Former US Attorney Preet Bharara told ABC’s This Week that he believes that there is enough evidence to begin an investigation of President Donald Trump for obstruction of justice in relation to the firing of James Comey.
Transcript via ABC’s This Week:
STEPHANOPOULOS: The president’s defenders, like Alan Dershowitz, say there’s no grounds for obstruction. You talked about that. And he, in fact, says that presidents have the constitutional right to fire FBI directors and investigations as much as they want.
One of the president’s attorneys, Jay Sekulow, is coming up next. He says there’s no there there, no basis for obstruction.
You’re a former prosecutor.
Are — is there evidence there that for — to begin a case for obstruction?
BHARARA: I think there’s absolutely evidence to begin a case. I think it’s very important for all sorts of armchair speculators in the law to be clear that no one knows right now whether there is a provable case of obstruction. It’s also true I think from based on what I see as a third party and out of government that there’s no basis to say there’s no obstruction.
And this point on whether or not the president has legal authority to fire or to direct an investigation, I don’t really get it. It’s a little silly to me. The fact that you have authority to remove someone from office doesn’t automatically immunize that act from criminal responsibility.
And I’ll give you an example of something from a different context. If it were to be true, and this is all made up for the sake of argument, if it were to be true that Michael Flynn offered a million dollars to Donald Trump and said I’m going to give you this million dollars and I’m giving it to you because I want you to fire Jim Comey and then Donald Trump fired Jim Comey, which everyone agrees he has the absolute authorization and authority to do, that would be an open and shut federal criminal case. It’s a quid pro quo and he be could charged (inaudible) president of the United States.
So this argument that you keep hearing on the TV shows that the mere fact that the president can fire an official at will doesn’t solve the problem.
Under investigation is not the same an indictment or a conviction, but Trump shouldn’t be worried about the criminal standard for obstruction of justice. What should scare Trump is that he has sailed above and beyond the threshold for obstruction of justice as an impeachable offense.
Republicans have given every indication that it doesn’t matter what the investigations uncover. They aren’t going to impeach this president, which is why it is vital for Democrats to take back the House in 2018 because that is the only way for impeachment to become a reality.
Contrary to what Republicans believe, as Bharara laid out, there is something there, and what Trump did could easily rise to the level of obstruction of justice.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association