Notwithstanding reports that the special counsel has launched an inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice, the early returns also suggest the absence of any Oval Office criminality, even with the unsettling use of Trump Tower business methods where they don’t belong. To “hope” that the director would abandon a line of inquiry is most naturally read as pleading and cajoling, but not as an order. In any event, at the time Comey didn’t treat the president’s words as a directive.
Still, the official processes now under way should continue unimpeded. Let the legislative and executive branches fulfill their respective roles, ordained at the founding and matured by the wisdom of sobering experience gained over the course of seven generations.