Fox News’ Napolitano: Mueller ‘Would’ve Indicted’ Trump If He Believed He Could Have
President Donald Trump tried to convince social media users of his innocence through a tweet on Wednesday explaining that a statement from special counsel Robert Mueller earlier in the day didn’t change a thing with regards to his possibly committing an impeachable offense.
The “case is closed,” Trump said, according to prior reporting from HillReporter.com.
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
However, many legal experts take the opposite view, including a prominent conservative Fox News contributor.
The message from Mueller was clear, said Andrew Napolitano, speaking with Fox Business host Stuart Varney. Mueller essentially said, “The president can’t be indicted, otherwise we would’ve indicted him,” he added.
“That opens the door for the Democrats to pounce,” Napolitano added, according to reporting from Mediaite.
Put another way, the Fox contributor said, Mueller basically stated in his Wednesday address to media that there is “evidence that [Trump] committed a crime, but we couldn’t charge him because he’s the President of the United States.”
Mueller cited a longstanding policy at the Justice Department (of which, while serving as special counsel, he technically worked for) that restricts employees of that department from indicting the president.
‘Is it that bad?’ Fox Business host stunned as Napolitano explains Mueller has evidence Trump committed a crime https://t.co/CDtKoRKWZW
— Cheri Jacobus (@CheriJacobus) May 29, 2019
“The indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions,” that memo reads.
There are some disputes over whether that memo should be adhered to or not. Former Attorney General Eric Holder, for instance, believes that the 25th amendment, allowing for executive branch cabinet members to remove a sitting president from power, could address the concerns mentioned within that memo, Law & Crime reported.
Nevertheless, Mueller cited the policy in his statement on Wednesday morning. Another line from Mueller’s address is also problematic for the president.
“If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller said. Many believe that is the clearest the special counsel will come to saying that Trump probably committed a crime, specifically of obstructing justice.
However, Napolitano also believes Mueller left room for Democrats to make a case that conspiracy or coordination with the Russian government, which was trying to interfere with our elections and help the Trump campaign, was still on the table.
“[Mueller] didn’t say there was no conspiracy, he just said we were not able to establish it beyond a reasonable doubt,” Napolitano added.
At one point in his discussion on the matter, Fox Business host Stuart Varney asked, “Is it that bad?”
Napolitano responded in the affirmative. “I think so,” he said.
This isn’t the first time the Fox News contributor has suggested Trump is in trouble. The last time he did so, the president tweeted out attacks against his character on his social media, per additional reporting from HillReporter.com.