Se­nate build­ing ob­struc­tion of jus­tice case against Trump: Fe­in­stein

Tehran Times - - WORLD IN FOCUS -

A United States Se­nate in­ves­ti­ga­tion into con­nec­tions be­tween Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and Rus­sia warns that it is con­sid­er­ing a case of ob­struc­tion of jus­tice against the U.S. pres­i­dent.

“What we’re be­gin­ning to see is the putting to­gether of a case of ob­struc­tion of jus­tice,” Sen­a­tor Dianne Fe­in­stein, the top Demo­crat on the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, said Sun­day on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“I think we see this in the in­dict­ments, the four in­dict­ments and pleas that have just taken place and some of the com­ments that are be­ing made,” Fe­in­stein said, ex­plain­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of ob­struc­tion charges.

Trump tweeted on Satur­day that he fired Michael Flynn as na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser in Fe­bru­ary “be­cause he lied to the vice-pres­i­dent and the FBI” about his con­tacts with the Rus­sian am­bas­sador late last year.

The tweet came a day af­ter Flynn pleaded guilty to ly­ing to FBI (Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion) agents. This would mean that Trump knew Flynn had com­mit­ted a se­ri­ous crime but pres­sured former FBI Direc­tor James Comey not to in­ves­ti­gate him.

The pres­i­dent later also fired Comey.

Con­trary to what Comey has tes­ti­fied to Congress, the pres­i­dent on Sun­day again de­nied he ever made such a re­quest. “I never asked Comey to stop in­ves­ti­gat­ing Flynn. Just more Fake News cover­ing another Comey lie!” he tweeted.

Af­ter he was fired him­self in May, Comey tes­ti­fied un­der oath be­fore a Se­nate panel that, a day af­ter Flynn’s ouster, Trump asked him to drop the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into his se­nior aide.

Fe­in­stein said she be­lieved Trump’s fir­ing of Comey was “di­rectly be­cause he did not agree to ‘lift the cloud’ of the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion.” “That’s ob­struc­tion of jus­tice,” the sen­a­tor said. Con­gres­sional pan­els as well as Special Coun­sel Robert Mueller are in­ves­ti­gat­ing Rus­sia’s al­leged in­ter­fer­ence in last year’s U.S. elec­tion and pos­si­ble col­lu­sion be­tween Trump’s team and the Krem­lin.

Le­gal ex­perts and other Democrats are also sug­gest­ing that Trump could face charges of ob­struc­tion of jus­tice be­cause of the way he has han­dled the Rus­sia in­quiry.

Sen­a­tor Richard Blu­men­thal of Con­necti­cut said that Trump’s com­ments showed “knowl­edge of law-break­ing he con­cealed -- never be­fore dis­closed.”

“He could be tweet­ing him­self into an ob­struc­tion of jus­tice con­vic­tion,” Richard Pain­ter, a former ethics coun­sel to the Ge­orge W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion, was quoted as say­ing by The Guardian.

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