In a Fox News op-ed, Judge Andrew Napolitano accuses President Trump of obstruction of justice. Robert Mueller was originally designated as special counsel by the Department of Justice to investigate any conspiracy between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia. Former FBI Director James Comey allegedly told Mueller that he thought he was fired by Trump because he refused to shut down the investigation into Trump’s campaign and former national security advisor Michael Flynn. Mueller then investigated Comey’s allegations.
Trump was eager to have Flynn be left alone because he was eventually charged, and pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about discussing sanctions with Sergey Kislyak, then-Russian ambassador to the U.S., before Trump became the president. If the communication interfered with American foreign policy, it could have been illegal.
Trump fired Flynn when he discovered this communication. Yet, Flynn later told Mueller in his plea negotiation that he only discussed sanctions with Kislyak because Trump asked him to do so.
Mueller’s report found that from July 2015 to November 2016, there were 127 confirmed communications between Russians and the Trump campaign. Trump has claimed that there was none. Still, the government could not prove that there was collusion.
The Mueller report said it would make no conclusions on obstruction of justice. It would instead give the responsibility to Congress. While Congress cannot bring criminal charges, it can impeach the president.
Mueller described at least 6 crimes of obstruction that Trump committed, such as asking former Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland to write a letter that lied about the purpose of Flynn’s communication with Kislyak.
Mueller was likely aware that any indictment of Trump would be blocked by Attorney General William Barr because Barr’s view of obstruction is at odds with the obstruction statute. Barr requires the obstructor to have successfully obstructed. Yet, the obstruction statute prohibits even the attempt of interference of government investigations or proceedings.
House Democrats must now decide if Mueller’s report should be used to impeach the president. History shows that impeachment will only be successful if there is broad and bipartisan support.
Napolitano concludes: “The president's job is to enforce federal law. If he had ordered its violation to save innocent life or preserve human freedom, he would have a moral defense. But ordering obstruction to save himself from the consequences of his own behavior is unlawful, defenseless and condemnable.”
Read the full story here.