In a secret FBI memo obtained by the The New York Times, former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe revealed that the original reason for firing James Comey was to thwart the Russia investigation.
According to the report, the “official” basis for Comey’s firing – his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation – was essentially a “cover story.”
Instead, Trump originally wanted Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to reference the Russia investigation as the rationale for Comey’s removal.
More from The Times:
In the document, whose contents have not been previously reported, Mr. McCabe described a conversation at the Justice Department with the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, in the chaotic days last May after Mr. Comey’s abrupt firing. Mr. Rosenstein played a key role in the dismissal, writing a memo that rebuked Mr. Comey over his handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton.
But in the meeting at the Justice Department, Mr. Rosenstein added a new detail: He said the president had originally asked him to reference Russia in his memo, the people familiar with the conversation said. Mr. Rosenstein did not elaborate on what Mr. Trump had wanted him to say.
To Mr. McCabe, that seemed like possible evidence that Mr. Comey’s firing was actually related to the F.B.I.’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, and that Mr. Rosenstein helped provide a cover story by writing about the Clinton investigation.
This removes all doubt about Trump’s obstruction
The firing of former FBI director James Comey is central to Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice, as The New York Times pointed out.
If there was any doubt after the infamous interview with Lester Holt, in which Trump said he removed Comey because of “this Russia thing,” then Wednesday’s report should remove it.
The reason for Comey’s unexpected firing last year was never about the Hillary Clinton investigation. It was about Trump trying to impede the investigation into his campaign’s possible collusion with Russia.
If this doesn’t constitute obstruction of justice, I’m not sure what does.