While Democrats cry for impeachment, legal experts are dubious that President Donald Trump’s reported conversation with FBI Director James Comey about his former national security adviser would be an easy case of obstruction of justice.
“I don’t personally think any prosecutor would bring that case,” Ron Hosko, a former assistant FBI director for the bureau’s Criminal Investigative Division, told The Daily Signal, referring to the report that Trump suggested Comey, whom he later ousted, back off investigating Michael Flynn.
“Any defense attorney could argue the president was wishing out loud,” Hosko said. “There was no killing a witness, no destruction of evidence.”
The New York Times first reported Tuesday on Comey’s purported memo of a February conversation in which Trump told him: “I hope you can let this go … [Flynn] is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
Trump fired Flynn after six weeks on the job after concluding the national security adviser misled Vice President Mike Pence regarding the content of his contacts with Russian officials before the president’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
The “big however,” Hosko said, is whether Trump’s May 9 firing of Comey could be connected to an effort to stop an FBI investigation.
“The president can fire an FBI director for any reason or no reason,” said Hosko, now president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund. “But, if evidence emerges that he fired Comey over the Flynn investigation or over the Russia investigation, now it becomes harder to defend.”
The Justice Department on Wednesday named another former FBI director, Robert Mueller, as a special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the presidential election. The FBI also is investigating Flynn’s contacts with Russia.
Several House Democrats are using Comey’s purported memo on what Trump said to him to demand impeachment of the president—a highly unlikely scenario given Republican majorities in the House and Senate.