DISCLAIMER: the following is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of KSL Newsradio or its ownership.
Special counsel Robert Mueller broke his two-year silence into the Russia investigation of the 2016 presidential election at a press conference. Here are some highlights:
- “If we had confidence that the president did not clearly commit a crime, we would have said so.”
- He said he would not testify before Congress. “The report is my testimony,” and he will not go beyond that, adding that was his decision alone.
- He’s closing the special counsel’s office, retiring from the Department of Justice and returning to private life.
- Because the Justice Department policy prohibits indicting a sitting president, that means “charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider,” Mueller said.
- He also said because of that policy, “We would not reach a determination, one way or the other, about whether the president committed a crime.”
- To address possible wrongdoing by a president, the Constitution requires a process outside the criminal justice system, so therefore, “It would be unfair to potentially accuse someone of a crime” knowing the case could not be resolved in the courts, he said.
- In closing, Mueller said Russia’s effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election “deserves the attention of every American.”
President Donald Trump put his own spin on what Mueller said by tweeting:
Nothing changes from the Mueller Report. There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2019
Not so fast. I’ve read the Mueller report. I’ve picked it apart.
Just because the courts are prevented from taking up the case, that doesn’t mean Congress can’t. It’s their job.
The Constitution provides for an indictment and hearing in the House.
Mueller is not saying the president is exonerated, only that it’s up to Congress to do what it will with his findings.
If the Mueller report cannot rule out obstruction, and obstruction is a high crime or misdemeanor, why wouldn’t the House, under its constitutional mandate, hold impeachment hearings?
This might clear up why the special counsel could not rule out obstruction:
According to the Mueller report, when Trump found out about Mueller’s appointment, he told advisers that it was the end of his presidency. Trump sought to have Attorney General Jeff Sessions to un-recuse himself from the Russia investigation. The president sought to have the special counsel removed, engaged in efforts to curtail the investigation and prevent disclosure of information to the special counsel through private and public contact with potential witnesses.
Also, when Mueller’s team tried to talk to members of Trump’s campaign, they lied. That impaired the investigation into Russia’s election interference. Also, they took the Fifth Amendment and deleted communications.
All of this is why Mueller couldn’t conclude obstruction of justice didn’t happen.
The obstruction door is wide open and flapping in the wind.
Jay Mcfarland hosts the JayMac News Show, weekdays from 12:30 to 3 p.m. on KSL Newsradio, as well as the fictional podcast, Hosts of Eden. KSL Newsradio is part of Bonneville Media and based in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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