Comey: Trump May Be Charged With Obstruction When He Leaves Office

By Susan Jones | May 10, 2019 | 7:23 AM EDT

President Donald Trump whispers to then FBI Director James Comey during an Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Reception at the White House on January 22, 2017. (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)

( - The Mueller report raises "serious questions about whether there's a chargeable case for obstruction and witness tampering against this president," former FBI Director James Comey told a CNN town hall Thursday night.

"Do you think he should be charged when he's out of office?" host Anderson Cooper asked Comey.

"Well, I think the Justice Department will have to take a serious look at that," Comey responded. "Whether it's a wise thing to do to a former president, I don't know, that's a harder question, a much bigger question than the facts of the case."

"But you think the evidence is there to prosecute?" Cooper followed up.

"Sure looks like it's there, with respect to at least a couple of those episodes of obstruction," Comey said.

Comey told the town hall that the president is not above the law: "And I don't accept the notion that because the president is the head of the executive branch, he can't ever obstruct justice in connection with executive branch activities. That's just crazy and a recipe for lawlessness," Comey said.

"So the question is, did the president act in a way that manifested a corrupt intent, not the discharge of his constitutional duties, but a corrupt intent to interfere with an ongoing proceeding or to intimidate or tamper with a witness? That's a factual question. There is a whole lot of facts laid out in Bob Mueller's report that raise serious questions about whether there's a chargeable case for obstruction and witness tampering against this president."

Comey said it "sure looks like" Trump had criminal intent "in connection with a couple of episodes. The direction to Don McGahn to get the special counsel fired is to my mind a flaming example...of corrupt intent.

"And I know even the attorney general has said, well, what the president meant was he wanted Don McGahn to convey his concerns. Well, really? Don McGahn went and called his lawyer, packed his office, and said he was going to quit. I don't think that's the reaction of the White House counsel when it's about 'conveying concerns.'"

On another topic, Comey disagreed with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler who say that Trump has plunged the nation into a "constitutional crisis."

"I actually don't think so. I think we're in a time where our constitutional design, the genius of our Founders is going to be tested. And I think it's up for it," Comey said.

"Congress has made demands, the newly awakened Congress. Thank goodness they're living out the design of the Founders, trying to conduct oversight. The executive is resisting. And that battle is going to be fought out in the courts. All three branches of our government are going to be involved.

A crisis would be if the United States courts say, no, Mr. President, you must comply with this demand, and he says no then. We're not there. Our system is being stress-tested, but it's up for it."

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