Trump-Russian Investigation Must Examine Possible Obstruction of Justice by the President

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  • David Vance
Statement of Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn

New revelations about President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey demand that the investigation add possible obstruction of justice to the list of potential crimes committed by the President and his staff.

Despite two days of denials by White House staff, President Trump admitted in a television interview that “this Russia thing” was on his mind when he decided to fire the FBI director and that he planned to do so regardless of any recommendations by the Justice Department. In the same interview the President admitted that he repeatedly asked the FBI Director whether he was under investigation, including during what Trump described as a job interview about whether Comey would stay on in his position as head of the FBI, despite the fact he was in only the fourth year of a ten-year term designed specifically to protect the FBI director from being politicized.

These actions and admissions raise serious questions about obstruction of justice by the President. The president has compounded those questions this morning with a tweet suggesting he may have tape recorded at least one meeting with Comey and warning the former FBI director against leaking any details of their conversation to the press. It has also come to light that the FBI director reportedly had requested additional resources for the Russia investigation shortly before his firing, calling into question the timing of Trump’s action. Since Comey’s firing reports suggest the pace of the investigation was accelerating.

Americans need to know what happened and we need to have faith in the security of our elections. The only way we will get honest answers the public can trust is for this investigation to be conducted by an independent commission. Congress continues to prove itself unwilling or unable to get to the truth behind this attack on our nation by a hostile foreign power, and both the President and Attorney General Sessions have meddled in the FBI’s investigation by firing Director Comey. The simple fact that the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee sought to tamp down the significance of the Russian investigation after being asked to do so by the White House calls into question the ability of Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) to conduct a fair and thorough investigation of this very serious attack and the ongoing threat to our future elections and our democracy.