According to a bombshell new report Thursday evening in the New York Times, the Robert Mueller investigation into what ties existed between the Donald Trump campaign and administration and Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election has received corroborating evidence that backs up James Comey’s claims that President Trump pressured him to put an end to the Russia investigation before Comey was fired in May.
According to the New York Times report, special counsel Mueller has received handwritten notes from former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus that detail conversations Priebus had with Trump about how the president had pressured Comey to publicly declare that Trump himself was not under investigation. James Comey had testified to this before the Senate Intelligence Committee in June, as well as how President Trump had invited him to dinner and asked Comey if he could count on his loyalty.
The Times article goes on to say that Attorney General Jeff Sessions tried to find damaging information about Comey several days before the former FBI director was fired.
The article also makes a second bombshell claim that Donald Trump ordered White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II to keep AG Sessions from recusing himself from the Russia investigation. McGahn was obviously unsuccessful in his attempt as Sessions did, in fact, recuse himself shortly after this incident is reported to have happened.
Pundits on Twitter have been quick to proclaim that this new report is a “smoking gun” that proves a case for obstruction of justice against the president.
????THIS IS SMOKING GUN OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE???? https://t.co/vMnXPfJuL5— Fernand R. Amandi (@AmandiOnAir) January 5, 2018
Sessions had to recuse under government ethics rules and lawyers’ ethics rules. McGahn had no right to pressure him to violate these rules. This is obstruction of justice.— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) January 5, 2018
Obstruction Inquiry Shows Trump’s Struggle to Keep Grip on Russia Investigation https://t.co/LyS8dlsC99
It has been previously reported by The Hill that President Trump was enraged by Sessions’ recusal and that the president had been expecting Sessions to protect him at all costs as he believed former Attorney General Eric Holder had previously done for President Obama. The New York Times also reported back in July that Trump has said he would never have hired Sessions in the first place if he knew that Sessions was going to recuse himself from the investigation.
This new report follows a CNBC article earlier on Thursday that quotes passages from Michael Wolfe’s upcoming book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House to say that Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Donald Trump’s legal team, quit his job this past summer because he believed obstruction of justice had occurred when Trump dictated a memo aboard Air Force One to claim that the meeting between Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and Russian representatives at Trump Tower was about discussing Russian adoptions rather than, as was later learned, getting dirt the Trump campaign could use to defeat Hillary Clinton.
The White House has released a statement that Wolff’s book is loaded with “false and misleading information.” Fire and Fury is set to be released tomorrow, four days ahead of schedule, due to the now overwhelming demand.