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Rubio won’t rule out possibility Trump obstructed justice

Greg Nash

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is not ruling out the possibility that President Trump may have attempted to obstruct justice in his interactions with former FBI Director James Comey.

“I’m not prepared to reach a conclusion on that, because we’re not done with all the other pieces that are missing,” Rubio said, according to The Washington Post.

Rubio’s comments followed Comey’s high-profile testimony on Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, of which Rubio is member. In the session, Comey told lawmakers that before he was fired Trump had demanded his loyalty and pressed him to drop the FBI’s probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

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“I don’t think anybody would leave this hearing and say to you that what the president said in the Oval Office on the 14th of February was appropriate,” Rubio said, referring to the meeting in which Trump reportedly asked Comey to end the Flynn investigation.

That incident led to questions about whether the president could be charged with obstruction of justice. Asked about the potential for such charges on Thursday, Comey demurred, saying he could not make that determination. 

Republican lawmakers, however, have largely defended Trump, arguing that he did not obstruct justice and that doing so was likely not his intention. 

Rubio, however, said Thursday that lawmakers would have to figure out whether Trump’s requests to Comey were nefarious and aimed specifically at obstructing justice, or if they were simply a result of the president’s inexperience with government protocol. 

Rubio echoed House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who said earlier in the day that Trump’s alleged pressuring of Comey could stem from a lack of government experience.

“The president’s new at this. He’s new to government. So he probably wasn’t steeped in the long-running protocols that establish the relationships between DOJ, the FBI and White Houses. He’s just new to this,” Ryan said. 

A reporter later pressed Ryan, asking if inexperience is an “acceptable excuse” for Trump’s behavior.

“I’m not saying it’s an acceptable excuse. It’s just my observation,” Ryan replied. “He’s new at government and so, therefore, I think that he’s learning as he goes.”

Tags Marco Rubio Paul Ryan
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