Congressman Goodlatte is currently leading a Congressional delegation on a tour of the Balkans, and may be somewhat out of the loop. But John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, made sure he got a copy of a letter that Conyers and Elijah Cummings, ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, sent Friday to White House counsel Donald McGahn.
President Trump took to Twitter earlier today to threaten former FBI Director James Comey, stating that he “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
Under Section 1512 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, it is a crime to intimidate or threaten any potential witness with the intent to influence, delay, or prevent their official testimony.
The President’s actions this morning—as well as his admission yesterday on national television that he fired Director Comey because he was investigating Trump campaign officials and their connections to the Russian government—raise the specter of possible intimidation and obstruction of justice. The President’s actions also risk undermining the ongoing criminal and counter-intelligence investigations and the independence of federal law enforcement agencies.
We believe Congress should immediately seek the testimony of Director Comey to better understand the circumstances surrounding these events, although no House Committee Chairman has yet agreed to any such hearings.
Under normal circumstances, we would not consider credible any claims that the White House may have taped conversations of meetings with the President. However, because of the many false statements made by White House officials this week, we are compelled to ask whether any such recordings do in fact exist. If so, we request copies of all recordings in possession of the White House regarding this matter.
We also request all documents, memoranda, analyses, emails, and other communications relating to the President’s decision to dismiss Director Comey—a decision which the President declared yesterday he planned to make “regardless of [the Deputy Attorney General’s] recommendation”—and all discussions with Director Comey.
It would be nice to believe that Goodlatte is as eager to get to the bottom of the strange events and contradictory explanations surrounding the Comey firing as he was to prosecute Hillary Clinton for perjury. We’ll have to wait and see.