RSN Fundraising Banner
FOCUS: Mueller Drew Up Obstruction Indictment Against Trump, Michael Wolff Book Claims
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=43326"><span class="small">Edward Helmore, Guardian UK</span></a>   
Tuesday, 28 May 2019 10:51

Helmore wrote: "A new book from Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff says special counsel Robert Mueller drew up a three-count obstruction of justice indictment against Donald Trump before deciding to shelve it - an explosive claim which a spokesman for Mueller flatly denied."

Robert Mueller. (photo: NBC)
Robert Mueller. (photo: NBC)


Mueller Drew Up Obstruction Indictment Against Trump, Michael Wolff Book Claims

By Edward Helmore, Guardian UK

28 May 19

 

new book from Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff says special counsel Robert Mueller drew up a three-count obstruction of justice indictment against Donald Trump before deciding to shelve it – an explosive claim which a spokesman for Mueller flatly denied.

The stunning revelation is contained in Siege: Trump Under Fire, which will be published a week from now, on 4 June. It is the sequel to Fire and Fury, Wolff’s bestseller on the first year of the Trump presidency which was published in 2018.

The Guardian obtained a copy of Siege and viewed the documents concerned.

In an author’s note, Wolff states that his findings on the Mueller investigation are “based on internal documents given to me by sources close to the Office of the Special Counsel”.

But Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, told the Guardian: “The documents that you’ve described do not exist.”

Questions over the provenance of the documents will only add to controversy and debate around the launch of Wolff’s eagerly awaited new book.

Fire and Fury shone a harsh spotlight on dysfunction within the Trump White House and engendered huge controversy after the Guardian broke news of its contents. Many of Wolff’s assertions were confirmed by later works, among them Fear: Trump in the White House by the Watergate reporter Bob Woodward. The book prompted the banishment of the Trump adviser and Wolff source Stephen Bannon, who also lost his place at Breitbart News. It sold close to 5 million copies.

Mueller was appointed in May 2017 to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, links between Trump aides and Moscow and potential obstruction of justice by the president.

Mueller’s final report was handed to the attorney general, William Barr, on 22 March this year and made public in redacted form on 18 April. Mueller did not find a conspiracy between Trump and Russia but did lay out 11 possible instances of obstruction of justice, indicating Congress should decide what came next.

Barr said he had judged the instances of possible obstruction not to be conclusive. Trump and his supporters have claimed total exoneration. Democrats in Congress are weighing whether impeachment is merited.

And yet Wolff reports that Mueller’s office drew up a three-count outline of the president’s alleged abuses, under the title “United States of America against Donald J Trump, Defendant”. The document sat on the special counsel’s desk, Wolff writes, for almost a year.

According to a document seen by the Guardian, the first count, under Title 18, United States code, Section 1505, charged the president with corruptly – or by threats of force or threatening communication – influencing, obstructing or impeding a pending proceeding before a department or agency of the United States.

The second count, under section 1512, charged the president with tampering with a witness, victim or informant.

The third count, under section 1513, charged the president with retaliating against a witness, victim or informant.

The document is the most significant aspect of Wolff’s new book.

Wolff writes that the draft indictment he examines says Trump’s attempts to obstruct justice “began on the seventh day of his administration, tracing the line of obstruction from National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s lies to the FBI about his contacts with Russian representative[s], to the president’s efforts to have [FBI director] James Comey protect Flynn, to Comey’s firing, to the president’s efforts to interfere with the special counsel’s investigation, to his attempt to cover up his son and son-in-law’s meeting with Russian governmental agents, to his moves to interfere with Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe’s testimony …”

The draft indictment, Wolff writes, also spelled out what Mueller considered to be the overriding theme of Trump’s presidency: the “extraordinary lengths” taken “to protect himself from legal scrutiny and accountability, and to undermine the official panels investigating his actions”.

According to Wolff, Mueller endured tortured deliberations over whether to charge the president, and even more tortured deliberations over the president’s power to dismiss him or his boss, the then deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein. Mueller ultimately demurred, Wolff writes, but his team’s work gave rise to as many as 13 other investigations that led to cooperating witness plea deals from Michael Cohen, David Pecker of American Media and Trump Organization accountant Allen Weisselberg.

“The Jews always flip,” was Trump’s comment on those deals, according to Wolff.

In one of many echoes of Fire and Fury, such shocking remarks by Trump are salted throughout Siege.

The justice department’s Office of Legal Counsel had said a sitting president could not be indicted. According to Wolff, Mueller’s team drew up both the three-count indictment of Trump and a draft memorandum of law opposing an anticipated motion to dismiss.

In his 448-page redacted final report the special counsel briefly noted that his office had concluded it would accept previous justice department guidance that it did not have the power to prosecute a sitting president.

The draft memorandum quoted by Wolff argues that nowhere does the law say the president cannot be indicted and nowhere is the president accorded a dif­ferent status under the law than other federal officials, all of whom can be indicted, convicted and impeached.

The document says: “The Impeachment Judgment Clause, which applies equally to all civil officers including the president … takes for granted … that an officer may be subject to indictment and prosecution before impeachment. If it did not, the clause would be creating, for civil officers, precisely the immunity the Framers rejected.”

The memorandum rejected the argument that the burden of a criminal process on the president would interfere with his ability to carry out his duties.

Of Mueller’s thinking, Wolff writes that as a former FBI director, he “had not risen to the highest levels of the federal government by misconstruing the limits of bureaucratic power”, and had therefore continually weighed the odds with his staff about whether the president would fire them. Thus, Wolff writes, “the very existence of the special counsel’s investigation had in a sense become the paramount issue of the investigation itself”.

According to Wolff, a memo circulated internally asked: “Can President Trump order [then attorney general Jeff] Sessions to withdraw the special counsel regulations (and fire him if he doesn’t)?

“The short answer is yes.”

Mueller’s team also believed Trump could have fired Mueller directly, Wolff says, “arguing that the special counsel regulations are unconstitutional insofar as they limit his ability to fire the special counsel”.

Trump has claimed to have had the right to fire Mueller, but he has also denied Don McGahn’s testimony to Mueller that he was ordered to do so. Trump is now seeking to stop the former White House counsel testifying to Congress.

In another memo quoted by Wolff, Mueller’s staff wondered what would happen to the special counsel’s office, staff, records, pending investigations and grand juries reviewing evidence if Mueller was fired.

To preserve their work, Wolff writes, they decided to share grand jury materials with fellow prosecutors. That process led, for example, to the investigation into Cohen being handed to the southern district of New York.

In the end, Wolff writes, Mueller concluded that “the truth of the matter was straightforward: that while the president had the support of the majority party, he had the winning hand.

“Robert Mueller, the stoic marine, had revealed himself over the course of the nearly two-year investigation to his colleagues and staff to be quite a Hamlet figure. Or, less dramatically, a cautious and indecisive bureaucrat.”

Caught, Wolff says, between wanting to use his full authority and worrying that he had no authority, Mueller went against the will of many of his staff when he chose not to attempt to force Trump to be interviewed in person. Ultimately, he also concluded he could not move to prosecute a sitting president.

Perhaps surprisingly given his fate after Fire and Fury, Bannon is quoted extensively in Siege. His view of Mueller’s two year investigation into claims of collusion and obstruction of justice: “Never send a marine to do a hit man’s job.”

Wolff’s conclusion is a sobering one.

“In a way,” he writes, “Robert Mueller had come to accept the dialectical premise of Donald Trump – that Trump is Trump.

“Bob Mueller threw up his hands. Surprisingly, he found himself in agreement with the greater White House: Donald Trump was the president, and, for better or for worse, what you saw was what you got – and what the country voted for.”

Email This Page

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+9 # chapdrum 2019-05-28 12:00
The Wolff and Woodward books have made...how much difference?
 
 
+2 # Robbee 2019-05-28 14:37
Mueller Drew Up Obstruction Indictment Against Trump, Michael Wolff Book Claims
By Edward Helmore, Guardian UK
28 May 19

- mueller needs to go see the WIZARD and find some COURAGE!

OOPS! too late for that!

house dems! SUBPOENA this cowardly hamster to testify IN PUBLIC!

our intelligence services" are card-carrying repukes, the closest thing billionaires have to a deep state!
 
 
+1 # tr4302@gmail.com 2019-05-28 15:00
Yes it`s sad but true."What you saw was what you got" or in other words, you shat
the nest so you`ll have to sit in it...until... 2020! Unless there is divine iintervention! Stroke, heart attack, flood,earthquak e tornado ,tusamni or other formof relief!
 
 
+19 # PABLO DIABLO 2019-05-28 15:27
Maybe next time the Democrats could nominate someone who could actually beat "the worst candidate in history". And, it ain't Joe Biden.
 
 
-1 # harleysch 2019-05-29 09:57
Why is the Guardian stooping to cover the fantasies of Michael Wolff? Is "Collusion" author, Guardian "investigative reporter" Luke Harding no longer able to fabricate stories.**

Wolff's credibility is somewhere on the level of Avenatti, a former favorite of the anti-Trump grouping on RSN. At least Wolff has only been accused of making things up, not stealing from his clients!

**Luke Harding in "Collusion" claimed that Christopher Steele's dossier against Trump was accurate, something that even anti-Trumpers like FBI agent Peter Strozk rejected.