scholar or the interview, but he sliced through all the eye-glazing legalese and described in simple terms the main problem facing this reality-show administration: Never in the entire history of case law -- not once -- did anyone try to cover up their past actions without a crime having been committed.

So what is it, Donnie pouty-face? Come clean for once in your worthless life before you meet your maker. (Ever notice how puffy-looking he's getting lately? Not a good sign ...for him, anyway.)

DFMM's picture
DFMM 13 weeks 6 days ago
#20

No surprise Trump divulged.
That Trump would inappropriately divulge sensitive information --- whether showing off how much he knew, or bragging about how great a military is at his disposal; should have come as no surprise, Mr. Magoo could have seen that coming a mile away. Remember when Trump publicly gave out Lindsey Graham's phone number during a campaign event and Graham had to change his number? That among many other things; spoke volumes about how immature, insecure, and lacking in judgment and temperament Trump is. And it tells you how broken the system is that somebody who otherwise wouldn't be approved for a low-level security clearance; could be elected to a position where they are privy to some of the nation's most sensitive information.

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 13 weeks 6 days ago
#21

And while you leftie/socialists are massaging all this fake daily engineered drama and allowing the acid to roil in your stomach, President Trump is undoing Obama's executive orders, nominating federal judges, and refining the list to replace Ginsburg.

"anonymous sources" help keep media bobbleheads in business. How capitalist.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 13 weeks 6 days ago
#22

Turns out the meeting in the oval office gave up sources in Jordan, communication important in the fight against ISIS. This along with the accusation that North Korea pulled off the global cyber attack with Russia being a major target are both intended to create unifying sentiment with Russian and thus a justification for sanctions being lifted for Exxon and Tillerson.

Looks like Putin's option of throwing Assad under the bus for a sanction lifting deal has been moved down the list. Putin's buddy Assad is using a crematorium to dispose of tens of thousands of innocent civilians, and Trump is owned by and idolizes Putin. The land of the free is in big trouble...to put it mildly.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 13 weeks 6 days ago
#23

Another day, another treasonous act...

With respect to your post #5, can you imagine the over-the-top hysteria generated by Fux News, Breitfart, Info Lies, InsaHannity, Limpballs, Bill O'Sleazy, The Sludge Report, et al., if it was President Hillary who fired the lead investigator into Russian collusion and treachery, and then the very next day met with Putin's spies and divulged highly classified secrets, compromising a key source of intelligence in the fight against ISIS -- at the same time freaking out our allies, who are now reconsidering their agreements to share critical intelligence with the U.S.?

Forget "Lock her up!" It would be "String her up!" Articles of Impeachment would be out of the House and on McTurtle's desk by noon. She'd be convicted and swinging from a tree in the Rose Garden by midnight, with beer-gut Republicans celebrating around a burning cross.

Instead, most of Diane's sources and fellow hypocrites spent the morning studiously ignoring or deflecting Blabber Butt's latest bumble-f**k while focusing on debunked conspiracy theories, like the Seth Rich murder and Hillary's email, "fake daily engineered drama."

Another day in Medieval Amerikkka...

Legend 13 weeks 6 days ago
#24

It seems that the great negotitator cannot negotiate. China gave him a 10 minute talk and his whole opinion changed. So now we can export beef to China. If this is at all sucessful prices will rise here. They did the same with Taiwan several years ago. Taiwanese wanted nothing to do with our Hormone drugged beef. Russia would love to build a gas pipeline to South Korea. A huge potential market since South Korea has no gas or oil and imports at great cost. Has to go through North Korea, a boom for their fragile economy. Work it out. Negotiate. Syria, negotiate.

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 13 weeks 6 days ago
#25

Now that todays fake engineered drama from the Washington Post has been debunked, can we calm down for an hour or two while we await tomorrows BS.

Feelin stupid yet?

deepspace's picture
deepspace 13 weeks 6 days ago
#26

Wrong ...again. Simply stunning! A textbook case of the pot calling the kettle black!

The only fake news debunked is the "stupid" drooling out of your lie hole. Long sigh, face palm, head shake ...alas, you are forgiven. Living in a constant state of denial and endlessly repeating yourself are sure signs of advancing senility. FYI: Medicare subsidizes support groups that can help you cope.

https://www.vox.com/world/2017/5/16/15646762/trump-russia-classified-information-explainer

https://www.lawfareblog.com/bombshell-initial-thoughts-washington-posts-game-changing-story

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/16/world/middleeast/israel-trump-classified-intelligence-russia.html?_r=0

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/05/why_we_should_believe_anonymous_sources_over_h_r_mcmaster.html

ErinRose's picture
ErinRose 12 weeks 4 days ago
#27

#OU812: Condemnation without investigation is the truest form of ignorance.

-- Einstein

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