During testimony Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, former FBI Director James Comey provided the strongest indication yet that President Trump is under investigation for possible obstruction of justice.
That comment came in the context of a discussion about former Trump campaign adviser and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was pushed out of the White House amid an active FBI investigating into his lies about pre-inauguration communications with Russian officials.
In his written testimony, released Wednesday, Comey writes that during a meeting the president the day after Flynn’s firing, Trump indirectly asked him to quash the Flynn probe, telling him, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
With regard to that incident, Senate Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr (R-NC) asked Comey if he thought “the president was trying to obstruct justice or just seek for a way for Mike Flynn to save face, given he had already been fired.”
“Flynn at that point in time was in legal jeopardy,” Comey replied. “There was an active FBI criminal investigation of his statements in connection with the Russian contacts and the contacts themselves, and so that was my assessment at the time.”
Comey then suggested that the question of whether Trump obstructed justice is part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
“I don’t think it is for me to say whether the conversation I had with the president was an effort to obstruct,” Comey said. “I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that’s a conclusion I’m sure the special counsel will work toward: to try and understand what the intention was there and whether that’s an offense.”
Flag: Comey doesn't want to opine on Trump trying to obstruct, but says "That's a conclusion I'm sure the special counsel will work toward." pic.twitter.com/0WVe6dTN8t
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 8, 2017
Comey reportedly cleared his testimony with Mueller beforehand. His comments to Burr are the strongest indication yet that the president himself is now under investigation.
Numerous legal experts believes that if Trump truly did ask Comey to end the Flynn investigation, directly or otherwise, that could constitute obstruction of justice.
While attempting to mount a defense of President Trump, Republicans have seized upon Comey’s revelation that he told Trump on three occasions that he was not personally under FBI investigation. Comey later clarified that those statements were true at the time he made them, but not necessarily now.