On Wednesday morning at least five people were injured while members of a Republican congressional baseball team were practicing at VA Park. In what appears to be a very deliberate attack, Steve Scalise was shot in the hip and is now being treated at a local hospital. Scalise’s congressional aide was also injured.
Kendall Coffey stated that federal hate crimes do not include political affiliation or political beliefs. But a separate provision, Section 351, makes it a federal crime to kill, attempt to kill or assault a member of Congress. This law was applied when Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in Arizona in 2011.
U.S. Capitol Police took the gunman down. The FBI became involved at 9:30 a.m. this morning.
James Comey‘s bombshell testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday raised new legal questions about the propriety and legality of both Comey and President Trump‘s conduct and the future of the Russia election meddling investigation.
Here’s what Kendall Coffey told ABC News.
Do FBI agents have a legal duty to report a potential crime? In other words, did Comey have a duty to inform Congress or the Attorney General of his concerns about Trump, if he thought it amounted to obstruction of justice?
No, said multiple experts. However, “there is the oath of office that obligates agents to uphold and enforce the law, which is a more general obligation,” said former U.S. attorney Kendall Coffey, who agreed that there is no specific statute requiring a federal agent to report a potential crime.
How will James Comey respond when asked point blank if President Donald J. Trump was trying to obstruct the Russia investigation? It may be difficult for the former FBI Director to give a direct answer to that question on Thursday.
The more comfortable position may be to say that the alleged comments were certainly improper but leave it for others to decide if the crime of obstruction occurred.. If he did answer directly, he would either absolve President Trump, or assert that in February he was the eyewitness to a crime at the highest level which he failed to report for months.
A third approach, and perhaps the most harmful to Trump, might be for Comey to say that in February, he was deeply troubled but not convinced yet that the president intended to obstruct the investigation. But, Comey might say that, because he aggressively pursued the investigation – and then was fired – some could conclude that obstruction was being attempted.
The White House may take the traditional position of management in whistleblower cases: treat Comey as a disgruntled former employee trying to salvage his reputation by blaming his termination on others instead of on his own mistakes. That’s a message that will resonate with some, especially because the apparent accusation did not surface until after he was fired.
COMEY FROM WHITE KNIGHT TO ACCUSING WITNESS
How does former FBI Director James Comey’s current standing affect his strength as an accusing witness in Thursday’s Senate hearing? According to former US Attorney Kendall Coffey, his role and credibility will be crucial and may be complicated.
“One year ago, essentially everyone across the political spectrum had great confidence in James Comey,” said Coffey, who served as US Attorney for South Florida under President Bill Clinton. “But the last year has seen a cross-fire of criticisms.”
While Comey was once seen as the ultimate white knight, both in terms of being nonpolitical and highly professional, since then there have been obvious issues. Even Sen. Lindsay Graham expressed deep concerns about Comey’s reliance on a fake email that he didn’t disclose to Congress.
“Many are expecting the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing to be a bad day for President Donald Trump,” Coffey said. “But it may not be a great day for anyone.”