Trump obstructed justice in Comey firing, says watchdog group CREW

Trump obstructed justice in Comey firing, says watchdog group CREW
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

A government watchdog group wants a federal investigation into whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice by firing James Comey as head of the FBI.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed its request for a probe with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Friday. 

"Months ago, we called for a special counsel to conduct an unbiased investigation into the Trump-Russia affair," CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement. "Now it unfortunately looks like that the president may be willing to interfere with the FBI's investigation to keep the truth from coming out."

In the statement, the group pointed out that Trump may have entered dangerous territory with his actions, as "federal obstruction of justice statutes prohibit the interfering with an investigation for the purpose of impeding its outcome."

Before he was fired on Tuesday, Comey acknowledged the FBI was investigating possible ties between Team Trump and Russian agents seeking to influence the 2016 election.

On Friday, Trump appeared to threaten Comey personally via Twitter.

"President Trump's statements, together with the reported statements of other senior officials, indicate that the decision to fire Director Comey was made in connection [to that inquiry]," CREW wrote in a letter to Rosenstein.

The letter continued: "[Trump] has consistently made clear ... that he and other White House officials want the investigation to end quickly. The statements suggest [Comey] may have in fact been fired to bring about that result."

Via email, a Justice Department spokesperson declined comment.

According to a CNN report citing Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Rosenstein has said he'd support an independent investigation into potential Trump-Russia collusion.

Schumer spokesperson Matt House said in a Friday email that Rosenstein had confirmed his willingness to brief the full Senate at some point next week.

May 12, 2017, 5:34 p.m.: This story has been updated.

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Celeste Katz

Celeste Katz is senior political correspondent at Mic, covering national politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at celeste@mic.com.

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