Before Comey had even finished his appearance before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, the right-wing pundits were frantically spinning his testimony. Jack Posobiec, a pro-Trump activist notorious for his amateurish sleuthing into red herrings like the “Pizzagate” hoax and other conspiracy theories, wrote on May 17 that former FBI Director Comey had “said under oath that Trump did not ask him to halt any investigation.” Comey, of course, said nothing of the kind.
Since then, other Trumpster supporters have seized on Posobiec’s distortions and other distortions and misrepresentations, all in an effort to persuade themselves their man hadn’t attempted to obstruct justice.
You can safely ignore all of those “alternative facts.” WC urges his fellow progressives not to work themselves into a froth about it.
There’s only one person whose opinion matters at this point.
Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s.
Mueller doesn’t give a damn about what the Jack Posobiecs of the Republican right are saying. Mueller cares about what the evidence is. Not the “alternative facts.” Not the product of the spin doctors. He cares only about what can be proven in a court of law.
WC doesn’t propose to debate here what is or is not Truth. WC, by training and inclination, believes in what can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard for conviction of a crime in these allegedly United States. As does Robert Mueller.
It’s not a popularity contest. It’s doesn’t matter what the polls say, or even what the pols say. It’s whether the elements of a crime are present, and can be established beyond a reasonable doubt. If there are indictments, then its what twelve jurors say after hearing all the evidence and arguments.
Admittedly, WC is just another blogger with opinions. But in WC’s opinion President Trump needs to be worried about that. Obstruction of justice doesn’t require explicit demands that an investigator cease an inquiry. 18 U.S.C. §1805 provides:
Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper administration of the law under which any pending proceeding is being had before any department or agency of the United States, or the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress—Shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.
Comey’s sworn testimony was that he perceived President Trump as corruptly communicating an attempt to influence an investigation. That’s obstruction of justice. If Donald Trump is smart enough to understand that, he’s worried. Or should be. If Trump wasn’t the focus an an investigation then he is now. There’s doubtlessly more; the majority of Comey’s testimony was not public. But there’s already enough to convene a grand jury.