Under what circumstances s it possible for an FBI director to stop an ongoing investigation? Can the president direct an agency to stop an investigation? Is there any safeguard against corruption?
Fast forward to March, when Newsweek reported that Comey wanted to first go public as early as the summer of 2016 about the agency’s information on alleged Russian interference in the presidential campaign. However, Obama administration officials blocked Comey from making public statements, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter speaking to Newsweek.
“The White House shut it down,” one source told the magazine, explaining that Comey had pitched the idea of writing an oped about the subject during a White House Situation Room meeting in June or July.
“He had a draft of it or an outline. He held up a piece of paper in a meeting and said, ‘I want to go forward. What do people think of this?’” the source said. The source told Newsweek the meeting was attended by Secretary of State John Kerry, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and National Security Adviser Susan Rice.
Continued the report:
But many in the room didn’t like the idea, and White House officials thought the announcement should be a coordinated message backed by multiple agencies, the source says. “An op-ed doesn’t have the same stature. It comes from one person.”
"FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY TRIED TO REVEAL RUSSIAN TAMPERING MONTHS BEFORE ELECTION"
* http://www.newsweek.com/fbi-director-ja … ion-576417
This is not the only time a member of the Obama administration reportedly influenced a decision by Comey.
Comey Tried to Shield the F.B.I. From Politics. Then He Shaped an Election.
* https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/22/us/p … .html?_r=1
According to the New York Times, Attorney General Lynch, an Obama appointee, convinced Comey to use the word “matter” instead of “investigation” when the FBI director publicly addressed the criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. This despite the Justice Department knowing the FBI probe was not only an official investigation but a criminal investigation.
Comey reportedly caved in and called the investigation a “matter” even though, according to the Times, Comey was aware of the existence of a document written by a Democratic operative that allegedly indicated Lynch would have protected Clinton in the email probe. The newspaper reported that “Mr. Comey believed (Lynch) had subtly helped play down the Clinton investigation.”
The Times reported on a meeting between FBI and Justice officials at which, according to the newspaper’s characterization, “Lynch told him (Comey) to be even more circumspect: Do not even call it an investigation, she said, according to three people who attended the meeting. Call it a ‘matter.’”
Continued the Times’ report:
Ms. Lynch reasoned that the word “investigation” would raise other questions: What charges were being investigated? Who was the target? But most important, she believed that the department should stick by its policy of not confirming investigations.
It was a by-the-book decision. But Mr. Comey and other F.B.I. officials regarded it as disingenuous in an investigation that was so widely known. And Mr. Comey was concerned that a Democratic attorney general was asking him to be misleading and line up his talking points with Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, according to people who spoke with him afterward.
As the meeting broke up, George Z. Toscas, a national security prosecutor, ribbed Mr. Comey. “I guess you’re the Federal Bureau of Matters now,” Mr. Toscas said, according to two people who were there.
Even though Comey reportedly had concerns about Lynch’s motivations, he went along and did not call the criminal investigation an investigation.
“I am confident we have the resources and the personnel assigned to the matter,” Comey stated mere days after the meeting with Lynch.
Wednesday on CNN’s “AC 360,” Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz insisted the argument that President Donald Trump had obstructed justice with his reported remarks to former FBI Director James Comey was flawed given the president of the United States’ constitutional powers.
Dershowitz explained to host Anderson Cooper that as president, Trump could have instructed Comey not to pursue an investigation against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn or he could have pardoned him and have made the investigation a moot point.
“Well first of all, let’s look at the big constitutional picture,” Dershowitz said. “The president could have told Comey you are commanded, directed to block the prosecution against Flynn. The president has the right to do that. Comey acknowledges that. He says in the statement that historically, historically presidents have done that to the Justice Department. But in the last few years, we’ve had a tradition of separation.”
“But that tradition doesn’t create crime,” he continued. “Remember also what the president could have done – he could have said to Comey, ‘Stop this investigation. I am now pardoning Flynn. That’s what President Bush did in the beginning of the investigation of Casper Weinberger, which could have led back to the White House to the first President Bush, President Bush on the eve of the trial pardoned Casper Weinberger, pardoned six people and special counsel Walsh said, ‘This is outrageous. He’s stopping the investigation. Nobody’s talking about obstruction of justice. You cannot have obstruction of justice when the president exercises his constitutional authority to pardon, his constitutional authority to fire the director of the FBI or his constitutional authority to the director of the FBI who to prosecute, who not to prosecute. So let’s get out of the weeds and let’s look at the big constitutional question.”
“What I am telling you is even if he did want to impede it and if he did impede it, that is his constitutional power,” he added. “He has the right to say, ‘You will not investigate Flynn. The best proof of that is he could have simply said to Comey, ‘Stop the investigation. I just pardoned Flynn. It’s over.’ My precedent – George Bush. He pardoned Weinberger when he could have easily pointed the finger back at Bush.”
* http://www.breitbart.com/video/2017/06/ … authority/
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