'100 per cent' willing to testify over Comey conversations
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 12, 2017,
Jun 12, 2017, 17:14
"If he is telling the truth, that means the president has lied about it and that is a further indication he may not be fit to be president of the United States".
Comey made a number of troubling statements about Trump at a Senate intelligence committee hearing on Thursday. He accused the president of lying and of demanding a loyalty pledge.
Comey asks for a one-on-one with the president during the first meeting and then characterizes his next one-on-one as somewhat being cornered and that he was in shock after President Donald Trump said that he "hoped" the Michael Flynn matter could go away. Trump also said he didn't ask Comey to pledge his loyalty.
The Trump administration has also highlighted the fact Comey stopped short of accusing the president of obstructing justice - a potentially impeachable offense.
Comey said he refused on all points, told senators of the detailed memos he had written after his conversations with Trump and said he hoped those conversations were taped because he is confident of their veracity.
A few presidents have voluntarily appeared before congressional committees, most recently Gerald Ford, who was questioned before the House judiciary committee to explain his pardon of former president Richard Nixon.
"But that's a rare exception", said Turley. "While the president's underlings can be called before Congress, committees have not historically called presidents themselves".
Comey said that he gave one key memo after the February dinner conversation to a friend, Columbia University law professor Daniel Richman, who later leaked the memo to the media. "For all those different reasons, it would be inappropriate". Trump's presidency is at stake, and if there is a pattern of obstruction of justice in his behaviour - the sort of thing that Comey's testimony could reinforce - the repercussions could be severe. "There would be nothing wrong if I did say that, according to everybody that I've read today, but I did not say that".
Jonathan Karl asked, "So if Robert Mueller wanted to speak with you about that?"
Currently, Republicans are in control of the House and Senate and chairing all the committees, meaning the odds that they would try to order Trump to appear before a committee hearing are extremely low. The 2018 midterms aren't far off, though, and the sight of someone like James Comey calling the President a liar has the potential to rouse voters.
Comey said he did so after Trump suggested in a tweet that their conversations may have been recorded.
Mueller is investigating whether Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 presidential election and whether members of the Trump campaign team co-ordinated efforts with officials from Moscow.
The Supreme Court, in the Paula Jones sexual harassment civil suit case against Bill Clinton, determined that the president could be compelled to appear for a deposition.
"That's not true", said Seidman, adding, "Whether he has a guilty conscience or not is not relevant either to the legal or the political question".
"I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that's a conclusion I'm sure the special counsel will work towards to try and understand what the intention was there, and whether that's an offense", Comey said. In the meantime, more of Trump's advisers and enablers may head for the door, or be shown out, but it is possible for a person to govern in isolation for quite a while, or at least to exploit the instruments of government, to fantastically disastrous effect.
In the Clinton impeachment case, the House of Representatives dropped an article on obstruction of justice, said Turley, who testified before the House in favor of impeachment.