A “bogus distraction”: Former Watergate prosecutor calls out Trump's legal team for threatening to file a complaint against Comey
Nick Akerman: “What [Comey] did was totally proper. There was nothing illegal about it”
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From the June 9 edition of CNN's At This Hour with Kate Bolduan:
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KATE BOLDUAN (HOST): And also, it's worth noting that Donald Trump, as Joe noted, is notorious for threatening lawsuits and legal action of many kinds, and many of it never appearing after getting a lot of headlines. But Nick, on this point, the president's response to the [former FBI Director James Comey] hearing this morning, when he sent out that tweet, was, "Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication. Wow, Comey is a leaker." All right, so they're threatening to file a complaint, and he's now calling Comey a leaker and also saying that there are "so many false statements and lies." Is President Trump accusing James Comey of perjury?
NICK AKERMAN: I have no idea what he's accusing him of. I mean, this is not a real estate case. The Supreme Court has basically held in this Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean, that under the whistleblower statute, somebody like Jim Comey had every right to release this information. There was no executive privilege on it because it was a statement made in furtherance of a criminal scheme to obstruct justice.
BOLDUAN: Well, and the president never tried to invoke it going forward, and they said that even before he testified, and they made -- and they said very clearly they weren't going to.
AKERMAN: That's exactly right. And if you look at history here, when [White House counsel] John Dean testified before the U.S. Senate back in 1973, he detailed a whole series of conversations in the Oval Office with the president, with aides. Nobody ever filed a complaint against him. Nobody ever said that he was a leaker. I mean, this whole thing is just a bogus distraction from the fact that now, we have in the record pretty firm evidence that the president was involved in a scheme to obstruct the FBI investigation.
First of all, what [Comey] did was totally proper. There was nothing illegal about it. There was no classified information. He have every right to release that information at any point. Secondly, the idea that Donald Trump was not engaged in a scheme to obstruct justice is absolutely ludicrous based on the overwhelming evidence that we now have under oath and in the public record. One, you've got what Mr. Comey said yesterday about the direction not to try and stop the investigation -- to stop the investigation. But on top of that, you also have [National Security Agency Director Mike] Rogers, Admiral Rogers, who was the national security office saying that -- I mean, he's going to testify under oath that Donald Trump asked him to try and stop the investigation. [Director of National Intelligence Dan] Coats is going to testify that Donald Trump asked him to stop the investigation. And then you've got the complete pretext that's used when James Comey is fired by --
BOLDUAN: Well, they actually dodged those questions under testimony. They dodged those questions.
AKERMAN: They dodged them, but believe me, when they get subpoenaed into a federal grand jury, they're going to provide that testimony. So you've got four pillars to this obstruction of justice case, and once you start getting into more of the facts -- the motive for doing it, the fact that [former national security advisor] Mike Flynn was meeting with the Russians to try and get the sanctions off of Russia based on the Ukraine and based on the meddling in the election -- the motive here is just extraordinary.