on part of Donald Trump in the firing of James Comey. I remind people that corrupt intent is considered an essential element in being able to sustain an obstruction of justice charge.
There is a story that broke tonight at the New York Times titled Obstruction Inquiry Shows Trump’s Struggle to Keep Grip on Russia Investigation.
The article by Michael Schmidt has exploded among folks here in DC. It puts Jeff Sessions in real legal jeopardy,and may even expose White House Counsel Don McGahn, at least to close scrutiny.
I do urge people to read the whole article.
I am only going to focus on a small portion, and want you to note what i bold in the block quote below:
Mr. Trump spent the next weekend at his country club in Bedminster, N.J., where he watched a recording of Mr. Comey’s testimony, stewed about the F.B.I. director and discussed the possibility of dismissing him with his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his senior policy adviser, Stephen Miller. He had decided he would fire Mr. Comey, and asked Mr. Miller to help put together a letter the president intended to send to Mr. Comey.
In interviews with The Times, White House officials have said the letter contained no references to Russia or the F.B.I.’s investigation. According to two people who have read it, however, the letter’s first sentence said the Russia investigation had been “fabricated and politically motivated.”
On Monday, May 8, Mr. Trump met with Mr. Sessions and Mr. Rosenstein to discuss firing Mr. Comey, and Mr. Rosenstein agreed to write his own memo outlining why Mr. Comey should be fired. Before writing it, he took a copy of the letter that Mr. Trump and Mr. Miller had drafted during the weekend in Bedminster.
The president fired Mr. Comey the following day.
We have previously known about the letter drafted by Miller. I am not aware that before this story there was general knowledge that Rosenstein had taken a copy of the letter with him.
If so, and if he did not return it, it would be logical to conclude that he turned it over to Mueller.
If so, that seems to me to be documentary evidence of Trump’s corrupt intent in firing Comey, and thus leads to real jeopardy on a charge of obstruction of justice against Trump.
There is a lot more in the article that would provide additional evidence, but a document like this, if supported by testimony of people that they had to talk Trump out of sending it, by itself establishes the corrupt intent to obstruct justice.
UPDATE The article does not make clear that Rosenstein kept the memo or turned it back. But having himself read the letter, he could attest to the contents at the beginning that so upset some people around Trump and why they intervened to keep him from sending it as the firing letter to Comey.