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
The testimony of fired FBI Director James Comey, possibly next week, will be a crucial turning point. “This is an iceberg where we still don’t really know how big it is,” says law professor Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor. “Were there other conversations (between Trump and Comey)? Were there other memos? It’s not going to get any better for the president at this point.”Read More in The Globe And Mail
Law professor Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor who led the Justice Department’s Enron task force, was initially skeptical about whether the mere firing of FBI Director James Comey could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that President Trump had an improper mental state. But he says subsequent revelations have made the evidence much more robust. “The evidence of improper purpose has gotten much stronger since the day of Comey’s firing,” he says.Read More in The New York Times
Donald Trump fired James Comey after asking him to drop the FBI investigation of Michael Flynn raises the spectre of obstruction of justice. Law professor Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor, talks about the legal issues surrounding possible obstruction of justice.Watch More on MSNBC
“… It’s not legal to use tapes to try to intimidate a witness,” says law professor Samuel Buell about President Trump’s threat that fired FBI Director James Comey “better hope that there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press.” Adds Buell: “It wouldn’t even be legal to pretend to have tapes in an effort to intimidate a witness. And what we need at this point is an investigation to look into this and certainly one of the first things that any prosecutor would do in this situation is to subpoena any tapes to find out whether they exist.”Read More at CNN