Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley commented on recent reports surrounding President Donald Trump’s firing of both former FBI Director James Comey and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and memos Comey has about his interactions with Trump.
Turley called those instances “pretty thin soup for either a criminal or impeachment proceeding.”
When asked if Trump’s actions reached a level of obstruction of justice charge, Turley said, “This isn’t going to be real popular, but I don’t think so. My family has been pressing me on this. It’s sort of like going cross-country with them and saying, are we there yet? Are we there yet? Everyone wants to reach that point. You say, I can still see our house. It’s only been 150 days or so since the inauguration. The fact is, I don’t think this makes out an obstruction case.”
“There are a couple of reasons why,” he continued. “First, in terms of Sally Yates being fired, there’s ample reason to fire her when she told the [Justice] Department to stand down. Even those of us who criticized the immigration order said that you know, in many ways she didn’t leave much of a choice at that point for being fired. There’s a reason to do that. More importantly, the obstruction of justice requires you act to obstruct or interfere usually with a judicial or congressional proceeding, neither of which was pending at this time. You also tend to show it was done for a corrupt, or corruptly, to use the statutory term. This doesn’t meet the usual definition of that.”
“Now, does that mean this can’t be obstruction?” Of course not. It can be evidence of obstruction, but we’re not there yet. You know, this is something that was wildly inappropriate for the president to ask the FBI director, if he did ask that. This is something worthy of investigation. All of the facts that you tied together, Joe, are absolutely material, as you say. They can be the basis of an obstruction case. But I do think we need to understand that right now this is pretty thin soup for either a criminal or impeachment proceeding.”
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