The United States Intelligence Community has revealed that the government of Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election. Russia was in support of Donald Trump, and its president supported a campaign that interfered with the democratic process of the United States. The campaign was to harm Clinton who lost to Trump by hacking emails, with an aim of interfering with the electoral process. The office of the Director of National Intelligence ODNI’s reports revealed that the Russian military intelligence service GRU hacked the servers of the Democratic National Committee (Apuzzo, Rosenberg, & Huettemanf, 2017). In addition, they did the same with the personal email account of John Pondesta who served as Clinton campaign chair and forwarded the content to WikiLeaks. However, officials from Russia continue denying the claims of the abovementioned actions with the information belonging to Clinton. The country is now thus blamed for interfering with American’s democracy by hacking and leaking the campaign emails for the Democratic presidential candidate Clinton, while President Trump is accused of obstructing justice and interfering with investigations.
Several questions emerge as to whether there was obstruction of justice and the relevant facts, which should be investigated further. The public can also be involved to provide evidence that President Trump tried to impede investigations of Michael Flynn. For instance, the circumstances under, which the FBI Director James Comey was fired by Trump, are suspicious. It would reveal whether the President obstructed justice or not. Any attempt to stop an investigation can be taken as a form of impediment, since firing stops the person from engaging in further investigations (Apuzzo et al., 2017). The conduct can also be taken as threatening; corruptly parading a witness and intimidating people can provide more grounds for obstruction charges. The people on the side of the President can argue that expressing hope that an ongoing investigation may end is quite vague to constitute an obstruction. The former FBI director’s interpretation of the President’s hope he would drop the investigation into Flynn was taken as an instruction of dropping the case (Apuzzo et al., 2017). In addition, misleading conduct and possible cover-ups attempts can also be said to be further evidence of obstruction. For instance, fabrication of an initial justification for firing Comey and the statements by Trump on reasons he met with a Russian lawyer during the presidential campaigns can be considered to be the cases of impediment.
The firing of an FBI director raises an alarm, even if the President is lawfully authorized to take such an action on leaders. He can as well do something with unlawful intentions of obstructing proceedings that may damage his reputation. However, the President can argue that he had no criminal intention of justice obstruction, since he had a good reason of exercising his authority for directing the law enforcement resources or firing the head of FBI (Berke, Bookbinder, & Eisen, 2017). President Trump’s motivation of the actions he took is not clear, and more investigations are needed to establish the fact, since the act can signify bad intentions of covering up on his campaign, family, or aides. Muller has many options after completing investigations such as referring the case to Congress; he could also obtain an indictment of President Donald Trump and go on with the prosecution (Apuzzo et al., 2017). The Constitution states that no one is above the law and since the President may not be indicted while in office, prosecution can be reserved until he completes his term by use of a sealed indictment.
The Steele dossier by Christopher Steele was reported to have unverified material about President Trump and the allegations of multiple contacts that occurred between the officials from Russia and Trump’s close team. Some of them included Carter Page, Michal Flynn, and Michael Cohen, although many of the individuals mentioned in the dossier claim that it is based on false information (Berke et al., 2017). The statement by President Trump expressing hope can be considered critical. For instance a high ranking military official conveyed the President’s wishes to the sub-ordinate. It can be constructed as orders to interfere with investigations on General Flynn. The President put a lot of emphasis on his loyalty to Comey and requested for similar gesture. This fact can be taken as an influence to make Comey drop the investigation for him to become favored by the President. Trump also applauded General Flynn and called him “a good guy” to make him be on his side. When the President wanted to speak to Comey, he cleared the room of other personnel and closed the door. However, former FBI Director documented everything that happened and ensured privacy of the information. Powerful individuals have great capability of influencing investigations. Courts normally consider a person’s position of power to be of great relevance in determining whether someone used power for violation of an obstruction law. The President may deny that he asked for loyalty from Comey to win his favor. President Trump used his powerful position to ensure that subordinates stop investigating areas that could lead to reputation damage. The reaction can also be argued that it threatened the potential employment of the FBI Director (Politico Magazine, 2017). The perceptions of Comey on the statements indicate are quite persuasive on the intentions of Trump and the message he wanted to convey. His interpretation of the phrase ‘hope’ is that the President wanted the investigation on Flynn dropped which focused on the conversations with Russian ambassador in December. Therefore, Comey understood that the aim of the President’s statement attempted to impede investigations. If even if some comments may have some legal grounds, it cannot be assumed that he did not obstruct justice. His action of firing the FBI Director and stopping investigations are a persuasion of the law. His statements are misleading, especially his explanation of the reason for meeting to discuss an adoption program. It was a plan to cover up the purpose of obtaining damaging information for his opponent Clinton. Referring the investigation as witch-hunt can be associated with an attempt to impede criminal and congressional proceedings. The Federal Code does not define collusion as crime, but considers conspiracy as crime under 18 USC Sec. 137 (Berke et al., 2017). In the United Sates, conspiracy must involve two or more people to violate the law or defraud the country.
President Trump’s course of action such as firing of the FBI Director Comey is questionable as to whether it is aimed at obstructing justice. The Trump’s team is quite worried about the probe by Mueller on the influence of Russia on the US 2016 election (Politico Magazine, 2017). The collusion leading to hacking and leaking of internal emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee resulted into sacking of some officials such as the FBI Director. It covers election crimes like conspiracy such as the Trump’s team violating campaign finance laws by receiving assistance from foreigners. Other crimes include intimidation of witnesses, obstruction of justice, perjury, and threats to investigators. Donald Trump is in danger for violation of campaign finance laws and interfering with investigations (Politico Magazine, 2017). Trump accused Mueller of hiring people close to Hilary Clinton to who have a bias against his administration. However, some legal experts believe that it is not likely for the biases to affect the investigation. The President seems to be playing some political games with the accusations and other tactics of interference.
President Donald Trump is denying collusion with the Russian government which occurred in 2016 during the election campaigns. However, there was revelation that his son, campaign chairperson, and son-in-law met with a Russian lawyer. The lawyer promised damaging information about Hilary Clinton; thus, the accusations are valid. Suspicion on the investigations arose, when the campaign chair, Paul Manafort, emerged to help in encouraging assistance from Russians. He is also known for doing business with corrupt regimes such as Ukraine and Philippines. President Trump and his confidant keep convincing Americans not to pay any attention to the allegations associating him with Russia. Terming it as fake news and completely fabricated, the investigations should be ignored and treated as rumors. The scandal tints the image of the President, despite his claims that everything has been falsified. Although President Trump denies the allegations, his actions such as firing the FBI chair and interfering with investigations obstruct justice.