Watergate Prosecutor Has TERRIBLE News For Trump Regarding Comey’s Testimony

Former FBI Director James Comey is testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee today, but he asked the committee to release a copy of his opening statement yesterday, which lit the Internet on fire. The big question everyone’s asking is, did Trump try to obstruct justice with his improper demands of Comey? Comey will not level that accusation himself – he’ll very likely leave it up to the Senate to decide whether his testimony is sufficient for such a charge.

But Philip Allen Lacovara, who served as counsel to Watergate’s special prosecutors, Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski, says that Comey’s prepared statement alone is enough for an obstruction of justice case.

If there’s anybody who recognizes the scenario that’s unfolding, it’s the people who were heavily involved with, or in covering, Watergate. In a story published in the Washington Post, Lacovara writes:

Comey proved what Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and National Security Agency Director Michael S. Rogers carefully avoided admitting in their testimony on Wednesday — that the president had specifically attempted to shut off at least a major piece of what Trump calls the “Russia thing,” the investigation into the misleading statements by fired national security adviser Michael Flynn concerning his role in dealings with the Russians.

Then he says:

This kind of presidential intervention in a pending criminal investigation has not been seen, to my knowedge, since the days of Richard Nixon and Watergate.

The details that Comey provides are “red meat for a prosecutor,” according to Lacovara. They also demonstrate that there was an element of threat involved in Trump’s behavior. Trump contacted Comey about the investigation multiple times, each time either suggesting Comey wasn’t sufficiently loyal and issuing veiled threats to his job or expressing displeasure that he hadn’t dropped the investigation yet. More than once, Trump whined about the “cloud” that the Russia scandal, and how it was interfering with his ability to get anything done. Shortly after the last time this happened, Comey was fired.

That’s not quite the bombshell, though. Toward the end of Lacovara’s piece in WaPo is where the bomb is:

Comey’s statement lays out a case against the president that consists of a tidy pattern, beginning with the demand for loyalty, the threat to terminate Comey’s job, the repeated requests to turn off the investigation into Flynn and the final infliction of career punishment for failing to succumb to the president’s requests, all followed by the president’s own concession about his motive. Any experienced prosecutor would see these facts as establishing a prima facie case of obstruction of justice. [emphasis mine]

At this point, if the Senate does its job, it will determine that Trump’s repeated demands of Comey constitute obstruction of justice. The worry here is that Republicans are so partisan that they’ll try and find wiggle room, a loophole, a pseudo-plausible way to deny it, or anything else that will allow them to dismiss Comey’s testimony out of hand.

Featured image via Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images and Win McNamee/Getty Images