Never has more been made with less than what we are seeing happen in the media’s efforts to make it seem that President Trump “obstructed justice” in the Michael Flynn case.
The Washington Post continues their breathless coverage even though no new information has come to the surface since former FBI Director Comey testified last week. In fact, playing off of Comey’s comments that the President “hoped” that Comey could let the Flynn investigation go, the media continues to try to make the conversation far more sinister than it seems to have been.
CNN had former independent counsel Ken Starr, the man who prosecuted Bill Clinton for lying to Congress, on as a guest this morning to discuss the likelihood that Trump could be in trouble. As Starr sees it, there just isn’t a case for obstruction here.
Ken Starr: “The answer is no, but it is going to be investigated and so we will soon know. Obstruction of justice is really a very hard crime to make out. It’s not just you want the investigation to go away, you suggest that the investigation goes away. You’ve got take really affirmative action.
Director Comey said in his testimony that even though the expression was ‘hope’ he took it as a directive. But what we know is he didn’t do anything about it, right? That is, he did not dismiss the investigation or curtail the investigation. There’s an expression of hope so it becomes an interpretation and I think it’s just a very hard case to make out and, you know, that’s a good thing for all of us. Crimes should be difficult to prove.”
Alisyn Camerota: OK. So, Mr. Starr, are you saying that he would have had to have obeyed it in order for that to be obstruction of justice?
Ken Starr: No. We’re going to the intent of what it is it that the president had in mind. He was expressing — his literal language was hope and I think that redounds to the benefit of the president. He’s saying, “Golly, I sure wish this would go away. It’s in the way of my agenda. I need to run the country and this is a terrible distraction. I hope you can see your way clear.” That, to me, just the language, is far removed from a directive. My point is the director of the FBI then didn’t act on that. He, rather, just continued as before and reported — memorialized it — but he did not then say “OK, ladies and gentlemen of the FBI, we are getting rid of this investigation at the direction of the president.”
Later Starr also commented on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ testimony earlier this week.
“It was a difficult middle ground but the attorney general was exactly right. He was protecting executive privilege, he wasn’t asserting it, and so it’s a fine distinction but it’s an important distinction. That is, you don’t know what you’re going to be asked and when you’re asked, as he was asked continuously, repetitively, “What conversations did you have with the president,” to me, it was, in fact, a very well-known drama.
It would be well-known that the attorney general of the United States is not going to reveal in an open session without the opportunity for the president to, in fact, direct the attorney general and to invoke a constitutional privilege called “executive privilege.” It was upheld unanimously by the Supreme Court of the United States…”