Trump’s Comey Memo Shows His Top Advisers Conspiring To Obstruct Justice With Him

As I’ve written before, the case against Donald Trump for obstruction of justice is already strong and overwhelming. The latest story describing Trump’s original memo outlining his reasons for firing James Comey simply adds to that mountain of evidence that already exists.

To my mind, the real news in that story lies in the fact that it confirms that virtually all of Trump’s current senior advisers as well as Sessions and Rosenstein in the DOJ are complicit in a conspiracy that enabled Trump’s obstruction of justice. The original memo, which people who have seen it described as a “screed”, was crafted by Trump at his New Jersey golf club with the help and advice of Steven Miller and Jared and Ivanka Trump. All three of them knew that Trump wanted to fire Comey in order to stop the Russia investigation, as the memo makes clear. Poor Jared is already in trouble for his potential felony violations in lying on his security clearance about his contacts with the Russians as well as his incomplete financial disclosure form. In addition, there are potential crimes with Jared using his position in the White House as a vehicle for trying to solicit investors for his failing investment in 666 Fifth Avenue, a misadventure that could bring down the entire Kushner Cos. organization. This potential conspiracy to obstruct justice will only add to his legal woes.

From there, the memo was passed on to White House Counsel Don McGahn and Vice President Mike Pence. McGahn clearly understood that the rationale for firing Comey depicted in the memo could create legal problems for Trump. McGahn was able to stop Trump from firing Comey and releasing the memo at that time. Instead, he delayed Trump’s announcement and met the next day with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. They were already upset with Comey’s testimony in front of Congress in the preceding days. McGahn gave Sessions and Rosenstein the original Trump memo, outlining the President’s thoughts. The next day, Rosenstein prepared the memo claiming that was eventually used as the pretext for firing Comey, namely that he had overstepped his authority in handling the Clinton email investigation. That was a true totalitarian twist in that Comey’s handling of the email issue was what got Trump elected.

McGahn’s actions certainly make him a potential target in the conspiracy to obstruct justice as he was apparently the one who recognized the potential legal issues the original memo presented and was instrumental in finding a more “legal” pretext for Comey’s firing. Whether or not his actions are covered by attorney-client privilege is unclear. It also brings Pence, who for months has peddled the line that Trump fired Comey because of his botching the email investigation, into the conspiracy as well. There are already questions about whether Pence was well aware of Mike Flynn’s various foreign dealings and allowed them to continue long before he “discovered” Flynn was lying to him, which then became the basis for Flynn’s firing.

The fact that both Sessions and Rosenstein also saw the memo brings them into the conspiracy as well. Sessions, in particular, is particularly vulnerable as he had supposedly recused himself from anything to do with the Russian investigation, a recusal that he seems to obey or ignore depending on what works best for him. It may even be more problematic for Rosenstein as he could potentially become a witness in an obstruction of justice case that he is legally overseeing. It certainly puts his independence into question, especially should Mueller eventually be fired as well.

It’s also interesting to note that the two advisers who apparently voiced the most opposition to firing Comey, Steve Bannon and Reince Preibus, have both been also fired by Trump. Their opposition probably reflects the recognition of the real world consequences. But it is also interesting that Miller, who is considered a Bannon protégé, apparently pushed Trump hard to fire Comey, reflecting a split, at least on this issue, between protégé and mentor.

In summary, the story of Trump’s original memo firing Comey brings Miller, Jared, Ivanka, McGahn, Pence, Sessions, and Rosenstein into potential legal jeopardy. Besides the generals and the ineffective Tillerson, that is nearly all of the close political advisers Trump currently has left. Trump is already pretty isolated, now feuding with Congressional Republicans. And in the White House, his only close advisers left are the ones in on his conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Originally published at on September 5, 2017.