Counsel to Watergate case weighs in on Comey testimony

In an interview on MSNBC with Rachel Maddow Wednesday evening, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) claimed that allegations against President Trump are “Watergate-level material.”

Maddow asked him, “If what Director Comey says in his opening statement is true – if the President directly urged him to drop the investigation into Mike Flynn…..”

“Rachel, that is Water-gate level material… that particular point you’re making about Mike Flynn… it’s just that serious,” Wyden replied.

In a separate interview Wednesday with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Wyden made the exact same accusation.

Also Wednesday evening, Philip Allen Lacovara, a former U.S. deputy solicitor general from the Justice Department, who was counsel to prosecutors in the Watergate investigation, published an op-ed in the Washington Post.

In his opening statement, Lacovara wrote, “I helped prosecute Watergate. Comey’s statement is sufficient evidence for an obstruction of justice case.”

He said Comey’s testimony “also supplies the element of threats.”

Lacovara continued:

“Comey proved what Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and National Security Agency Director Michael S. Rogers carefully avoided admitting in their testimony on Wednesday — that the president had specifically attempted to shut off at least a major piece of what Trump calls the “Russia thing,” the investigation into the misleading statements by fired national security adviser Michael Flynn concerning his role in dealings with the Russians. This kind of presidential intervention in a pending criminal investigation has not been seen, to my knowledge, since the days of Richard Nixon and Watergate.”

He indicated it is still a question “whether a sitting president may be indicted while in office,” adding that in the Watergate case, he had advised that “the president enjoys no unique immunity from obeying criminal laws” but “other Justice Department officials have taken a contrary position.”

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