Well, first of all, Donald Trump was in the Oval Office with Attorney General Sessions, then-FBI Director James Comey, and other top staffers. Hen then chose to demand a private conversation with Comey. During this private conversation, he told Comey to drop the investigation in Michael Flynn. I won’t play with words like “hope” or Trump’s previous comments about “seeing your way to” or Trump’s other comments about wanting Comey to stay on as FBI Director because, no matter what Trump said, it’s clear that, especially given Trump’s egotism, he felt he had the ability to, if even through innuendo, to find a way to get Comey to drop the investigation, even without really asking him to. Trump has violated numerous laws within his lifetime, including forcing contractors to accept pennies on the dollar for work they’ve done for his real estate company, all by getting a legal team to encourage, not force, that the contractor would be better off not fighting the almighty Trump. So, it’s very likely Trump felt he could find a way to get Comey to do it without explicitly violating a law in the course of asking Comey to do so. He’s done it dozens, if not hundreds, of times before in his career.
Essentially, he said: You have a nice job as FBI Director. It’d be a shame if something happened to it. I “hope” you do the right thing because I wouldn’t want you to end up in a bad way.
Those words aren’t illegal, but anyone and everyone knows what they mean, and the threatening nature of those words is illegal.
Given the fact that Comey was fired, we’re all vindicated because we all know what these words mean. He was fired because Trump didn’t feel that he could be trusted to blindly loyal to Trump at any and all times in the future. It was a test. Plain and simple. He was asking for a pledge of loyalty.
In fact, this wasn’t the first time Trump fired someone for being disloyal. He fired Preet Bharara for not pledging loyalty to Trump when he was still the U.S. Attorney in New York. In fact, Trump called U.S. Attorney Bharara several times, which is clearly a breach of protocol between law enforcement and the Executive Branch. It’s long been held that Justice cannot be upheld via independent investigations if those with the power to fire investigators have the ability to or even a hint of the ability to influence such investigations. Trump’s repeated phone calls to Bharara were more than a hint. Furthermore, when Bharara’s office pushed back, telling Trump that it is highly inappropriate to contact Bharara’s office for anything at all, Bharara was fired less than 24 hours later. 22 hours, to be exact. So, it’s clear that Trump, walking around in his bathrobe late at night in the White House residence, was plotting out a way to ensure that everyone would be completely loyal to him, blindly loyal in fact.
So, it’s clear he’s a bad guy, but did he obstruct Justice? This is what Robert Mueller has to prove. Is there something in the Constitution that enumerates a punishable infraction?