I know firsthand from my experience working counterintelligence investigations for the FBI that kicking a diplomat out of the country is no small thing. During the meeting, Kushner asked for a secret communication channel between Moscow and the transition team at Russian diplomatic facilities.
But McCarthy told Ingraham it is a difficult case to make because Trump, as president, has the ultimate authority over the executive branch.
Comey had been conducting an FBI investigation into the allegations of Russian meddling in the election when he was abruptly dismissed by Trump. Private citizens can't hold themselves out as U.S. representatives and work at cross-purposes with the president's diplomatic objectives, they write. "But the House and Senate could conclude a president had obstructed, and conclude that was a 'high crime'". "That's it, pure and simple". The sanctions targeted Russia's intelligence services and Russian agencies that were involved in cyberactivities.
Is there a presidential right to cover up crimes by themselves or close associates?
Instead, the president pivoted to attacking Hillary Clinton, his former Democratic rival in the 2016 election more than a year ago. "I dare you", tweeted Walter Shaub, the former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, who has been a vocal critic of Trump since leaving the federal government in July. And one of the advisers, who speaks to Trump regularly, said the president had not discussed with him the possibility of issuing any pardons.
One day after a Flynn contact with Russia, Putin followed the Trump transition's advice; Trump then took to Twitter to praise a "Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!" But that doesn't mean the law is no longer valid, they say.
Even as Trump sought to minimize Flynn's misdeeds, the Kremlin insisted that Flynn's conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. had not influenced Russian President Vladimir Putin's response to sanctions imposed by Trump's predecessor. The agent, Peter Strzok, had also worked on the investigation of Clinton's use of a private email server.
Let's put aside the serious constitutional (and practical) issue of whether a president may be prosecuted in a judicial proceeding for obstruction. "The president did not", Gurule said. Putin, either angry for being misled or having to save face from taking no action at all in December (or both), retaliated much more forcefully than he likely would have otherwise.
CORRECTION (Dec. 4, 1:55 p.m., ET): An earlier version of this article misstated when James Comey, referring to Hillary Clinton, told the House Oversight Committee, "We had no basis to conclude that she lied to the FBI".
Dowd declined to comment to the AP but replied with a Fox News story Monday quoting prominent lawyer Alan Dershowitz as saying Trump couldn't have committed obstruction of justice by urging Comey to drop the FBI investigation of Flynn.
Noyes noted that Trump at the time made no mention of Flynn lying to the FBI, only to Pence.
Focusing on whether the Trump campaign and transition team broke the law misses the bigger picture.