DEBATE: Do the actions described by James Comey amount to an obstruction of justice by President Trump?

Donald Trump Delivers Commencement Address At U.S. Coast Guard Academy
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Do the actions described by James Comey amount to an obstruction of justice by President Trump?

YES – Robert Colvile, editor of CapX

Donald Trump’s career in construction was built on deal-making. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. And the pitch he made to James Comey – after ushering aides out of the room - was the same he’s made to countless officials, contractors and regulators over the years. Mike Flynn’s a good guy. He’s been through a lot. Can’t you let this go?
​Comey’s devastating testimony made it clear that he took this as a request to obstruct an ongoing investigation into Flynn’s ties with Russia. How, indeed, could he have taken it any other way? The director of the FBI doesn’t ask the Attorney General to keep him away from the President if the President just wants to compare shoe sizes.
Comey’s testimony may not be accurate. But if it is, the White House is in real trouble. It may not be enough to impeach Trump – in fact, it probably won’t. But obstruction of justice with a nod and a wink is still obstruction of justice.

NO – Kurt Schlichter, author, lawyer and retired US army colonel.

The notion that former FBI director James Comey’s opening testimony, even if true, describes “obstruction of justice” is ludicrous wishcasting by political opponents. Laws, like facts, are stubborn things, and the various obstruction of justice statutes all require the government to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, an intent to wrongly influence an investigation. Nothing like that appears in Comey’s statement, and nothing can be reasonably interpreted that way. We know this not merely from the text but because Comey actually did not interpret anything said as obstruction of justice. Had Comey detected such an attempt – and as an experienced former US attorney, few people are better suited to determine whether Trump’s conduct violated federal law – Comey would have been obligated to inform the attorney general. He did not. He would have been obligated to mention it when asked during his prior congressional testimony under oath. He did not. Because Comey did not see any obstruction, that closes this silly case.

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