The New York Times broke a story yesterday that in a meeting between President Trump and the FBI director he has since fired, Trump implied the director should end an investigation into Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
Political commentators have had a field day with the story, indicating that, more than other missteps by Trump, this could mean impeachment.
Speaking on CNN, former advisor to presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton said, “I was in the Nixon administration as you know, and I thought, after watching the Clinton impeachment, I would never see another one. But I think we’re in impeachment territory…obstruction of justice was the number one charge against Nixon, that brought him down. Obstruction of justice was the number one charge against Bill Clinton, which led to his indictment in the house, he won in the Senate.”
But others argue that, though Trump’s comments were inappropriate, they did not meet the legal threshold for obstruction of justice. Jonathan Turley writes for the Hill that former FBI director James Comey’s purported memo is not a smoking gun as some seem to be saying.
“For all of these reasons, we need to move beyond the hyperventilated pronouncements of criminal conduct or impeachable offenses based on this memo. This conversation in the Oval Office is a valid matter of concern and worthy of further investigation. It is not proof of an impeachable offense any more than it is proof of a crime,” argues Turley.