p.74 – 77

The Obstructive Act:

“Firing Comey would qualify as an obstructive act if it had the natural and probable effect of interfering with or impeding the investigation-for example, if the termination would have the effect of delaying or disrupting the investigation or providing the President with the opportunity to appoint a director who would take a different approach to the investigation that the President perceived as more protective of his personal interests. ”

“The President fired Comey abruptly without offering him an opportunity to resign, banned him from the FBI building, and criticized him publicly, calling him a ‘showboat’ and claiming that the FBI was ‘in turmoil’ under his leadership. And the President followed the termination with public statements that were highly critical of the investigation; for example, three days after firing Comey , the President referred to the investigation as a ‘witch hunt’ and asked, ‘when does it end?’ Those actions had the potential to affect a successor director ‘s conduct of the investigation.”

Nexus to Proceeding:

“The nexus element would be satisfied by evidence showing that a grand jury proceeding or criminal prosecution arising from an FBI investigation was objectively foreseeable and actually contemplated by the President when he terminated Comey.” In other words, did Trump know before he fired Comey that the FBI investigation was going to lead to trial or prosecution?”

“At the time the President fired Comey, a grand jury had not begun to hear evidence related to the Russia investigation and no grand jury subpoenas had been issued. On March 20, 2017, however, Comey had announced that the FBI was investigating Russia’s interference in the election, including “an assessment of whether any
crimes were committed.” It was widely known that the FBI, as part of the Russia investigation, was investigating the hacking of the DNC’s computers-a clear criminal offense.”

“In addition, at the time the President fired Comey, evidence indicates the President knew that Flynn was still under criminal investigation and could potentially be prosecuted…”

Intent:

“Substantial evidence indicates that the catalyst for the President ‘s decision to fire Comey was Comey ‘s unwillingness to publicly state that the President was not personally under investigation, despite the President’s repeated requests that Comey make such an announcement.”

“The President told McCabe he fired Comey for that reason [Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation]. But the facts surrounding Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation were well known to the President at the time he assumed office, and the President had made it clear to both Comey and the President ‘s senior staff in early 2017 that he wanted Comey to stay on as director.”

In regards to criticism of Comey, “The President’s draft termination letter also stated that morale in the FBI was at an all-time low and Sanders told the press after Comey’s termination that the White House had heard from “countless” FBI agents who had lost confidence in Comey. But the evidence does not support those claims. ” In fact, they are contradicted: “The President told Comey at their January 27 dinner that “the people of the FBI really like [him],”

“The day after learning about the FBI’s interview of Flynn , the President had a one-on-one dinner with Comey, against the advice of senior aides, and told Comey he needed Comey’s ‘loyalty.’ When the President later asked Comey for a second time to make public that he was not under investigation, he brought up loyalty again, saying ‘Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal, we had that thing, you know.’ After the President learned of Sessions’s recusal from the Russia investigation, the President was furious and said he wanted an Attorney General who would protect him the way he perceived Robert Kennedy and Eric Holder to have protected their presidents. The President also said he wanted to be able to tell his Attorney General ‘who to investigate.’ ”

“The evidence does not establish that the termination of Comey was designed to cover up a conspiracy between the Trump Campaign and Russia: As described in Volume I, the evidence uncovered in the investigation did not establish that the President or those close to him were involved in the charged Russian computer-hacking or active-measure conspiracies, or that the President otherwise had an unlawful relationship with any Russian official. But the evidence does indicate that a thorough FBI investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the President personally that the President could have understood to be crimes or that would give rise to personal and political concerns. Although the President publicly stated during and after the election that he had no connection to Russia, the Trump Organization, through Michael Cohen , was pursuing the proposed Trump Tower Moscow project through June 2016 and candidate Trump was repeatedly briefed on the ro ress of those efforts.

“In the immediate aftermath of the firing, the President dictated a press statement suggesting that he had acted based on the DOJ recommendations, and White House press officials repeated that story. But the President had decided to fire Comey before the White House solicited those recommendations. Although the President ultimately acknowledged that he was going to fire Comey regardless of the Department of Justice’s recommendations, he did so only after DOJ officials made clear to him that they would resist the White House’s suggestion that they had prompted the process that led to Comey’s termination. The initial reliance on a pretextual justification could support an inference that the President had concerns about providing the real reason for the firing , although the evidence does not resolve whether those concerns were personal , political, or both.”

 

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