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2017 Archives

Comey's testimony and obstruction of justice

Excerpt

The following excerpts are from Fox 4 News, The New York Post, The San Francisco Chronicle and KERA Public Radio. Providing expertise for these stories was SMU Law Professor Dale Carpenter,  the Judge William Hawley Atwell Chair of Constitutional Law.

June 8, 2017

From KERA:

Asked by KERA about Comey's presentation, Prof. Carpenter said, "I think he was careful. I thought he was concise. I thought it was a mark of the seriousness of his testimony that when a senator who might be critical of President Trump tried to lead him further than he wanted to go, he actually resisted going any further than he thought was appropriate and that to me seemed calibrated exactly for the momentousness of an occasion like this."

Listen to the discussion. audio icon

From The San Francisco Chronicle:

By Bob Egelko

Fired FBI Director James Comey’s prepared statement for Thursday’s Senate committee hearing contains some eyebrow-raising allegations about President Trump: That he repeatedly demanded a pledge of loyalty, continually asked Comey to “lift the cloud” from his head by declaring he was not under investigation, and asked the FBI director to drop an investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

But it’s not clear — at least not yet — whether Comey has implicated the president in criminal conduct, such as obstruction of justice. Legal analysts offered diverse views. . . . 

Dale Carpenter, a law professor and constitutional law chairman at Southern Methodist University, countered that any probe of a Trump aide’s Russian contacts is linked to the overall examination of Russian involvement in last year’s presidential election, an investigation that potentially could reach the president.

“Having a president tell the director of the FBI, who is conducting an ongoing criminal investigation of the president’s closest associates, to stop doing so is potentially obstruction of justice,” Carpenter said.

Comey said he kept silent, then when Trump later repeated his need for loyalty, told him, “You will always get honesty from me.” The president paused, then said, “That’s what I want, honest loyalty.”

In that exchange, said Carpenter of SMU, “I think Trump is implicitly threatening his job if he doesn’t provide loyalty.”

Read the full story.

From The New York Post:

By Marisa Schultz

WASHINGTON – James Comey’s testimony may have been great political theater, but it’s far from clear whether there’s enough ammo from it to nail the president on obstruction-of-justice charges, experts told The Post on Thursday.

Dale Carpenter, law professor at the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, disagreed with Rosen saying Comey’s testimony lays the groundwork for a potential obstruction-of-justice charge.

It doesn’t matter that Trump used the word “hope” instead of “order,” he said.

“What matters is whether or not President Trump has a corrupt intent when he spoke to Director Comey about dropping the Flynn investigation … whether he was trying to get it stopped, and it seemed to me pretty clear that that’s what was happening,” Carpenter said.

Predictably, the Beltway was split on party lines on the issue.

Read the full story.

From Fox 4 News: