After a prolonged charade, Donald Trump has now admitted that he never recorded his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey, and thus he never had any tapes. That means Trump was lying when he publicly asserted that there were such tapes, just before Comey was set to testify before Congress. And now Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe has identified the specific law which Trump broke in the process.
Professor Tribe, one of the foremost experts on the Constitution and the law, initially posted this first reaction after Trump admitted there were no tapes: “Is anyone shocked by this BREAKING NEWS? Does anyone fail to see how it tends to show Trump tried to silence Comey?” (link). Tribe then went on to be more specific about the matter: “Trump’s failed bluff “endeavored to impede the due administration of justice” in criminal violation of 18 USC 1503.”
According to the Cornell University law database, 18 USC 1503 is defined in the following manner:
Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, endeavors to influence, intimidate, or impede any grand or petit juror, or officer in or of any court of the United States, or officer who may be serving at any examination or other proceeding before any United States magistrate judge or other committing magistrate, in the discharge of his duty, or injures any such grand or petit juror in his person or property on account of any verdict or indictment assented to by him, or on account of his being or having been such juror, or injures any such officer, magistrate judge, or other committing magistrate in his person or property on account of the performance of his official duties, or corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b). If the offense under this section occurs in connection with a trial of a criminal case, and the act in violation of this section involves the threat of physical force or physical force, the maximum term of imprisonment which may be imposed for the offense shall be the higher of that otherwise provided by law or the maximum term that could have been imposed for any offense charged in such case. link)
So now we can add this crime to the list of others that Donald Trump has committed in the name of trying to cover up his Russia scandal, including obstruction of justice for having fired Comey in the first place. Of course these charges can only be brought by Congress through the impeachment process, meaning that the Democrats may have to take the majority in the midterms before Trump can be ousted for his crimes.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report