Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Transcript of Preet Bharara’s interview about Trump and Comey: A must-read

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Here it is. From the transcript (but there’s a lot more—this is just a bit in the middle):

. . . .STEPHANOPOULOS: One other thing on James Comey. He talked about that encounter with Loretta Lynch and the email investigation. She wanted it described as a “matter.” He wanted it described as an investigation.

He said that made him queasy.

Does that make you queasy, too?

BHARARA: Well, it wasn’t said to me. I think if you’re — if it’s true and you’re listening to it as a third party, it’s not the greatest instruction in the world.

But if I could just say one other point on this issue of whether or not Donald Trump knew what he was doing, and I saw, I think, over the weekend, that Paul Ryan, who is, I think, in line to be president of the United States — he’s in the succession line — has been trying to excuse this behavior — again, putting aside whether it’s obstruction or impeachable — that the president of the United States is new to this and he’s new to protocols makes very, very little sense when the president became the president, in part, by campaigning at rally after rally after rally that I saw and Americans saw, on the issue of whether or not it was appropriate for the former attorney general, Loretta Lynch, to have a meeting on a tarmac with Bill Clinton.

So he very well knew what the optics of that were and what the protocols were. And even though there is no evidence and no one has come forward to say anything untoward was discussed on that airplane at the tarmac, when an ongoing investigation was underway with respect to Hillary Clinton, he nevertheless said this is a reason why you should vote for me and not for that person.

And for people to turn around and say now that there is evidence that the president of the United States himself had a private conversation, after kicking other high officials out of the room and told his FBI director confidentiality to do something about a criminal case that’s pending, I think that’s a big deal. And it can’t be excused as simply being a novice or new.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The president’s defenders, like Alan Dershowitz, say there’s no grounds for obstruction. You talked about that. And he, in fact, says that presidents have the constitutional right to fire FBI directors and investigations as much as they want.

One of the president’s attorneys, Jay Sekulow, is coming up next. He says there’s no there there, no basis for obstruction.

You are a former prosecutor. Is there evidence there that — to begin a case for obstruction?

BHARARA: I think there’s absolutely evidence to begin a case. I think it’s very important for all sorts of armchair speculators in the law to be clear that no one knows right now whether there is a provable case of obstruction. It’s also true I think from based on what I see as a third party and out of government that there’s no basis to say there’s no obstruction.

And this point on whether or not the president has legal authority to fire or to direct an investigation, I don’t really get it. It’s a little silly to me. The fact that you have authority to remove someone from office doesn’t automatically immunize that act from criminal responsibility.

And I’ll give you an example of something from a different context . . .

Written by LeisureGuy

11 June 2017 at 8:22 pm

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