Drip, Drip, Drip: Now We Learn That Trump Launched a Scheme to Discredit Potential FBI Witnesses Last June
And here’s your Friday bombshell, courtesy of Foreign Policy this time: Trump Launched Campaign to Discredit Potential FBI Witnesses.
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.
It is not improper, but in fact is a duty, for an attorney to explain to a client how they are at risk, the source said. What may have been improper, however, were actions Trump took upon learning that information.
Since Dowd gave him that information, Trump — as well as his aides, surrogates, and some Republican members of Congress — has engaged in an unprecedented campaign to discredit specific senior bureau officials and the FBI as an institution.
Trump’s lawyer is, naturally, denying this report. But with this gang of scoundrels, that only tends to make the report more credible.
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 [know] how I lawyer, and you don’t know what I communicated to the president and what I did not.”