Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Wednesday press conference was, to say the least, explosive. Although he said nothing that had not already been stated in his report, he confirmed that the report’s conclusions, and the reasons why Trump has not already been charged with a crime, have been twisted by the president, his administration, the GOP, and Trump’s hand-picked Attorney General William Barr.
Robert De Niro, who plays Robert Mueller on Saturday Night Live, teamed up with a host of former federal prosecutors, more than a thousand of whom signed a statement saying that the evidence clearly shows Trump committed obstruction of justice, to explain the conclusions.
In that statement, available online at Protect Democracy’s website, the prosecutors assert that:
‘Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice.’
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) May 30, 2019
Following Mueller’s press conference, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was forced to admit that the only person who exonerated Trump of these crimes is AG Barr, who admitted under oath that he hasn’t even read the described acts of obstruction laid out in the report. The former federal prosecutors, who have served under and were appointed by both Democratic and Republican presidents, explained why each of them is evidence of a federal crime.
‘The Mueller report describes several acts that satisfy all of the elements for an obstruction charge: conduct that obstructed or attempted to obstruct the truth-finding process, as to which the evidence of corrupt intent and connection to pending proceedings is overwhelming. These include:
‘· The President’s efforts to fire Mueller and to falsify evidence about that effort;
‘· The President’s efforts to limit the scope of Mueller’s investigation to exclude his conduct; and
‘· The President’s efforts to prevent witnesses from cooperating with investigators probing him and his campaign.’
"Trump would have been charged with obstruction were he not president, hundreds of former federal prosecutors assert" https://t.co/dkEwJYv07N
— Jesse Ferguson (@JesseFFerguson) May 29, 2019
The prosecutors examined the evidence and broke it down into categories. Most alarmingly, they laid out the numerous instances of witness tampering committed by Trump, including attempts to influence Michael Cohen and Don McGahn, his personal attorney and White House attorney, respectively.
‘Despite being advised by then-White House Counsel Don McGahn that he could face legal jeopardy for doing so, Trump directed McGahn on multiple occasions to fire Mueller or to gin up false conflicts of interest as a pretext forgetting rid of the Special Counsel. When these acts began to come into public view, Trump made “repeated efforts to have McGahn deny the story” — going so far as to tell McGahn to write a letter “for our files” falsely denying that Trump had directed Mueller’s termination.’
I was one of many former federal prosecutors who joined this effort to explain that if Donald Trump was not currently in office, he would be charged with obstruction of justice. https://t.co/vG3aNVbR4L
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) May 30, 2019
While there are debatable points, the prosecutors say, the fact that Trump committed crimes is in no way debatable. The evidence is laid out in the report and are evidence of serious, prosecutable, federal crimes worthy of impeachment.
‘We emphasize that these are not matters of close professional judgment. Of course, there are potential defenses or arguments that could be raised in response to an indictment of the nature we describe here. In our system, every accused person is presumed innocent and it is always the government’s burden to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. But, to look at these facts and say that a prosecutor could not probably sustain a conviction for obstruction of justice — the standard set out in Principles of Federal Prosecution — runs counter to logic and our experience.’
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