As the rhetoric in Washington continues to heat up over an evidence free allegation President Trump told former FBI Director James Comey to stop the bureau's investigation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, attorneys familiar with White House scandals and obstruction of justice are telling everyone to take a breath.
"Having served as Assistant Minority Counsel to the late Senators Howard Baker and Fred Thompson, it borders on the absurd to hear the comparisons from a gaggle of politicians and pundits between Watergate and the firing of the FBI Director by President Trump. Leaving aside that numerous Democrats have themselves 'demanded' the firing of Comey and that Comey himself notes that the FBI Director can be fired for 'no reason' at all, the comparisons are not only blatant partisan nonsense, they diminish the historic process which lead to President’s Nixon’s resignation in the summer of 1974," Michael Madigan, former assistant minority counsel on the Watergate Committee said Wednesday.
"Watergate involved a clear crime for which those involved were indicted, tried in a jury trial or pleaded guilty to clear criminal actions. Having missed the mark with such comparisons, this politically driven gaggle has now moved on to argue that our President's suggestion (if there was one) that the FBI should have its priorities in stopping the damaging leaks around classified information and not chasing down a former employee is equally weak and frankly an insult to both Democrats and Republicans who served this country so well at a critical time under the impartial guidance of Senators Ervin and Baker," he continued.
Madigan's comments come after a number of Democrats have called for President Trump's impeachment over the Comey issue.
In an op-ed for The Hill Wednesday, George Washington University Law Professor and Democrat Jonathan Turley all but classified calls for impeachment as laughable.
"If this is food for obstruction of justice, it is still an awfully thin soup. Some commentators seem to be alleging criminal conduct in office or calling for impeachment before Trump completed the words of his inaugural oath of office. Not surprising, within minutes of the New York Times report, the response was a chorus of breathless 'gotcha' announcements. But this memo is neither the Pentagon Papers nor the Watergate tapes," Turley writes. "We need to move beyond the hyperventilated pronouncements of criminal conduct or impeachable offenses based on this memo. This conversation in the Oval Office is a valid matter of concern and worthy of further investigation. It is not proof of an impeachable offense any more than it is proof of a crime."
Meanwhile, the House Oversight and Senate Intelligence Committees have requested the memos Comey allegedly wrote stating President Trump told him to stop the Flynn investigation be turned over for review. Comey has also been asked to testify publicly after rejecting an invitation to brief lawmakers behind closed doors about his firing.
UPDATE: Comey has been invited by the Oversight Committee to testify next Wednesday, May 24.
Officially noticed a hearing for next Wed at 9:30am ET with former FBI Dir Comey. But I still need to speak with him...evidently has a new #— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) May 17, 2017