Tags: michael mukasey | robert mueller | resist | urge | create | headlines

Former AG Mukasey: Mueller Must Resist Urge to Create Headlines

Image: Former AG Mukasey: Mueller Must Resist Urge to Create Headlines
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By    |   Monday, 26 Jun 2017 12:45 PM

The only proper action for special counsel Robert Mueller to take, from what is currently known about his investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 U.S. elections, is to resist the urge to create sensational headlines and declare President Donald Trump has committed no crime, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey wrote in an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal on Monday.

Mukasey, who served under former President George W. Bush, wrote that all allegations that Trump's actions warrant a criminal investigation of him are baseless.

Regarding obstruction of justice, Mukasey said Trump's statement, according to former FBI Director James Comey, that "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting [former national security adviser Michael] Flynn go," because "he is a good guy" in no way proves that charge for two reasons.

The first is that it is not even the FBI director's decision whether to charge Flynn, but that of the prosecutors. The other reason is the evidence does not fit the statutory requirement that a president acted "corruptly," which is that the act be done "knowingly and dishonestly, with the specific intent to subvert or undermine the integrity" of a proceeding.

Since "Taking a prospective defendant's character into account when deciding whether to charge him — as Comey says Trump asked him to do — is a routine exercise of prosecutorial discretion, it is hard to imagine that a properly instructed jury could decide that a single such request constituted acting 'corruptly,'" Mukasey wrote.

He also dismisses entirely the notion that Trump's firing of Comey constituted obstruction, especially since all agree that the president has the authority to take this action and it is only the motive which is questioned. But Mukasey said "A memorandum to the president, from the deputy attorney general and endorsed by the attorney general, presented sufficient grounds for the firing," and, in any case, an investigation would continue regardless of whether the director continues in office, so firing Comey would not even stop the probe.

Mukasey points out that even if Mueller were to conclude the president did act corruptly, he could not initiate a criminal prosecution, because the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department has already opined more than once that "It would offend the Constitution for the executive branch to prosecute its head."

Although some suggest Mueller, if he finds criminal activity occurred, could report his findings to the House so it could start an impeachment proceeding, Mukasey claims "the regulations governing the special counsel provide for only two kinds of reports — either to Justice Department leadership when some urgent event occurs during the investigation, or to the attorney general to explain the decision to prosecute or not," both of which are to be treated as confidential.

So, he concludes, the only other option Mueller would have if he thought there was wrongdoing would be to illegally leak the details to the press.

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The only proper action for special counsel Robert Mueller to take, from what is currently known about his investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 U.S. elections, is to resist the urge to create sensational headlines and declare that President Donald Trump has...
michael mukasey, robert mueller, resist, urge, create, headlines
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2017-45-26
Monday, 26 Jun 2017 12:45 PM
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