House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) could be facing charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice if he worked with the White House to draft the controversial anti-FBI memo, three legal scholars wrote Monday.
Tunes last week refused to say whether he or his staffers worked with the White House on the 3-page document, which alleged surveillance abuses by the FBI in monitoring former Donald Trump campaign aide Carter Page. As chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics Norman Eisen, president of the American Constitution Society Caroline Fredrickson and Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe wrote, if Nunes did indeed work with the White House, it could trigger an obstruction charge.
“By writing and releasing the memo, the chairman may just have landed himself, and his staff members, in the middle of Robert Mueller’s obstruction of justice investigation,” they noted.
Nunes—who worked on Donald Trump’s transition team—“demurred” last week when asking whether he wrote the memo in concert with the White House.
“Given Mr. Nunes’s own close relations to the White House as a former member of the executive committee of the Trump transition team, and his previous history conferring with White House officials on matters under investigation by his committee, it is fair to surmise that his staff, perhaps at his direction, may have coordinated the memo with the White House,” the scholars wroted.
“Such conduct could expose Mr. Nunes and his staff to liability for conspiracy to obstruct justice,” they added.
Eisen, Fredrickson and Tribe pointed to reports indicating Nunes’ memo may have been written as a justification for Trump to fire officials integral to the Trump-Russia investigation—including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
“Endeavoring to stop an investigation, if done with corrupt intent, may constitute obstruction of justice,” they write. “Plotting to assist such action may be conspiracy to obstruct justice.”
“If a member or staff employee of the House Intelligence Committee engaged with the White House to stifle the special counsel inquiry, it would be difficult to see how such collaboration would be considered ‘essential to the deliberations’ of the committee or the House,” the trio noted. “That would look a lot more like orchestrating than legislating.”
According to op-ed, If Trump uses the Nunes memo as a pretext to fire Rosenstein, “that would be dispositive evidence of Mr. Trump’s pattern of obstruction of justice, and Mr. Nunes and his team will have helped make it possible.”
Iran and US trade barbs after drone incident and ahead of new sanctions
The United States on Monday was due to tighten sanctions on Iran as the two countries traded barbs in a tense standoff sparked by Washington's withdrawal from a nuclear deal.
Both nations say they want to avoid going to war, but tensions have spiralled as a series of incidents, including attacks on tankers and the shooting down of a US drone by Iran in the Gulf, raised fears of an unintended slide towards conflict.
On Sunday, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said a US-made MQ9 Reaper "spy drone" -- also widely used for carrying out military strikes -- had encroached his country's airspace on May 26.
John Oliver warns Trump didn’t have an ‘Ebenezer Scrooge moment’ deciding to be ‘good’ — he’s still Trump
The best thing you can say about Donald Trump is that he "maybe hasn't eaten a dolphin before," John Oliver joked on his Sunday episode of "Last Week Tonight."
Oliver warned people that while Trump had a "change of heart" about Iran it was only about Iran. "He didn't have an Ebenezer Scrooge moment, threw open a window and yelled, 'I'm going to be good from now on!'" the host explained. "No, he just didn't bomb some people."
As Fox News explained, the drown that Iran shot down was not simply one from Amazon. Oliver said it wasn't like Trump said, "Alexa, send a drone to surveil Iran." According to Fox's genius analysis, those drones cost actual money.
Donald Trump’s biggest regret is choosing Jeff Sessions as his attorney general
In an interview that aired on Sunday, President Donald Trump told "Meet the Press" that his biggest regret is choosing Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general.
"If you could have one do-over as president, what would it be?" NBC host Chuck Todd asked Trump during their interview.
This article first appeared at Salon.com.After the president replied that his do over would involve "personnel," he elaborated that "I would say if I had one do over, it would be, I would not have appointed Jeff Sessions to be attorney general." When Todd asked Trump to clarify if he thought appointing Sessions was his "worst mistake," the president reiterated "yeah, that was the biggest mistake." He added that Sessions is "very talented" but was cut off by a new line of questioning from Todd before he could elaborate.