Obstruction of Justice

Ex-FBI Director James Comey testified earlier this week before the Senate Intelligence Committee that he was the one who orchestrated the leak of his MFR purportedly describing a one-on-one meeting with President Donald Trump.  Comey said he asked a friend (Daniel Richman, a law professor at Columbia University, and a man who should have known better himself) to leak the document and the friend subsequently read it over the phone to a New York Times writer.

Even larger than the fact that Comey leaked the thing or caused its leak are two other matters: the MFR was, and is, government property since he wrote it as a government employee; it is not, and never has been, his personal property.  Thus, the leak, having been done without government permission, was illegal.  There’s also this bit, that illustrates Comey’s dishonesty, if not directly the illegality of his leak [emphasis added]:

Two days after Comey was fired, The New York Times reported on a January conversation—allegedly sourced from those Comey told about the encounter [now known to be Richman]—in which Comey claimed Trump asked him for his loyalty. Trump has vociferously denied he made such a request and tweeted the following day: “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

Comey, in his Thursday testimony, said it was that tweet that prompted him to enlist Richman to help him leak memos….

More than that, though, is Comey’s stated motive for his leak: to trigger the appointment of a special counsel to conduct the investigation into Trump’s campaign staff’s alleged involvement with Russian intrusions into our election process and other involvements between those personnel and Russian persons.

That strikes me as obstruction of justice.  There already were investigations in progress, by the FBI and by four Congressional committees, into precisely those matters.  Comey didn’t like the way those investigations were going, and so he wanted to trigger another—which existence could only interfere with the existing investigations.

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