It has been little more than a week since President Donald Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey, and the cloud of suspicions surrounding Comey's dismissal continues to thicken. Despite Trump's continued denial that he did not fire Comey because of his part in the Russia investigations, critics have noted conflicting stories coming out of the White House. While that is cause for concern, the latest scandal appears to be something darker. Comey allegedly kept meticulous notes, according to his associates. One memo in particular has Democrats crying fowl, but could Trump actually be impeached for the Comey memo?
Romper has reached out to the White House for comment and is awaiting a reply.
According to reports by The New York Times and CNN, Comey wrote a detailed memo about a private conversation he had with Trump regarding the investigation into then-national security adviser Michael Flynn. Comey wrote in the alleged memo (which has not been viewed by either news outlet) that Trump asked him during an Oval Office meeting to let the Flynn investigation go. The memo, which was read to a New York Times reporter by an FBI associate, reportedly said:
I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.
News of the Comey memo had many Trump critics crying "Watergate," and calling for Trump to be impeached if he did, indeed, attempt to impede an investigation. In 1972, President Nixon took steps to cover up a wiretapping operation and ended up being impeached. Could Trump go down this road as well? Probably not.
While news of Trump's alleged attempt to interfere with an investigation needs to be looked into, it takes a lot more to bring down a president than a memo. According to federal law 18 U.S.C. 1503, which concerns "influencing or injuring an officer or juror," there would need to be proof that Trump's aim was to "corruptly" influence Comey. However, that doesn't mean the ball hasn't started rolling in the general direction of impeachment. Trump could be impeached for committing “treason, bribery or high crimes and misdemeanors.” A team of legal scholars made a case for Trump's impeachment in Time back in February based on a little known "foreign emoluments" clause which states:
... no person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office or Title of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.
Trump could very well be impeached down the road for a variety of reasons. But the Comey memo might not be one of them. Regardless, the White House issued a statement denying the legitimacy of this memo:
While the president has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn. The president has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies, and all investigations. This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey.
And, it seems, members of his own party are finally sitting up and taking notice of Trump's flagrantly inappropriate behavior. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chair of the House Oversight Committee, has demanded that the FBI turn over all information regarding Trump and Comey by May 24 despite the denial coming out of the White House, in an effort to determine whether such documents “raise questions as to whether the president attempted to influence or impede” an investigation.
Whatever comes of the news of the Comey memo, it probably won't be good for Trump. But impeachment? That could still be a long way off.