Well, again, we’re not talking about a real court of law where this is going to matter. It will be in a court of quasi-public opinion in an impeachment trial setting or other pressure from the GOP if they see writing on the wall a la Nixon (admittedly a very unlikely scenario right now).
This is precisely correct. Impeachment, most seem not to realize, is a political decision, not a legal one. “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” can mean anything down to jaywalking; the clear point being that if the President is unpopular, Congress can remove him for almost no reason at all.
And, there’s a reason for that, the reason being that the President is invulnerable from prosecution from the Judicial Branch during his term in office. So, he has to be infinitely vulnerable to our other elected officials during that time in order for checks and balances to be maintained.
As for Comey not “being the investigator,” then according to your logic, if Trump had said to Comey “stop investigating Russia or I’ll fire you” there would be no obstruction of justice, either, because Comey is inconsequential to the investigation.
Two points here. The first is that in the absence of clear quid pro quo (in reverse), the President’s removal of anyone that works for him, despite the media howling to the contrary, is unremarkable. Not even Comey has claimed that such a quid pro quo existed, so we can put that one to bed. A full month passed between the Trump Comey dinner and his firing.
But, again, EVEN IF that quid pro quo existed, you can’t bring a suit against a sitting president. We’re back to impeachment again, and trial in the Court of Public Opinion.
As for “Trump did have something to worry about,” you’re confusing his actual motives, which are truly hard to discern (if he cared about keeping focus on his agenda, maybe he should stop tweeting wildly off-message distractions), with motives as they’d be constructed in the trial.
Well, I don’t think a moment-spent-tweeting detracts a person much from “their agenda”, President or otherwise. It’s been speculated by commentators who are NOT hostile to the President that the President not just uses Twitter to (a) communicate unvarnished to his base, but also to (b) throw raw meat into a pack of hungry wolves (the media) and send them off on wild goose chases, and (c ) every time he does it he proves his point to his supporters that the media is no longer a dependable arbiter of the truth, else they’d stop chasing wild geese.
So there’s a greater chance they don’t bother.
Sure. Starting in 2007, Pelosi decided to ignore the wild dogs and not pursue any sort of action against Bush vis a vis Iraq, thus negating any “Bush lied” momentum her party had been using to gain political power. The GOP proved in the late 1990’s that pursuing an impeachment without clear public support is a nonstarter.
They go from having no real case to a case that people like you, who seem to know a lot more about interpretations of obstruction of justice law than I do, have to explain in detail to me because it only makes sense on a very technical level. This is bad.
Well…..I think everyone can agree that the Trump campaign had certain individuals who were perfectly OK with delving into communications and making contacts which were inadvisable and unwise. Fortunately or unfortunately, they are probably not illegal, either.
And, of course, complaining about the matter is difficult, because (a) we’ve done the same thing to other nations, thus we lack the moral authority to complain to Russia very loudly, and (b) if the situations were reversed, nobody seriously doubts that the Democrats would have done the same things.
In many ways its oddly equivalent to the Hillary Clinton deleted e-mails issue, where it would be hard to prove that Clinton technically broke the law by deleting those e-mails, since as I understand it this would involve proving an intent to obstruct, but it is obvious to anyone that she did something that is not right.
That is a reasonably close analogy, putting aside for the moment that the statutes that involve the handling of confidential material specifically say that intent doesn’t matter.
But, you’re right. Everyone just pretty much knows that you’re supposed to use your employer’s email system, period, and you don’t go setting your own mail-server up in your spare bedroom.