While the White House and Republicans on the Hill try to pass off President Trump’s comments to Comey as “That’s just the way he talks,” Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) made an excellent case for obstruction of justice charges against Donald Trump, if the report about Comey’s memo is accurate.
“If the facts are as they are alleged, yes, it would get close to obstruction of justice. Let me just lay it out.”
And then Kaine did exactly that on CBS This Morning.
“A director of the FBI is talking to the President and essentially having a conversation about whether he gets to continue at his job. The President is asking him if he’s loyal. The President asks him to drop an investigation into the National Security Adviser.”
Tim Kaine: "If the facts are as they are alleged, yes, it would get close to obstruction of justice." pic.twitter.com/XHn7QxkFMo
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 17, 2017
Contrast that with the White House and Trump reactions:
WH last night: Comey's account is untrue! He didn't tell him to stop the investigation!
WH this morning: C'mon. That's just how Trump talks
— Matt Viser (@mviser) May 17, 2017
Heard this last night from some Rs on Hill. "Trump was just spouting off, wasn't serious attempt at obstruction." https://t.co/G8BfUzZ6Xo
— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) May 17, 2017
Some GOPers r making this argument: that even if true that Trump asked Comey 2 let Flynn off, it was just request, not political pressure–> https://t.co/ImsaKc8RL9
— Rachael Bade (@rachaelmbade) May 17, 2017
The job threat hanging out there and the loyalty question dispel any attempt to pass this off as an “opinion”, but also the request to drop the Russia investigation is not okay. Trump should not have been discussing the investigation at all with Comey, and knowing this is part of the job.
Put together like this, it’s not a difficult case to make. It reeks of all of the stories of how Trump did business as a private citizen; the pressure, threats, harassment, and pushing legally until he got his way.
The White House and Republican excuse is not helping, as they are making the case that Donald Trump is above the law, which is exactly the attitude that got Trump into the mess in the first place.
The law is the law and even Donald Trump should be held to it. If poor criminals can’t use ignorance as an excuse, then neither should Donald Trump.
But also, “That’s just how he talks”? Precisely. Everyone knew this before he was elected. It is one of the glaring reasons it became obvious he was not fit for the office during the campaign. Republicans thought it was okay then, in fact they made the argument that Trump’s bragging on tape about sexual assault was “just locker room talk”, but it was in fact bragging about a serious crime and an opportunity for them to reevaluate Trump. They chose not to, and apparently they’re hoping it will still be given a pass now.
Donald Trump is supposed to be a role model leading the nation and indeed the world. That is one part of being president. Instead, he’s demanding special privileges and lowered bars. Republicans actually think it’s acceptable that the president behaves much worse than the average citizen.
This is a truly remarkable take on “law and order.”
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.