While Donald Trump is currently obsessed with stopping a new book that hurts his wittle fee-fees from being published, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is still quietly investigating evidence that he and his campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election. Many speculate that a significant part of the investigation may stem from actions Trump “allegedly” took as president after the investigation was launched by then-FBI Director James Comey.
One of those “alleged” actions was pressuring Comey to sabotage the investigation and then firing the director after he failed to show sufficient “loyalty.” But now The New York Times reports that Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus may have written down the smoking gun while taking notes during a meeting with Trump concerning Comey and the investigation. Of course, Trump and his administration deny that any such coercion took place.
However, the report states that Priebus gave Mueller’s team documents “showing that Mr. Trump talked to Mr. Priebus about how he had called Mr. Comey to urge him to say publicly that he was not under investigation.”
Additionally, the report says: “The president’s determination to fire Mr. Comey even led one White House lawyer to take the extraordinary step of misleading Mr. Trump about whether he had the authority to remove him.”
On Thursday, Rachel Maddow sat down with Michael Schmidt, the Times reporter who broke the story and discussed the broader implications of this new revelation. Here’s what he told her:
What Trump was trying to do is … get his name cleared publicly. Comey, when he was going before Congress, would not say that Trump was not under investigation. He wouldn’t answer the question. But privately, Comey had told Trump that he wasn’t under investigation. So Trump was trying to figure out a way to get this out, and Comey wasn’t going to say it, so he said to the president, “You really need to go through the Justice Department.” So what Trump does is he turns around and tells Priebus about this. Priebus takes down notes from the conversation. … What this does show is … the same thing that Comey was saying in the memos.
— Sean Colarossi (@SeanColarossi) January 5, 2018
So now we have confirmation that Trump did, in fact, pressure Comey to confirm or deny reports that he was a target in the Russia investigation. And while that information by itself may not be enough to prove Trump obstructed justice, there is ever growing evidence moving the needle closer to that conclusion.
Another piece of recently uncovered evidence consists of the new revelation that Trump tried to use U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to shield himself from the investigation, and that the case against him is much stronger than he and his supporters care to admit.
It would be ironic if Priebus, Trump’s former right-hand man, ends up helping contribute to Trump’s downfall not through a deliberate act but instead by just being meticulous. Imagine if Trump’s incompetent presidency is undone because one of his cronies displayed too much competency while doing their job?
Perhaps Trump now wishes he’d made Jared Kushner his Chief of Staff?
Featured image via Drew Angerer / Staff Getty Images