One of the personal lawyers of President Donald trump, Jay Sekulow, added to the confusion when he insisted on Sunday the billionaire is not under investigation for obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation. The Washington Post wrote on Monday, Sekulow has narrowed the question if Trump is being, or should be investigated for the “isolated act” of firing FBI Director James Comey.

The influential newspaper pointed out the lawyer’s clever rhetorical trick attempted to exclude all of Trump’s conduct which is at issue. The process leading to the firing, and Comey’s testimony to Congress that the president sought his loyalty for the FBI director to continue his job, must be taken into account.

Pattern of conduct

In obstruction of justice cases, it is not just one singular act which investigators look into. The prosecutors will study a pattern of conduct of the person being probed, Benjamin Wittes, founder of the Lawfare Blog, explained. In the case of Trump, the pattern established included his demand for institutional loyalty from Comey to continue his job, the pressure on the FBI director to drop the investigation on Michael Flynn, the former National Security Adviser, and the president enlisting other intelligence officials in the project.

A key evidence on Comey’s firing is if Trump pressured Comey to drop the investigation on Flynn, and if there are tapes of their conversation. Sekulow said the tapes are not a priority issue for the president who is concentrating on governing the nation.

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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer may disclose by the end of this week if there are tapes.

Huge deal for the presidency

The New York Daily News noted the importance of the existence of the tapes for the presidency. If there were no tapes, Trump would appear to be threatening Comey against talking about their private talk. If there are tapes and the billionaire would refuse to turn it over to Russian investigators, it could be obstruction of justice which is an impeachable offense.

Meanwhile, another Trump senior adviser and apologist, Kellyanne Conway, repeated Sekulow’s explanation of the president’s tweet which admitted he is under investigation. She said since the Washington Post story is based on five anonymous sources, Trump’s tweeted just highlighted the irony of the situation, The Washington Examiner reported.

In an interview with Fox on Monday morning, Conway said the federal investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 election is a waste of taxpayer money. She said Trump has clarified the issue, yet there continue to be months of investigation by the FBI, and several Senate and House committees.