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Mueller: Trump Could Be Charged With Obstruction of Justice After Leaving Office
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=45281"><span class="small">Jacqueline Thomsen, The Hill</span></a>   
Wednesday, 24 July 2019 11:44

Thomsen writes: "Former special counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday said that he believes President Trump could be charged with obstruction of justice after he leaves office."

Former FBI director Robert Mueller. (photo: Getty Images)
Former FBI director Robert Mueller. (photo: Getty Images)

Mueller: Trump Could Be Charged With Obstruction of Justice After Leaving Office

By Jacqueline Thomsen, The Hill

24 July 19


ormer special counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday said that he believes President Trump could be charged with obstruction of justice after he leaves office.

“Could you charge the president with a crime after he left office?” Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) asked Mueller during the former special counsel's testimony.

“Yes,” Mueller replied.

Buck appeared to be taken aback, and asked the question again, but adding whether Mueller believed a president could be charged with obstruction of justice after leaving office. The former special counsel again said he believed that was the case.

Mueller has pointed to Department of Justice (DOJ) guidance that states a sitting president cannot be indicted as preventing his office from even considering whether to charge Trump with a crime.

Buck had criticized Mueller earlier on in his line of questioning over his handling of the report. 

“Having reviewed your biography, it puzzles me why you handled your duties in this case the way you did,” the Republican lawmaker said.

Buck hit the former special counsel for laying out instances where Trump may have committed obstruction of justice, but declining to make a decision on whether the president had actually committed obstruction.

“By listing the 10 factual situations and not reaching a conclusion about the merits of the case, you unfairly shifted the burden of proof to the president, forcing him to prove his innocence while denying him a legal forum to do so,” Buck said.

Mueller said that because of the DOJ guidance, “one of the tools that a prosecutor would use is not there.” And he said that his office “did not make that calculation” as to whether Trump had committed obstruction of justice.

“You made the decision on the Russian interference, you could have indicted the president on that and you made the decision on that,” Buck said, pushing back. “But when it came to obstruction, you threw a bunch of stuff up against the wall to see what would stick. And that is fundamentally unfair.”

“I would not agree with that characterization at all,” Mueller replied.

Whether Trump would be charged with obstruction of justice were it not for the Justice Department guidance has been an area of focus for Democrats, some of whom are pushing to start impeachment proceedings against Trump in light of Mueller's findings.

Hundreds of former federal prosecutors and DOJ officials have signed on to a letter saying that they believe Trump would have been charged with a crime were it not for the guidance.

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+3 # chapdrum 2019-07-24 12:33
See, he "could" be charged with obstruction of justice. If actually true instead of weaseling out of the charge, that is even more incentive for Don to resist leaving office.
+1 # ddd-rrr 2019-07-24 13:33
I hope that this declaration by Mueller that Trump could be charged with a crime
(committed before or during his presidency) after he leaves office
does not "encourage" Trump to refuse to leave office
at the end of his last term!
-3 # hectormaria 2019-07-24 13:44
Mueller has been put on a pedestal, seen as an upright, highly principled person. Sorry to burst anyone's high opinion of him, but as I see it, Mueller uses spurious legal stratagems to hide the fact that he is afraid to take the moral high ground related to humane principles of right and wrong- in the present case, a pseudo legal memo. By so doing he avoids making difficult, moral judgments; which, in this case, will allow an unprincipled, conniving person like Trump (and others) to get away with deleterious, pernicious and extremely egregious acts- actions that are tearing apart the fabric of our democratic principles. Therefore, where does the real moral compass of this so-called paragon of virtue point to? Memo to all of you: let's not conflate legal rectitude with moral righteousness when the soul of our nation is at stake. The pedestal Mueller has been placed on is on shaky grounds and the country will ultimately suffer the consequences for not acknowledging that reality........ ........Hector
-6 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-24 18:07
hector -- I agree. This point has been made by Joe DiGenova, former federal prosecutor who is very close to the Dept. of Justice. The real driver of the investigation was Andrew Weissman but he is so hated in the DOJ and so distrusted by just about everyone that he would not work as the public face for the investigation. So the old, doddering, and half demented Mueller was hauled in to be the public image that the Clinton vengeance team inside the DOJ and FBI needed to give the Probe credibility in the media.

Mueller showed himself detached from the details. Many of the times when he just said "I'm not going to go into that" his real reason was that he did not know.

I now think even more that the investigation had three purposes, none of them legal:

1. payback against Trump for defeating Hillary. His life has been made hell by the Probe and the media coverage of it.

2. create a mass hysteria about Russian take over of the US elections. Almost all members of congress have swallowed this load. Schiff seems to have the deepest throat.

3. destroy WikiLeaks by establishing that it is a covert op of the Russian intelligence.

All of these have been accomplished masterfully. We will be a very long time in recovering from this damage to American society.
+4 # Constitutional Patriot 2019-07-24 19:59
While DOJ Guidance suggests a sitting president can not be indicted by the DOJ, a sitting president certainly can be impeached by the House of Representatives .

Obstruction of justice was in fact an article of impeachment for both Nixon and Clinton.

It's interesting to note, polls revealed a minority of Americans believed Nixon should be impeached before the hearings began. A huge majority agreed by the time it was over.

While Speaker Pelosi's concern is fair, that the ruling party of the House could sustain huge losses in federal elections following an impeachment, that was not the case for the Democratic party in 1974 or 1976, nor Republicans in 1998 or 2000.

After both impeachments, the ruling party of the House brought their presidential candidate to office and suffered a major loss of seats in neither body of Congress.

Of course, sufficient evidence for impeachment existed in both cases before the House acted, as does sufficent evidence today.

Regarding a decision to impeach, my concerns are much less about short-term partisan politics and much more about historical precident.

When a president oversteps his bounds, Congress must serve and protect the Constitution of the United States by initiating impeachment hearings. When it does not, it gives the current president and every one who follows the green-light to do worse.

Given the allegations and revelations in the Mueller Report, if the House does not initiate impeachment hearings, when will it?
0 # lfeuille 2019-07-25 00:26
It was in '98, but on impeachment about someone's sex life considered too trivial by a majority of the country. Trbeump, however, has committed real crimes and he is destroying the country with his racism. Though that may not be illegal, it is still impeachable. Nancy is not as astute as her reputation if she can't see the difference.
0 # Constitutional Patriot 2019-07-26 20:57
Most fair-minded Americans would agree that Republicans came after Clinton with comparatively trivial allegations (having sex with a White House staffer).

Most fair-minded Americans would also agree Clinton lied to Congress, under oath, committed an obstruction of justice and was rightfully impeached.

Ultimately, there were enough votes in the House for impeachment, due to Clinton's obstruction of justice, but not enough in the Senate for conviction, due to, I believe, the trivial nature of the underlying allegations.
-1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-25 04:42
I was with you up until this point -- "Given the allegations and revelations in the Mueller Report" All of the allegations in the Mueller report have gone up in vapor. There is no substance in them. Mueller even backed away from all of them, except for his charges against Russia. He did not endorse obstruction of justice. He said over and over that his investigation was not impeded, he was not fired, there was no obstruction.

But impeachment is largely political. Trump may be impeached because a sufficient number of democrats and the media hate him. That's OK. He is very easy to hate. That, however, sets a different kind of precedent. You can be sure every president from now on will be impeached by the opposing party. This is payback for losing an election. That pretty much means the Washington regime has achieved total third world status in dysfunctionalit y.
+2 # elspeth100 2019-07-24 21:13
Rodion: Do you have a real job? I mean besides being a troll? You ALWAYS comment immediately on anything regarding Russia or Trump. You confuse some folks with occasionally having posts that sound really reasonable, but continually beat the drum of "Russiagate is not only over but FAKE" and "Trump is being persecuted." I hope you're being paid enough to make it worth your while, constantly being online ready to instantly respond.
0 # trimegestus 2019-07-24 22:39
My comment is directed to the moderator. It pertains to the multiple daily "Please support RSN" Emails.

I donated to RSN several times in 2019.

RSN should not send Email appeals to donors who have contributed more than $25 in the most recent 6-month period.

Thanks for publishing Robert Reich and so many others. Best wishes on your fund drive.
0 # johnescher 2019-07-25 08:16
Silly people taken over a barrel by sophists and Trimpers. Yes, I have a new word today. Not many people noticed, but both Mueller and one of his antagonists, from Pennsylvania where Nuremberg is, I think, uttered the name "Trimp" when apparently they meant "Trump."

So if one of these guys wasn't lucid, the other wasn't either. But I would like to think, just because of the kind of guy I am, that when Mueller said "Trimp" he meant it since Trimp rhymes both with shrimp and blimp.

While not naming names of other posters today, I will quote one of them without attribution.

"Sorry to burst anyone's high opinion of him," he writes, "but as I see it, Mueller uses spurious legal stratagems..."

Just a little truculent arrogance there? And does this joker NAME and EXPLAIN these "spurious stratagems." Hell no. So he loses his argument along with every other writer alive or dead who didn't provide evidence to support his assertions.

And he certainly didn't, for this reason and others, "burst my high opinion" of Robert Mueller.