According to former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia adds another important dimension to the special counsel’s investigation of Trump’s obstruction of justice.
Federal law enforcement officers began investigating the president after he fired FBI director James Comey. Mariotti, writing in POLITICO, said that any actions Trump has taken to obstruct investigations into his campaign and businesses would probably be considered collusion with Russia.
“To put it mildly, it is highly unusual to be discussing a sitting president’s possibly being compromised by a country commonly seen as an enemy,” Mariotti wrote. “Being compromised by the Russians is not a crime in and of itself, though it could cause someone to commit any number of crimes. Trump’s being compromised might, for instance, have caused him to lie under penalty of perjury, to trade official acts in exchange for something of value, or to accept foreign contributions in connection with an election.”
The former prosecutor also argued that possible obstruction of justice takes on a more serious meaning, and has greater implications now that we know about the FBI investigation.
“If Mueller can prove that Trump obstructed justice, does it even matter whether he can prove that Trump committed other crimes?” Mariotti wrote, then he added:
“The FBI saw Trump’s attempt to obstruct the FBI investigation by firing Comey as evidence that Trump was trying to aid Russia by undermining the investigation of Russian efforts to interfere with our election. The FBI saw Trump’s obstruction as a form of ‘collusion,’ aiding the Russian government by undermining our own.”
Mariotti has made the argument that the obstruction case against Trump is exceedingly strong, based on publicly available evidence. He also said that Trump defenders such as Rudy Giuliani and Alan Dershowitz don’t even bother to argue that he hasn’t tried to impede the investigation. In their many media appearances they have instead claimed that as president Trump cannot be charged with obstruction.
“If Mueller proves that Trump obstructed the FBI and Justice Department investigation into the Russian attack on our democracy because he was compromised by the Kremlin, would that be worthy of impeachment?” Mariotti asked. “It should be, but that’s a question for the American people—through their elected representatives in Congress—to decide.”
The revelation that the FBI has an ongoing investigation into Donald Trump is deeply disturbing. The president may have been compromised by or may be working for the Russian government, one of our biggest enemies. On top of this, other reports disclosed that Trump went to “extraordinary lengths” to conceal his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Last week House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said his committee “will take steps to better understand both the president’s actions and the FBI’s response to that behavior” in coming weeks.
It is imperative that Nadler and other Democratic leaders in the House immediately take steps to uncover Trump’s treason and to make sure that he can do no further damage to our country. As they obtain more information it will be clear that this president must be impeached immediately.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.