The Many Pieces of Evidence Suggesting Trump Obstructed Justice

by Steven Harper – Firing James Comey wasn’t the only thing Trump did that could bring about an obstruction of justice charge. On Oct. 4, 2017, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) said that all issues relating to the investigation into Russian interference with the election remain open. But with respect to the firing of FBI Director James Comey, the committee had gone as far as it could and was passing the baton: “Future questions surrounding Comey’s firing are better answered by the counsel or by the Justice Department,” Burr said. Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly investigating whether Trump’s interactions with Comey amount to obstruction of justice. The charge can be leveled at anyone, including the president, who attempts to influence, obstruct or impede a federal investigation or a judicial process. Most people assume that Comey’s firing is the linchpin of any obstruction of justice case against Donald Trump. And while it’s certainly...

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‘RussiaGate’ Has Become a Catastrophic Failure of Leadership — and a Debacle From Which the Trump Presidency Will Not Recover

by DOUGLAS BLACKMON – The Trump-Russia scandal has metastasized quickly and destructively. A little more than a week ago, I said on CNN and wrote on Facebook that — based on reporting I’d just completed in Washington DC — it was clear that the controversy surrounding Russian contacts with advisers to President Donald J. Trump and his campaign team was about to become much more serious and much more directly focused on the president himself, and would have deeply troubling consequences for our democracy. The revelations since then have confirmed all of that, and will be remembered as the point when an extraordinary but perhaps still manageable political embarrassment for the Trump administration mushroomed into the most serious controversy to engulf a presidency since Watergate. Based on what we know already, and new revelations that will soon illuminate more key events in this sequence, our country faces a dramatic constitutional exigency....

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Important New Ryan Lizza Piece on Sally Yates

by teacherken – just up at the website of The New Yorker, where it will appear in the May 29th issue.  It is titled Why Sally Yates Stood Up to Trump and has the subtitled “The former acting Attorney General reflects on the F.B.I., Michael Flynn, and how the President ended her career at the Justice Department..” It is the result of the first interview Yates has given since she was fired by the President.  Lizza conducted his interview of Yates the day after FBI Director James Comey was fired. There will be a lot of background about Yates — she is an impressive person. It is a well-written article, one that you should read. Let me offer a few selections to whet your appetites. Here’s the opening paragraph: It is hard to locate when President Trump first declared war on the government establishment, but the story may well begin on...

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In a Time of Madness, Sally Yates Is a Profile in Courage

by MICHAEL WINSHIP – The fired acting attorney general proved this week that there are still a few in Washington who believe in truth and the law. Let us now praise a class act. Amidst the turmoil of another chaotic week in Trump world, the Comey firing and a pandemic of Washington spinelessness, there was a certain righteous symmetry that occurred Sunday night and Monday afternoon. On Sunday, former President Barack Obama received the 2017 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award from the Kennedy Presidential Library Foundation. In his acceptance speech, Obama reflected on those public servants who, in the face of opposition, hold onto their principles and somehow keep alive their resolve, he said: “… To maintain a reputation for integrity that is stronger than a desire to maintain office, a conscience, personal standard of ethics, integrity, morality that is stronger than the pressures of public disapproval or party...

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Sally Yates was Brilliant, Admirable, and Honest—but Will it Make a Difference

by Mark Sumner – After having originally being scheduled to speak in March, before Devin Nunes led the House Intelligence Committee down in flames, Sally Yates finally got the chance to appear before the public in a Senate hearing on Tuesday afternoon. Yates delivered a level of calm precision usually limited to surgical instruments as she laid out, step by step, the warnings she delivered to White House counsel Don McGahn concerning Michael Flynn. With Democrats providing on-topic questions, it became obvious that far from the casual “heads up” on the matter that the Trump regime had indicated, Yates and the Justice Department had provided a thorough and extensive briefing both on then National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s activities regarding Russia and the conflict between what Flynn had actually done and what was being said in public. In fact, the biggest actual news delivered during the testimony was the extent of Yates’...

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Flynn Never Received Level of Security Clearance Required for National Security Adviser

by Mark Sumner – In today’s press conference, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer addressed the issue of President Obama providing a timely warning to Donald Trump against hiring Michael Flynn. Spicer denied knowing the details of the discussion, but repeatedly put it off as President Obama making it clear he “wasn’t exactly a fan of General Flynn.” Spicer defended Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, saying that President Obama’s reason for warning Trump against Flynn was because he was “outspoken about Obama’s lack of strategy” on ISIS. And Spicer retreated frequently to the standard position of the Trump regime over the last week: It’s Obama’s fault for giving Flynn a high level of security clearance, a level that Spicer insisted was equal to that Flynn would require as NSA, saying that the DNI and NSA had the same level of clearance. Except that’s not true. Peter Alexander ✔@PeterAlexander NEW: Flynn never received broader security...

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Jeff Sessions Once Praised Sally Yates for the Trait that got her Fired

by Alan Pyke – Donald Trump’s would-be Attorney General complimented his predecessor for saying she wouldn’t comply with illegal demands. When Sally Yates decided the law does not support President Donald Trump’s travel ban for Muslim-majority countries and instructed Department of Justice officials not to defend it in court, Trump was angry enough to fire her. In the White House statement blasting her for it and announcing her replacement, administration officials also urged the Senate to swiftly confirm Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) as the next Attorney General. But at Yates’ 2015 confirmation hearing, Sessions himself pressed her to agree that the DOJ has a responsibility to resist White House actions that are unlawful. Watch: “Do you think the Attorney General has a responsibility to say no to the president if he asks for something improper?” Sessions asked. “f the views a president wants to execute are unlawful, should the Attorney General or...

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Monday Night Massacre as Trump Fires Acting AG and Replaces ICE Director

by Jon Queally – Calling refusal to enforce Muslim ban a “betrayal,” Republican president fires Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and also replaces Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. And Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) tweeted: Democratic lawmakers were among those quick to condemn President Trump. With a reference to the Saturday Night Massacre that took place during the Watergate scandal under President Richard Nixon, the hashtag #MondayNightMassacre came alive on Monday night after President Donald Trump fired acting Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and accused her of “betrayal” for refusing to enforce a controversial immigration order targeting Muslims and refugees. At the same time, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) John Kelly, announced in a statement that Daniel Ragsdale, the acting director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), was being replaced  by Thomas D. Homan. Less than an hour after the ACLU congratulated Yates on Monday...

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