Lawrence O'Donnell argues why new revelations are the clearest comparison to Watergate – and the most visible sign of obstruction of justice – yet.
Lawrence O'Donnell makes case it is Watergate
New reports suggest Donald Trump asked DNI Coats to intervene with James Comey to stop the FBI's Russia probe. Is it now Watergate? O'Donnell thinks so.
Lawrence started his show with an ominous tone in this opening segment.
"We already knew this was going to be the worst week of the Trump presidency so far," Lawrence said. "because James Comey is scheduled to testify on Thursday about President Trump's attempts to get him to stop his FBI investigation and Trump campaign connections to Russia. It was scheduled to be the worst week of the Trump presidency. And now it is going to be much much worse starting tomorrow. Because tomorrow the Senate Intelligence Committee will be hearing testimony from a man who according to tonight's breaking news in the Washington Post, will be able to corroborate James Comey's claim that president Trump was trying to stop, the FBI investigation. The Washington Post report says that President Trump did exactly, and I mean exactly, what Richard Nixon did that led to the beginnings of impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives that then convinced President Nixon that he had to resign or be impeached and removed from office by the Senate."
The Washington Post reported the following.
The nation’s top intelligence official told associates in March that President Trump asked him if he could intervene with then-FBI Director James B. Comey to get the bureau to back off its focus on former national security adviser Michael Flynn in its Russia probe, according to officials.
On March 22, less than a week after being confirmed by the Senate, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats attended a briefing at the White House together with officials from several government agencies. As the briefing was wrapping up, Trump asked everyone to leave the room except for Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo. ...
The president then started complaining about the FBI investigation and Comey’s handling of it, said officials familiar with the account Coats gave to associates. After the encounter, Coats discussed the conversation with other officials and decided that intervening with Comey as Trump had suggested would be inappropriate, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal matters.
The events involving Coats show the president went further than just asking intelligence officials to deny publicly the existence of any evidence showing collusion during the 2016 election, as The Washington Post reported in May. The interaction with Coats indicates that Trump aimed to enlist top officials to have Comey curtail the bureau’s probe.
This is a very dangerous week for the president. He cannot do anything about what he has already done. As such, his faith is now on autopilot. As we work going forward to protect Americans against Trump's draconian policies, we can rest assured that the wheels are turning. It there is some 'there' there, then there is no hiding.
Also published on Medium.