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Indian-American White House Lawyer Misled Trump to Stop FBI Chief's Firing: Report

Uttam Dhillion sent a junior lawyer to check for any provisions that would block Trump from ousting Comey, but even when the research showed that Trump could dismiss the FBI director without stating a cause, he withheld that conclusion from Trump.

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Updated:January 6, 2018, 6:18 PM IST
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Indian-American White House Lawyer Misled Trump to Stop FBI Chief's Firing: Report
US President Donald Trump (L) and FBI Director James Comey (R) in Washington. (Photo: Reuters)
An Indian-American White House lawyer deliberately misled US President Donald Trump last year to try to stop him from firing the then Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey, the New York Times has reported.

Dhillon feared that firing Comey, as Trump ultimately did last May, would put Trump’s presidency in danger, according to the NYT report on Trump’s attempt to control the investigation into his campaign’s Russia links.

The White House deputy counsel told the US President that he would need cause to get rid of Comey as he feared that the firing could spark an investigation on the charges of obstruction of justice.

He sent a junior lawyer to check for any provisions that would block Trump from ousting Comey, but even when the research showed that Trump could dismiss the FBI director without stating a cause, he withheld that conclusion from Trump.

“Dhillon was convinced that if Mr. Comey was fired, the Trump presidency could be imperiled, because it would force the Justice Department to open an investigation into whether Mr. Trump was trying to derail the Russia investigation,” the Times reported.

Trump ended up firing Comey in May, sparking outrage as he was leading the investigation into whether the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia during his presidential run. Dhillon’s fears did come true as a special investigation was started on the circumstances around Comey’s dismissal.

Stephen Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas’ School of Law, said that a White House counsel declining to correct himself or withholding such important information was “extraordinary.”

“This shows that the president’s lawyers don’t trust giving him all the facts because they fear he will make a decision that is not best suited for him,” Vladeck told the paper.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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