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Are These Crimes?

We have moved from some biting remarks from critics about our new President to what might be a discussion of potentially serious crimes. Consider the charge of Obstruction of Justice for investigations into among others, potential Traitorous Acts against our Country. Add to that possible Perjury and you are talking about some serious discussion. Here is my understanding of the background:

1. Acting Attorney General Sally Yates advised the White House of false testimony by National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to the Vice President, The White House fired Yates, but they said it was because she refused to defend an unconstitutional Executive Order (upheld by 2 federal courts as unconstitutional). When the White House found the FBI continued to investigate Flynn (and the Trump Campaign), they fired Flynn, but it was 18 days later. During those 18 days, Flynn had complete access to confidential information of the U.S. government, which could be include committing crimes against our country. By firing Yates during her investigation; and also waiting 18 days to fire Flynn after disclosure of his lying to the Vice President, could both be obstructions of justice.

2. Veteran Director of the FBI James Comey stated publicly his office was continuing their investigation of the Trump Campaign and unlawful influence by the Russians in our 2016 Presidential Campaign. Allegedly the President told his Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Deputy Attorney General to find a reason to fire Comey, after a presentation to Congress. The White House said Comey was fired because he was not respected at the FBI. The Deputy Attorney General said that was not the case. Incredibly, the President told NBC News in a taped interview that he was thinking about the FBI investigation of his campaign and the Russian connection when he decided to fire Comey. Sources said Comey refused to pledge loyalty to Trump, after being asked by Trump to do so. The President said he alone had decided to fire Comey. That action could be an obstruction of justice of an investigation into potential crimes, if proven that obstructing the investigation was the reason the President fired Comey.

It should be pointed out that both Yates and Comey serve at the pleasure of the President. But, that 'executive office privilege' does not permit the obstruction of justice. If the reason for the firings is proven to be to block the investigations, there could be a crime committed.

3. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, under oath, he did not meet with the Russian Ambassador during the campaign, pursuant to a question from a Senator during his confirmation. He later said he forgot that he did meet with the Ambassador, twice. This could be Perjury.

4. HHS Secretary Tom Price was said to potentially have benefited financially from his legislative work in the Congress. This was being investigated by the U. S. Attorney Preet Bharara, before being fired by the Trump Administration. Nothing further has been heard of the investigation.. Firing a person conducting a lawful investigation into a potential unlawful act could be obstruction of justice, unless the investigation continues by another U. S. Attorney.

The Senate and House Intelligence Committees, and the FBI are separately investigating whether these are crimes.

As a note on the oft discussed violation of Article I of the Constitution dealing with Emoluments by President Trump, research is now clear. The language prohibits the President taking money from a foreign state. Since Trump will not place his assets in an independent trust, as other Presidents have done, foreigners using or staying at his various properties generate profits that flow directly to Trump. For litigation to be successful, an aggrieved party must have standing by losing profits to Trump. Most lawyers say competitors (private or public) could demonstrate lost profits from Trump's action. It is said that litigation is coming by aggrieved parties with standing, which experts say could be ironclad, since it violates the Constitution. Even if unsuccessful, the litigation would probably force Trump to release his financial records and tax returns, which could be even more damaging to the President.

Lastly, the President misfired with his threat against Comey of using a possible taping of their conversation about loyalty. Reportedly Comey said he did not object for Trump to play them, suggesting his belief in his innocence..' Now the Congress is going to subpoena any such tapes, just as happened in Watergate 43 years ago. In that case, the action by the President was proven to be a crime.

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