NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm told LifeZette that people who claim that President Trump’s contacts with James Comey may constitute obstruction of justice or an impeachable offense don’t know what they are talking about.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) told CNN just that on Wednesday night. From LifeZette:
Ken Boehm, who was a state prosecutor in Pennsylvania in the 1970s and now serves as chairman of the board of directors of the National Legal and Policy Center, said obstruction of justice usually refers to intimidating witnesses or destroying evidence. He said it would not apply to someone asking a law enforcement officer about an investigation unless, perhaps, an overt threat accompanied it.
“Obstruction of justice is a pretty high hurdle,” he said. “Any citizen is welcome to ask any law enforcement person — federal, state, local — ‘Am I the subject of an investigation?’ … Usually, it’s the citizen’s lawyer who asks.”
Boehm said it was up to Comey to determine whether he could answer.
“There is a lot of loose commentary out there by people who just don’t know what the law or the etiquette is,” he said.
Boehm said there is even less to support the notion that it was a conflict of interest. He said former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s impromptu meeting with former President Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac last year — during the investigation of his wife’s handling of classified information — was more troubling.
Boehm said it would be hard to find a precedent for prosecuting under facts similar to the Trump-Comey conversations.
“Really? Name one case in the history of the United States where that got prosecuted,” he said.
Since Blumenthal is raising issues that go the heart of the personal character of President Trump, perhaps we should pay more attention to his own.
As Ray Hernandez reported in the New York Times in 2010, Blumenthal falsely claimed that he served in Vietnam and continued to lie about it for years. A series of deferments allowed Blumenthal to work in the Nixon White House. Ironically, Blumenthal is now claiming that Trumps firing of Comey is “reminiscent” of Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre.
From the May 17, 2010 New York Times:
At a ceremony honoring veterans and senior citizens who sent presents to soldiers overseas, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut rose and spoke of an earlier time in his life.
“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” Mr. Blumenthal said to the group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008. “And you exemplify it. Whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it — Afghanistan or Iraq — we owe our military men and women unconditional support.”
There was one problem: Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records.
The deferments allowed Mr. Blumenthal to complete his studies at Harvard; pursue a graduate fellowship in England; serve as a special assistant to The Washington Post’s publisher, Katharine Graham; and ultimately take a job in the Nixon White House.