If James Comey was hoping to score a slice of sweet revenge by releasing details of his conversation with President Trump, it could very well backfire in a big way.
And it could possibly score the former FBI Director a jail cell.
On a Wednesday afternoon Fox Business appearance, Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert noted that Comey ” “appears” to be “confessing to a crime” if the obstruction of justice allegations surrounding Comey’s memo turn out to be true.
“I’m amazed that an FBI director and former prosecutor would be confessing to a crime the way that it appears that he is,” Gohmert said. “Under the law, anyone who is a lawyer, who is participating in the department of justice who has someone attempt to obstruct justice, has got to be immediately reported.”
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) May 17, 2017
He said that under 18 U.S. Code Section 4, Comey is required by law to report any attempt – including by the president of the United States – to obstruct a federal investigation.
Referring to 18 U.S. Code Section 4, which would have required him to report any obstruction attempt immediately to the Department of Justice, Gohmert said, “If this [memo] happened a couple of months ago then it sounds like he has got to report it immediately and I’ve heard no evidence that he reported that there was someone trying to obstruct justice.”
Instead, Comey seems to have waited until it was “politically expedient” to release the memo’s contents to the press, “which would make it a crime for him,” according to Gohmert.
Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett, who is a former attorney, penned an op-ed called “Comey’s Revenge is a Gun Without Powder” in which he makes the same case.
Under the law, Comey is required to immediately inform the Department of Justice of any attempt to obstruct justice by any person, even the President of the United States. Failure to do so would result in criminal charges against Comey. (18 USC 4 and 28 USC 1361) He would also, upon sufficient proof, lose his license to practice law.
So, if Comey believed Trump attempted to obstruct justice, did he comply with the law by reporting it to the DOJ? If not, it calls into question whether the events occurred as the Times reported it.
Obstruction requires what’s called “specific intent” to interfere with a criminal case. If Comey concluded, however, that Trump’s language was vague, ambiguous or elliptical, then he has no duty under the law to report it because it does not rise to the level of specific intent. Thus, no crime.
There is no evidence Comey ever alerted officials at the Justice Department, as he is duty-bound to do. Surely if he had, that incriminating information would have made its way to the public either by an indictment or, more likely, an investigation that could hardly be kept confidential in the intervening months.
Appearing briefly on Tucker Carlson Tonight Wednesday, Jarrett reiterated his case, saying that Comey has put himself in a legal box. The former FBI director can call it an “uncomfortable and difficult conversation,” but unless he wants to land himself in jail he’ll likely testify that it didn’t rise to the level of obstruction.
Otherwise, he is looking at “criminal charges and time in prison.”
Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BizPac Review.
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