During the height of the Mueller investigation in 2018, two prosecutors working on the case of the Trump team’s involvement with the Russian government’s attack on the United States election allegedly said that Donald Trump obstructed justice.
This was a result of Trump’s treatment of now-former FBI Director James Comey. Trump allegedly tried to get Comey to put an end to the investigation into then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. According to these two prosecutors, had this investigation not involved a criminal probe of the President of the United States, there most definitely would have been criminal charges brought.
Investigative journalist Murray Waas says that this information came via US officials, who had private conversations with two of Mueller’s prosecutors.
“I learned of the conclusions of the two former Mueller prosecutors not by any leak, either from them personally or from the office of special counsel. Rather, the two prosecutors disclosed this information in then-confidential conversations with two other federal law enforcement officials, who subsequently recounted what they were told to me,” wrote Waas.
Due to the fact that by March 24, 2019, there had been no declaration that Trump obstructed justice in the report, Attorney General William Barr single-handedly decided that the obstruction probe was over and that Trump would not be charged with any crimes. However, the Mueller report came to no such conclusion, and clearly stated as such:
“[I]f we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state… The evidence we obtained about the president’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred.”
It would also seem that while the Mueller team wanted to stay within the Department of Justice tradition of not charging a sitting President with a crime, there were multiple instances within the report where Congressional powers to deal with a potentially criminal president were mentioned.
In short, it would appear as though Trump and his team’s repeated assertions that no criminal conduct occurred would not be as a cut and dried as they would have the general public believe. It is only Congress’s refusal to act, as of yet, and the fact that Trump is a sitting president that has kept this situation from going further than it has.
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Shannon Barber is a progressive queer feminist and budding political scientist. She is passionate about issues of social justice, including but not limited to racial equality, criminal justice reform, pro-Black politics, and LGBTQ equality. She hopes to change the world, one mind at a time.