On MSNBC, Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Says Trump Firing Comey Could Indicate A “Potential Obstruction Of Justice”

Nick Ackerman: If Trump “Was Intending To Stop This Investigation Into The Russian Connection ... That Is Enough To Charge Somebody With Obstruction Of Justice”

From the May 12 edition of MSNBC's MSNBC Live:

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KATY TUR (HOST): James Comey is investigating the Trump campaign, it has to do with Trump, he's admitted that he is thinking about Russia when he thought about firing him. What are the legal ramifications? Are there any legal ramifications for that?

NICK ACKERMAN: Extremely serious legal ramifications. What we're really talking about is the potential obstruction of justice of the ongoing federal investigation. I mean, you've got a sitting president who is under investigation to some extent. I don't care what he puts in his letter or what he says.

The bottom line is he is, at minimum, a subject of the investigation. It was his campaign, the people work for him. He claims to be the great manager of all people, so he is obviously a subject of an investigation. He invites the head of the FBI over for dinner which in itself is probably inappropriate if they're going to be talking about the Russian investigation. And then, to demand from him loyalty is completely over the top. I mean, it's almost like asking, “Are you going to go to the mat for me?”

I mean, just to give you an example, in Watergate you had people like that, like G. Gordon Liddy who would sit -- who actually called up Jeb Magruder at one point when all of this came out, and said “I will be standing on a certain corner of Washington, D.C., and you can send a hit squad by to knock me off.” That's the kind of loyalty that Trump is trying to extract.

TUR: And as if there wasn't enough reference to Nixon, today he talked about having tapes in the White House. But beyond that, you said there are serious legal ramifications. What would be the next step in order for prosecutors to pursue those legal consequences?

ACKERMAN: Well, it really comes down to Trump's intent, you know, what was his intent in trying to -- was he trying to stop this investigation? Was he trying to scuttle it? For whatever reason, if he was intending to stop this investigation into the Russian connection with his campaign, that is enough to charge somebody with obstruction of justice. It's a 10-year felony. It's extremely serious.


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