Andrew McCarthy demolishes the argument that Trump obstructed justice, or even did anything wrong, in dinner talk with Comey

In his trademark well informed and lucid style, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy took just over four minutes to explain to Tucker Carlson's viewers why President Trump's dinner conversation with James Comey, bandied about as "obstruction of justice" by many on the left, was not improper.

But before you view the video below, consider the false notion propagated by Comey in his written introductory statement to his testimony today.  Comey writes of the "independence" of the FBI and Justice Department from the executive branch:

My instincts told me that the one-on-one setting, and the pretense that this was our first discussion about my position, meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship. That concerned me greatly, given the FBI's traditionally independent status in the executive branch.

This much is defensible, since he speaks of a "tradition," although sneaking in the word "status" suggests some official categorization of the FBI as independent of the Executive Branch.  But, later:

At one point, I explained why it was so important that the FBI and the Department of Justice be independent of the White House. I said it was a paradox: Throughout history, some Presidents have decided that because "problems" come from Justice, they should try to hold the Department close. But blurring those boundaries ultimately makes the problems worse by undermining public trust in the institutions and their work.

This is still defensible.

But later in the document, he segues quietly into an assertion that the FBI is an independent agency:

I did not understand the President to be talking about the broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign. I could be wrong, but I took him to be focusing on what had just happened with Flynn's departure and the controversy around his account of his phone calls. Regardless, it was very concerning, given the FBI's role as an independent investigative agency.

Sorry!  Nowhere in the Constitution is the FBI (or DoJ) defined as anything other than a part of the Executive Branch.  The FBI didn't exist in 1787, and wouldn't for almost a century and a half.

This brings us to Andrew McCarthy, explaining why President Trump had full authority to say what he did without compromising any ethics or laws:

Rush transcript:

>> Tucker: That was James Comey a month ago telling the Senate Judiciary Committee that the president never tried to improperly influence him on this investigation with Russia. He's coming back to the Senate, and he may be telling a different story. We will to find out tomorrow. The hearing is not going to be on cable news. You may be watching tomorrow. What should you be looking for while and after James Comey's speech? A lot of people are interested in the story, but the complex sprawling story with more innuendo and than fact. What should we be looking for?

McCARTHY: "I think the main thing that has really confused people about the discussion over the last week is the idea that pressure and obstruction of justice are the same thing. They are clearly not. Actually, if you look at what former Director Comey said in his testimony, the case that there was obstruction of justice is much worse today than it was yesterday. And I actually didn't think there was any case yesterday. What people need to understand is putting pressure on a subordinate is not obstruction of justice. The key element of obstruction of justice is corruption, so if you don't have pressure that is motivated by corruption, there is no obstruction. The president has as much authority or more to exercise. Prosecutorial discretion as any of the subordinates he has who are U.S. Attorneys or FBI agents across the country. I think the extent to which these two concepts have been inflated is important. Pressure is not obstruction." 

>> Tucker: So by discretion, you mean he does not have to sit passively by while people who work for him run these investigations? He can influence them?

>> He certainly can, but what I mean by discretion is, in the United States attorney's office, every day, prosecutors dismiss cases even though they could be prosecuted for a variety of reasons. They way the facts and decide if it should be brought or not. If you look at what trump is alleged to have done here, he went to the process very much the way a prosecutor does in a Normal case. He says, this is what they are accusing the sky of, but on the opposite side of the ledger, he didn't do anything inappropriate with Russia. He has already been laid low, I had to fire him yesterday. Enough is enough. You may not agree with that, but it's not corrupt. It is the kind of calculus that happens all the time in the exercise of prosecutors. This whole business of whether trump [sic] sought a loyalty pledge from Comey or not. That, I think, is more complicated. To a certain degree, the FBI director is a subordinate, well, to a complete degree he is a subordinate to the president, and does owe the kind of loyalty that a an inferior officer owes to a superior officer. He has to obey orders and carry out policies and the like. What he really owes the president is honesty. And actually being honest, that is how you are best loyal to the president. So, the question is going to be, what did trump mean by it loyalty? I think to the extent that people say that loyalty is not a factor in these superior subordinate relationships. That is not the case.

>> Tucker: I hate to editorialize, but I don't know a single person speaking on the behalf of the White House who can explain things as clearly as you can. Thank you for coming on. That was really interesting.

>> Thank you.

I have to agree with Tucker.

In his trademark well informed and lucid style, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy took just over four minutes to explain to Tucker Carlson's viewers why President Trump's dinner conversation with James Comey, bandied about as "obstruction of justice" by many on the left, was not improper.

But before you view the video below, consider the false notion propagated by Comey in his written introductory statement to his testimony today.  Comey writes of the "independence" of the FBI and Justice Department from the executive branch:

My instincts told me that the one-on-one setting, and the pretense that this was our first discussion about my position, meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship. That concerned me greatly, given the FBI's traditionally independent status in the executive branch.

This much is defensible, since he speaks of a "tradition," although sneaking in the word "status" suggests some official categorization of the FBI as independent of the Executive Branch.  But, later:

At one point, I explained why it was so important that the FBI and the Department of Justice be independent of the White House. I said it was a paradox: Throughout history, some Presidents have decided that because "problems" come from Justice, they should try to hold the Department close. But blurring those boundaries ultimately makes the problems worse by undermining public trust in the institutions and their work.

This is still defensible.

But later in the document, he segues quietly into an assertion that the FBI is an independent agency:

I did not understand the President to be talking about the broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign. I could be wrong, but I took him to be focusing on what had just happened with Flynn's departure and the controversy around his account of his phone calls. Regardless, it was very concerning, given the FBI's role as an independent investigative agency.

Sorry!  Nowhere in the Constitution is the FBI (or DoJ) defined as anything other than a part of the Executive Branch.  The FBI didn't exist in 1787, and wouldn't for almost a century and a half.

This brings us to Andrew McCarthy, explaining why President Trump had full authority to say what he did without compromising any ethics or laws:

Rush transcript:

>> Tucker: That was James Comey a month ago telling the Senate Judiciary Committee that the president never tried to improperly influence him on this investigation with Russia. He's coming back to the Senate, and he may be telling a different story. We will to find out tomorrow. The hearing is not going to be on cable news. You may be watching tomorrow. What should you be looking for while and after James Comey's speech? A lot of people are interested in the story, but the complex sprawling story with more innuendo and than fact. What should we be looking for?

McCARTHY: "I think the main thing that has really confused people about the discussion over the last week is the idea that pressure and obstruction of justice are the same thing. They are clearly not. Actually, if you look at what former Director Comey said in his testimony, the case that there was obstruction of justice is much worse today than it was yesterday. And I actually didn't think there was any case yesterday. What people need to understand is putting pressure on a subordinate is not obstruction of justice. The key element of obstruction of justice is corruption, so if you don't have pressure that is motivated by corruption, there is no obstruction. The president has as much authority or more to exercise. Prosecutorial discretion as any of the subordinates he has who are U.S. Attorneys or FBI agents across the country. I think the extent to which these two concepts have been inflated is important. Pressure is not obstruction." 

>> Tucker: So by discretion, you mean he does not have to sit passively by while people who work for him run these investigations? He can influence them?

>> He certainly can, but what I mean by discretion is, in the United States attorney's office, every day, prosecutors dismiss cases even though they could be prosecuted for a variety of reasons. They way the facts and decide if it should be brought or not. If you look at what trump is alleged to have done here, he went to the process very much the way a prosecutor does in a Normal case. He says, this is what they are accusing the sky of, but on the opposite side of the ledger, he didn't do anything inappropriate with Russia. He has already been laid low, I had to fire him yesterday. Enough is enough. You may not agree with that, but it's not corrupt. It is the kind of calculus that happens all the time in the exercise of prosecutors. This whole business of whether trump [sic] sought a loyalty pledge from Comey or not. That, I think, is more complicated. To a certain degree, the FBI director is a subordinate, well, to a complete degree he is a subordinate to the president, and does owe the kind of loyalty that a an inferior officer owes to a superior officer. He has to obey orders and carry out policies and the like. What he really owes the president is honesty. And actually being honest, that is how you are best loyal to the president. So, the question is going to be, what did trump mean by it loyalty? I think to the extent that people say that loyalty is not a factor in these superior subordinate relationships. That is not the case.

>> Tucker: I hate to editorialize, but I don't know a single person speaking on the behalf of the White House who can explain things as clearly as you can. Thank you for coming on. That was really interesting.

>> Thank you.

I have to agree with Tucker.

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