Donald Trump’s willful ignorance of the proper functioning of the American political system is getting the better of him. A series of revelations have come out in the relatively short time that Trump has been in office that pin obstruction of justice charges against the president. Now, a new report from Vox underscores just how serious that case actually is.
Two senior federal law enforcement officials tell Vox that former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe informed them and their colleagues that they ought to consider themselves possible witnesses in the obstruction of justice case against Trump and prepare accordingly. McCabe delivered this warning shortly after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to the position of Special Counsel for the Russia scandal.
Additionally, McCabe has reportedly told colleagues that he himself is also a potential witness in the obstruction of justice case against the president.
This report might explain why, seemingly out of the blue, the president seemed hell bent in recent weeks to destroy McCabe’s credibility. Trump lobbed allegations against the FBI official that, even for Trump, were off the edge.
The president claimed in a series of tweets that McCabe was biased because he had helped his wife procure $700,000 from Hillary Clinton. That allegation is false; McCabe’s wife received an amount of money just under $700,000 for her recent run for office from the Hillary-supporting Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe’s PAC. McCabe had nothing to do with the financial transfer, which in turn had nothing to do with Hillary Clinton.
The obstruction of justice case against the president is borne out of reports that, earlier this year, he tried to get then-FBI Director James Comey, along with other top intelligence officials, to take concrete steps towards closing the Russia investigation. Trump has alternated, as he so often does, between flat-out denying the allegations and asserting that for him to have done what he’s alleged to have wouldn’t have been wrong.
One of the senior law enforcement officials speaking to Vox spelled out the grave seriousness of the obstruction of justice case against the president, saying:
‘What you are going to have is the potential for a powerful obstruction case. You are going to have the [former] FBI director testify, and then the acting director, the chief of staff to the FBI director, the FBI’s general counsel, and then others, one right after another. This has never been the word of Trump against what [James Comey] has had to say. This is more like the Federal Bureau of Investigation versus Donald Trump.’
This case is not one of simply Trump’s word versus Comey’s word. Rather, this case will likely include as many as ten different top FBI officials testifying against the president, according to two government investigators speaking to Vox.
Potential witnesses against Trump include, beyond McCabe:
- Jim Rybicki, Comey’s chief of staff
- James Baker, the general counsel of the FBI
- David Bowdich, the FBI’s associate director
- Carl Ghattas, the head of the FBI’s national security division and a legal adviser to McCabe
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions
- Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein
- An unnamed third senior Justice Department official
The FBI officials who are possible witnesses on Comey’s behalf spoke with the former FBI Director in some cases right after his “distressing” communications with the president. Rybicki was literally present for the entirety of one of the phone calls in which Trump tried to pressure Comey into publicly denying the seriousness of the Russia investigation.
The FBI declined to comment on Vox’s report.
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