“In any high-stakes matter, you are going to want to talk to anyone in the vicinity of a conversation,” says law professor Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor. “It doesn’t mean that they end up as trial witness. But at an investigative stage, you are going to talk to all of these people. You want their stories locked in. You want to know if what they have to say would help you or hurt you.”Watch More on CNBC
“… The statute is pretty clear that it`s a federal crime to solicit a campaign contribution from a foreign source,” says law professor Samuel Buell. “It`s pretty clear that anything of value can count as a campaign contribution and certainly opposition research is something that`s routinely paid for in the political world, and this could be something of value.”
“Collusion, of course, is not a legal thing. The question of the underlying crime here might be tricky, and would include possible violation of campaign contribution laws. But if there is an underlying campaign violation in play legally, the email and meeting are very strong evidence of a nascent conspiracy and attempt to commit such an offense,” says law professor Samuel Buell.Read More in Politico
“Anytime you are talking about coordinating or collusion, you are talking about the possibility of conspiracy charges,” says law professor Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor. “But conspiracy is not a crime that floats by itself in the air. There has to be an underlying federal offense that is being conspired to be committed.”Read More in The New York Times
Investigators looking into whether Trump’s team worked with Russia to win the White House could go down a path defined by other showdowns, where there’s little history beyond Watergate or Monica Lewinsky to guide them. “A set of two precedents is not a big set of precedents,” says law professor Samuel Buell. “You also have to say whatever the Trump story ends up being, it’s probably going to be something else.”Read More in Politico
Law professor Samuel Buell says testimony last week from former FBI Director James Comey provided enough information to lead the special investigator in the Russia election meddling probe to “take a very hard look” at possible obstruction of justice committed by President Trump.Watch More on MSNBC
If one believes James B. Comey’s account of his encounters with President Trump, it could present a prosecutable case of obstruction of justice, several former prosecutors said Thursday. But they also cautioned that little is normal about this situation. “We have examples all the time in criminal law of people saying things only slightly subtly, where everyone understands what is meant — ‘Nice pair of legs you got there; shame if something happened to them,’” says law professor Samuel Buell.
Law professor Samuel Buell says Comey’s testimony “greatly sharpened the focus” on questions surrounding the obstruction of justice controversy that now sits on President Trump’s doorstep. “All the other events lend emphasis, meaning and context to that event but that event is the real issue,” he says of Trump’s Feb. 14 Oval Office meeting during which the president allegedly pulled Comey aside and suggested the FBI director should “let this go” concerning the Flynn probe.Read More in Politico
Fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony Thursday before a Senate panel offered near certainty that President Trump is under investigation for obstruction of justice, says a Duke law professor. “The hearing greatly sharpened the focus of this matter onto whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice when he isolated FBI Director Comey after a White House meeting and pressured him to drop an active criminal investigation for no proper purpose,” says law professor Samuel Buell.
The question is whether Trump sought to use the weight of his office to stifle a criminal investigation to protect a friend, or to protect himself, over and above the national interest. “I think the most important thing that’s going to happen is we’re going to get a sense of the feel and flavor of the conversations that took place, at least some of them, between the president and Comey,” says law professor Samuel Buell.
The special counsel investigating possible ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia’s government has taken over a separate criminal probe involving former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. “That investigation … (has) a number of tentacles and offshoots that involves conduct over a fairly lengthy period of time involving a lot of people,” says Law professor Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor.Read More at AP/CBS News
Law professor Samuel Buell says he is convinced that if former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the newly named special prosecutor in the Trump-Russia investigation, believed he needed Trump’s tax returns, he would seek them and get them quickly. “It’s hard to imagine an individual connected with federal law enforcement still alive in the United States with his stature,” Buell says.Read More in Politico