Trump Launched Campaign to Discredit Potential FBI Witnesses
President Donald Trump sought to start a campaign to discredit FBI agents who he feared could testify against him in Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigation, according to a report by Murray Waas in Foreign Policy. Although Fox News et. al may yell (again) “Fake News!” it fits into recent reporting about Trump, as well as into the overall feeling of the blockbuster Richard Wolffe book “Fire and Fury.”
President Donald Trump pressed senior aides last June to devise and carry out a campaign to discredit senior FBI officials after learning that those specific employees were likely to be witnesses against him as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, according to two people directly familiar with the matter.
In testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, recently fired FBI Director James Comey disclosed that he spoke contemporaneously with other senior bureau officials about potentially improper efforts by the president to curtail the FBI’s investigation of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Mueller is investigating whether Trump’s efforts constituted obstruction of justice.
Not long after Comey’s Senate testimony, Trump hired John Dowd, a veteran criminal defense attorney, to represent him in matters related to Mueller’s investigation. Dowd warned Trump that the potential corroborative testimony of the senior FBI officials in Comey’s account would likely play a central role in the special counsel’s final conclusion, according to people familiar with the matter.
In discussions with at least two senior White House officials, Trump repeated what Dowd had told him to emphasize why he and his supporters had to “fight back harder,” in the words of one of these officials.
In a brief conversation Friday afternoon, Dowd denied the accounts of administration officials contained in this story as “flat-out wrong,” but he also refused to discuss what details were incorrect. “My advice to the president is confidential,” he told Foreign Policy.
“You don’t know me,” Dowd added. “You don’t how I lawyer, and you don’t know what I communicated to the president and what I did not.”
A whole string of reports and events now suggest Trump has been trying to throw a monkey wrench into or completely derail Mueller’s investigation. Unlike some, I hold out little hope that the present GOP Congress would act on impeachment if Mueller suggests it — assuming Trump doesn’t fire Mueller. And if it comes to a vote, I predict Trump will not be brought down by an impeachment vote but prevail on the vote. The GOP’s role in helping enable and cover for Trump is unlikely to change. This ain’t 1974.