New revelations in Michael Wolff’s new book on the Trump White House put Attorney General Jeff Sessions squarely in the crosshairs of an obstruction of justice case.
A pair of former Obama administration officials appeared Friday on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” where they broke down new details from the book Fire and Fury that may interest special counsel Robert Mueller.
“We learned two important new things about where this obstruction of justice probe may go based on this story,” said Matthew Miller, former spokesman for the Justice Department.
He said Wolff’s reporting on President Donald Trump instructing the White House counsel to talk Sessions out of recusing himself in the Justice Department’s Russia probe — where the attorney general would be a witness or potentially even a target — would be important to investigators.
“Proving intent of obstruction of justice is always a hard thing, because acts that would otherwise be legal — like firing the FBI director, for example — are illegal if you’re doing them for the purpose to thwart the investigation,” Miller said. “It now seems clear the president was trying to thwart this investigation. He wanted his attorney general to block it.
Miller said the book also demonstrated the potential scope of the White House conspiracy to impede the Russia probe, which he said appears to include the attorney general himself.
“We learned that — the Justice Department denies this, but (New York Times reporter) Michael Schmidt reports that an aide to the attorney general was up on Capitol Hill before the director’s firing asking congressional staffers to dig up dirt and get it to press about the FBI director (James Comey),” Miller said. “If that was something the attorney general was doing as part of the conspiracy to obstruct justice, if that was an overt act he took to further that conspiracy, the attorney general himself could now be a subject of that investigation.”
“That is a very difficult place for the chief law enforcement officer of the United States to be,” Miller added.
Wolff’s book also reveals that former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus kept handwritten notes that back Comey’s testimony about his interactions with the president before his firing.
“There are three reasons why those notes will be given weight by the special counsel,” said Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff to both the Department of Defense and CIA. “One is they’re handwritten, second, they’re contemporaneous, and third, they’re kind of a statement against interest. In other words, a statement against Reince Priebus’ boss, the president, basically corroborating James Comey’s testimony.”
Those notes, if Wolff accurately reported them, could also help Mueller prove an obstruction case against the president.
“The president reached out to him and said, ‘I want you to spread misinformation about the status of your investigation,’ which of course Comey said he wouldn’t do,” Bash said.
Bash said the president fired Comey only after his first attempt to obstruct justice failed.
“I think what we learned from this new reporting is that firing Jim Comey was Plan B,” Bash said. “Plan A was to keep Sessions in place and have him obstruct the investigation. Sessions had no choice, he had to recuse himself, and I think at some point we have to ask this larger question of, what does a cabinet official do when the president of the United States repeatedly asks you to do the unethical?”
Colorado mayor faces furious backlash after dismissing coronavirus concerns and daring someone to spit in his mouth
The mayor of the Colorado city of Longmont is under fire from residents for comments he made at last Wednesday’s Longmont City Council work session while discussing the city's coronavirus response.
According to the Times-Call, Mayor Brian Bagley, who has spoken out against lockdowns and the closing down of non-essential businesses, chose some colorful language to express his belief that low-risk people should risk exposing themselves to the virus.
Doctor on Fox News begs red states to brace for virus: ‘People are dying because we weren’t prepared’
A New York City emergency room doctor who recovered from Ebola said this week that he fears the coronavirus outbreak even more.
Craig Spencer of Columbia University Medical Center confirmed to Fox News that New York hospitals look like a war zone.
"I survived Ebola and I fear COVID, I fear coronavirus," Spencer said. "There are a lot of lessons we learned [from Ebola]... And unfortunately, a lot of those lessons have been forgotten. What I think has happened is it's left us all vulnerable to a pandemic like the coronavirus and what we're seeing on the frontlines, it's dire."
"People, unfortunately, are dying because we weren't prepared," he continued. "And I just want to share the message that we're seeing this here in New York City, I'm seeing it in my hospital, I'm seeing it in all hospitals around New York City, we're not prepared. And I want to make sure that the message gets shared with everyone across the country."
‘Detroit is burning right now’: Michigan doctor paints frightening picture of COVID-19 in her city on CNN
A Michigan doctor on Wednesday painted a frightening picture of the coronavirus pandemic's impact on her home city of Detroit.
In an interview with CNN's Jim Sciutto and Poppy Harlow, Dr. Teena Chopra said that Detroit's medical system was getting overwhelmed at the moment.
"The resources are poor," she said of her situation at the Detroit Medical Center. "36 percent of the population are below the poverty line. Lack of education, lack of access to clean water supply -- I think all of these factors are social determinants and play a big role. that's why we're becoming the next epicenter with the trends we are seeing."