Upon hearing the bombshell news that Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to end his investigation into Mike Flynn, the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) made clear that rather than subpoena Comey’s incriminating memo, he would leave it up to the New York Times to “get it released.”
Elana Schor, a congressional reporter at Politico, reported that, when Burr was asked if he would try to obtain the memo, he said:
“I think the burden is on the New York Times, if they’re reporting it and they’ve got somebody who’s got the document. They need to get the document and get it released.”
Burr is effectively saying that the investigation into Donald Trump’s potential obstruction of justice is the responsibility of a newspaper, as opposed to the Senate Intelligence Committee. It should be noted that this committee does indeed have the power to subpoena materials:
Subpoenas authorized by the Committee for the attendance of witnesses or the production of memoranda, documents, records, or any other material may be issued by the Chairman[.]
Of today’s revelation, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said that, if the report is true, Trump’s actions amount to “obstruction of justice.” If ever there was a time to use the power of subpoena, this is it.
Despite the fact that Burr’s initial reaction is to shirk responsibility to a newspaper instead of rightly conducting an investigation into one of the worst scandals by a President in American history, the truth – as always – will be exposed. Whether Burr will stay on the right side of history remains to be seen.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.