Trump Firing Comey Is No Obstruction of Justice

As the Mueller special counsel investigation is rumored to be winding down, the media are furiously spinning tall tales about President Donald Trump as a hedge against the Mueller report being a nothingburger.  Politico is warning Democrats and NeverTrump Republicans to "prepare for disappointment."

Tamping down expectations, Politico bases its warning on inside sources: "[d]efense lawyers working on the Russia probe and more than 15 former government officials with investigation experience spanning Watergate to the 2016 election case."

Despite Politico's pessimism, the New York Times remains ever hopeful that the Mueller report will be the pony under the Christmas tree that the media have been waiting for since Trump announced his candidacy for president in June 2015.

Late last week was their latest "bombshell" report, claiming that federal law enforcement officials "became so concerned by the president's behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests."

Funny how they had no concern over the Clintons and their money-laundering pay-to-play Clinton Foundation, who might "have been working on behalf of Russia against American interests" – such as half-million-dollar speaking fees to Bill Clinton for speaking to a Russian bank while his wife, as secretary of state, opposed sanctions on Russia.

Or the Uranium One deal handing over rights to 20 percent of U.S. uranium production to Russia.  Some familiar names were involved in this scheme, too – Mueller, Rosenstein, and McCabe.  What a coincidence.

The New York Times reported the absurd claim that "[a]gents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia."  This must be based on Trump joking at a campaign rally when he said, "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing."  If there was ever proof that liberals don't have a sense of humor, this would be it.

The only other ties between the Trump campaign and Russia are ones orchestrated by the Obama justice and intelligence agencies, inserting spies into Trump's campaign and setting up staged meetings at Trump Tower.  Or creating contacts between Trump campaign aides Carter Page and George Papadopoulos and foreign operatives.  Then there's the "unverified" Steele dossier, which was used as the basis of FISA warrants to spy on Trump, his campaign, and associates.

These fabricated ties to Russia, according to the Times, prompted the FBI to open a criminal investigation of Trump based on "[w]hether his firing of Mr. Comey constituted obstruction of justice" based on it being tied to the Russian investigation.  How ridiculous is this?

The Obama Deep State holdovers had no problem ignoring the will of the American people in electing a president.  Instead, "Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and top FBI officials viewed Trump as a leader who needed to be reined in, according to two sources describing the sentiment at the time," CNN reported.

To rein him in, a polite way of saying they wanted to overturn the election results, they claimed that "[i]f Mr. Trump had ousted the head of the F.B.I. to impede or even end the Russia investigation, that was both a possible crime and a national security concern."

Why was FBI director Comey fired?  Because Rod Rosenstein recommended it.  Let's go back to a few memos and letters from May 2017.

First was a memo from Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to Attorney General Sessions.

Here are some excerpts.

I cannot defend the Director's handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton's emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken.  Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.

Although the President has the power to remove an FBI director, the decision should not be taken I agree with the nearly unanimous opinions of former Department officials.  The way the Director handled the conclusion of the email investigation was wrong.  As a result, the FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them.  Having refused to admit his errors, the Director cannot be expected to implement the necessary corrective actions.

This is just a politically proper way for a senior government lawyer to say Comey needed to go.  His boss, Jeff Sessions, agreed.

Based on my evaluation, and for the reasons expressed by the Deputy Attorney General in the attached memorandum, I have concluded that a fresh start is needed at the leadership of the FBI.

The Director of the FBI must be someone who follows faithfully the rules and principles of the Department of Justice and who sets the right example for our law enforcement officials and others in the Department.

Therefore, I must recommend that you remove Director James B. Comey, R. and identify an experienced and qualified individual to lead the great men and women of the FBI.

Following the advice of his attorney general and deputy, President Trump dismissed Comey.

I have received the attached letters from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the United States recommending your dismissal as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately.

It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust in its vital law enforcement mission.

It all seems proper and straightforward.  President Trump sought and received the advice of those supervising the FBI and Mr. Comey.  He acted on their recommendations.

Trump could have also listened to Democrats, who had called for Comey to be fired.  In November 2016, here's what some recommended:

Chuck Schumer said, "I don't have confidence in him any longer."

Nancy Pelosi echoed Chuck, as she is prone to do on other issues: "[m]aybe he's not in the right job."

Bernie Sanders agreed, saying, "It would not be a bad thing for the American people" if Comey stepped down.

If President Trump, in the spirit of bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle, just said he was following the advice of his esteemed Democrat colleagues, would he still be obstructing justice?

Collusion isn't a crime.  Obstruction of justice may be, if it happened and can be proven, both very big ifs.  This would be the high crime the Democrat impeachment cheerleaders are looking for.

Good luck with that.  President Trump was entirely justified and well within his constitutional authority to fire James Comey.  Even Rosenstein, charged with overseeing Mueller and his investigation, agreed and recommended it.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders provided the clearest explanation.

This is absurd.  James Comey was fired because he's a disgraced partisan hack, and his Deputy Andrew McCabe, who was in charge at the time, is a known liar fired by the FBI.  Unlike President Obama, who let Russia and other foreign adversaries push America around, President Trump has actually been tough on Russia.

Put that in your obstruction pipe and smoke it.

Brian C. Joondeph, M.D., MPS is a Denver-based physician and writer.  Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Image credit: Donkey Hotey via FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0.