Did the White House just provide grounds for impeachment?



At first we were told that President Trump fired FBI Director Jim Comey because of a persuasive memo from Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein about Comey's behavior. That was the first version of the story. The second version of the story is that Trump intended to fire Comey anyway, because now, four months after becoming President, he realized that Comey's behavior last July in the Hillary Clinton investigation was improper.

And now we have a third version of the story. A leaked report indicates that President Trump fired Comey not because of Rosenstein, not because of Hillary, but because of "the Russia thing", and amazingly, the White House has confirmed that this is true! Let me say that again: this is not a rumor, this is not fake news. The White House has publically admitted that Trump fired Comey because of the Russia probe.

President Trump told Russian officials in the Oval Office this month that firing the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, had relieved “great pressure” on him, according to a document summarizing the meeting.

“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

The White House document that contained Mr. Trump’s comments was based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office and has been circulated as the official account of the meeting. One official read quotations to The Times, and a second official confirmed the broad outlines of the discussion.

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, did not dispute the account. In a statement, he said that Mr. Comey had behaved politically and put unnecessary pressure on the president’s ability to conduct diplomacy with Russia on matters such as Syria, Ukraine and the Islamic State.

So the White House's third version of why Trump fired Comey is because the investigation into Russian connections into the White House was hampering Trump's diplomacy with Russia. Does anyone reading this think that Trump's negotiations with Russia were hampered in any way by this investigation? The answer is no.

But by admitting that Comey was fired because of this investigation, Trump can be accused of obstruction of justice, because now we have the White House, on the record, saying that Comey was fired to derail the Russia investigation. Look at what Trump said (and Spicer doesn't deny he said): “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

Trump's own words could be used in impeachment proceedings against him.

It's amazing that details like this would leak--after all, the details of Trump's meeting with the Russians were only known by senior White House officials. People at the highest levels of the White House are leaking against the President. I think they are seeing the writing on the walls and think he will be removed from office.

I mean, just look at quotes like this:

Trump’s repeated media missteps have frustrated even longtime supporters. “Every day he looks more and more like a complete moron,” said one senior administration official who also worked on Trump’s campaign. “I can’t see Trump resigning or even being impeached, but at this point I wish he’d grow a brain and be the man that he sold himself as on the campaign.”

Meanwhile, Vice President Pence has started a PAC and is raising money independently, highly unusual for a sitting Vice President, unless he is suddenly running for President. White House lawyers have begun researching the mechanism of impeachment. Is it any wonder that they are, given the admission we just saw today from the White House?

I don't know if Donald Trump will be impeached or removed from office. But for the first time, I can see a clear way it might happen, using the President's own admissions against him.



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