As the case for Trump’s impeachment crystalises, May’s bootlicking looks like another tactical blunder

On 9 May, President Trump fired the Director of the FBI, James Comey. On 8 June, Comey will appear before the Senate intelligence committee. This hearing will look into whether Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice. This is very important, as it’s an impeachable offence. A leaked memo from Comey has already suggested that Trump attempted to impede investigations. And now, Comey has released several more documents which further suggest Trump’s guilt.

This could all be very embarrassing for Theresa May. As May has supported or tolerated Trump in a fashion unlike any other Western leader. Even in instances in which Trump has openly criticised our country.

The Comey documents

Comey has released seven pages of information relating to his encounters with President Trump. One section describes a conversation about the former National Security Adviser. Comey reports that Trump said:

I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.

Comey also writes:

A few moments later, the President said, ‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.’ I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence.

Obstruction of justice

Attorney and professor Seth Abramson has explained how obstruction of justice applies to this case:

Read on...

Obstruction of Justice IS a legal term and federal criminal statute. It has a strict legal definition. It is NOT open to interpretation. Obstruction of Justice is NOT a political term. Politicians may NOT define it in whatever way pleases them or may advantage their party. But the history of impeachments—impeachment being a political process—establishes that Obstruction of Justice IS an impeachable offense. If public testimony establishes… a sufficient case on its face—Trump SHOULD be impeached…

Obstruction of Justice IS about *actions* of the defendant… It requires only the defendant’s knowledge of HOW he’s acting. As the subsection of the Obstruction of Justice statute relevant here involves words, a defendant’s knowledge of his words is PRESUMED… If the words Comey CONTEMPORANEOUSLY RECORDED as having been said by Trump were indeed said, Trump IS guilty of Obstruction of Justice.

The ‘special relationship’

People have criticised Theresa May for her dealings with Trump. She defended him when he reportedly leaked top-secret intelligence to the Russians. She would not sign a letter criticisng him for pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement. And just recently, she did her best to avoid answering questions about Trump publicly criticising Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. She did eventually say that Trump was “wrong in the things he has said about Sadiq Khan”, but her previous avoidance led to responses like this from Labour MP Yvette Cooper:

May’s dealings with Trump have tactically played badly with elements of the right too. As Scotland Editor of The Spectator and Scottish Daily Mail contributor Alex Massie writes:

We know that Trump can only cope with unctuous flattery and that, satisfying as it may be to criticise him, doing so isn’t likely to advance the UK’s interests vis a vis its relationship with the United States. 

So Mrs May says nothing, even though saying nothing makes her look terrible. This is no time for a showboating Prime Minister, she might say, and she might have half a point. But it still looks weak and miserable and craven and all kinds of rotten. 

Mistakes

Trump has been hostile in his dealings with the EU. May has also been hostile towards the EU, while simultaneously being compliant with Trump. As EU negotiations loom and Trump’s position becomes tenuous, May’s decision to cosy up to the President looks increasingly like a mistake. And as May has made many other mistakes in her tenure as PM, it’s hard to see her commanding a position of strength in Brexit negotiations. Which is just one more reason to vote her out on 8 June.

Get Involved!

– Go out and vote on 8 June. Strongly encourage others to do the same.

– Check out more articles from The Canary’s Global section.

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