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Trump Would Face Obstruction Charges if He Wasn't President, Hundreds of Prosecutors Say
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=23323"><span class="small">Tom McCarthy, Guardian UK</span></a>   
Tuesday, 07 May 2019 08:33

McCarthy writes: "Hundreds of former federal prosecutors - and counting - signed an open letter published on Monday expressing their belief that Donald Trump would have faced 'multiple felony charges of obstruction of justice' if he were not president."

Prosecutors outlined three main areas in which they said the president's conduct warranted criminal charges, including his efforts to fire Mueller and to falsify evidence about that effort. (photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Prosecutors outlined three main areas in which they said the president's conduct warranted criminal charges, including his efforts to fire Mueller and to falsify evidence about that effort. (photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)


Trump Would Face Obstruction Charges if He Wasn't President, Hundreds of Prosecutors Say

By Tom McCarthy, Guardian UK

07 May 19

 

undreds of former federal prosecutors – and counting – signed an open letter published on Monday expressing their belief that Donald Trump would have faced “multiple felony charges of obstruction of justice” if he were not president.

Multiple aspects of Trump’s conduct described in a report of the Trump-Russia investigation submitted in March by special counsel Robert Mueller were probably criminal, the prosecutors write. Mueller had declined to weigh whether to charge Trump, citing justice department guidelines prohibiting the indictment of a sitting president.

But the letter’s signatories, which include prominent Republicans from administrations going back to Richard Nixon, said it was clear that Trump would have faced charges had he not been protected by the guidelines.

“Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice,” the prosecutors wrote in part.

Trump has claimed that the Mueller report was a “complete exoneration” of his conduct. But the prosecutors outline three main areas in which they said that conduct warranted criminal charges:

  • The president’s efforts to fire Mueller and to falsify evidence about that effort
  • The president’s efforts to limit the scope of Mueller’s investigation to exclude his conduct
  • The president’s efforts to prevent witnesses from cooperating with investigators investigating him and his campaign

The signatories include former prosecutors at all levels, from line attorneys to US attorneys to special prosecutors to former senior officials in the Department of Justice. The letter was originally published with more than 300 signatures but had more than 450 by Monday afternoon.

“Proud to be on this nonpartisan list of hundreds of former federal prosecutors who would have charged Trump with obstruction based on the evidence in Mueller’s report,” said Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor from the southern district of New York. “It’s not even a close call for me.”

The attorney general, William Barr, and his deputies in the justice department decided there was “not sufficient” evidence to charge Trump.

But Barr’s expressed reasoning for not charging Trump was undercut by critics who said he was acting in defense of the president instead of the rule of law. They pointed out that Barr originally mischaracterized Mueller’s reasoning for not charging Trump himself; Barr had claimed that the guideline against indicting a sitting president was not a major factor in Mueller’s decision, when Mueller states explicitly that it was.

Mueller wrote Barr a forceful letter in March stating that a separate letter in which Barr claimed to summarize his report in fact “did not fully capture the context, nature and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions”.

“There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation,” Mueller wrote.

Some of that confusion might be cleared up later this month, when Mueller is expected to testify before Congress. Trump has discouraged the special counsel from appearing.

“Bob Mueller should not testify,” Trump tweeted on Sunday. “No redos for Dems!”

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-8 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-05-07 14:50
The problem here is that it would be easy to find a hundred other former federal prosecutors who would not have charged Trump for any obstruction of justice charges.

These prosecutors suggest they would charge him on "probable cause." That's not enough to charge someone. That's enough to open an investigation but before filing charges prosecutors must believe they have certain proof beyond a doubt. Why go to court on probable cause?

I don't believe that the obstruction issues mentioned by Mueller amount to a hill of beans. Mueller is grasping at straws. He wanted something he could pass on to congress to prompt an impeachment. This is all he could find.

It is much more likely that there will be charges against the people who fabricated the Russia allegations in the first place.
 
 
0 # JosephR 2019-05-07 21:31
Guidelines? Your president* is above your laws? Of, by, and for the people of the United States of Anarchy? Your laws are not equal for all citizens? What do you mean by allowing both parties to rely on Corporations? While you're at it, you should charge him with crimes against humanity for his crapola in denying very severe climate change!

The head of the Democrats says to go centralist? Vote her out as Speaker. The only way you're going to get the president* out of power is to charge him with his crimes. While you're at it, you should also charge him with incompetence regarding at least 20 of the 23 people in his cabinet he appointed have the absolute opposite programs in minds [Should I even give them the benefit of the doubt, minds?].

Up here in Canada, the only people who like this president* are the CEOs, the CFOs, the Directors of the Boards, etc. They love him! If Pelosi thinks this is what the people want, then get rid of her powers. Democrats, don't you think that you should answer to your constituents? What has become of your Republic? What is left of your country? Your president* should be arrested, as the Repugs in the Senate will never vote for impeachment. People down there [I'm Canadian, thank the powers that be] are guided by the "Guidelines of the Justice Department"? Not laws?

So,all of you South of the border, are you allowing one solitary man to take over your country? For shame! He's above all of you? For shame!

He's a criminal!
 
 
+2 # lfeuille 2019-05-07 22:02
The Justice Dept. guidelines are causing too much trouble. The constitution is not clear enough and there are many legal scholars who don't agree with them. If we make it out of the Trump administration without become a fully fascist country, we should push for a constitutional amendment to make it clear that a sitting president can be prosecuted.