More than four-hundred former Federal Prosecutors on Monday released a statement via Medium in which they write, “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.”
They focus on three key factors of the Mueller report that they believe “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.”
- 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.
They write that “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 for getting rid of the Special Counsel.”
From the Mueller Report.
c. Intent. Substantial evidence indicates that in repeatedly urging McGahn to dispute that he was ordered to have the Special Counsel terminated, the President acted for the purpose of influencing McGahn ‘s account in order to deflect or prevent further scrutiny of the President’s conduct towards the investigation.Volume 2 pg. 120 PDF pg. 332.
As to limiting the scope they explain, “First, the President repeatedly pressured then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse his legally-mandated decision to recuse himself from the investigation,” they add, “Second, after McGahn told the President that he could not contact Sessions himself to discuss the investigation, Trump went outside the White House, instructing his former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, to carry a demand to Sessions to direct Mueller to confine his investigation to future elections.”
They note that Lewandowski failed to contact Sessions, even though he did attempt to contact Sessions privately. Lewandowski having failed to contact Sessions passes along the message to “senior White House official Rick Dearborn, who Lewandowski thought would be a better messenger because of his prior relationship with Sessions. Dearborn did not pass along Trump’s message.”
From the Mueller Report.
c. Intent. Substantial evidence indicates that the President ‘s effort to have Sessions limit the scope of the Special Counsel’s investigation to future election interference was intended to prevent further investigative scrutiny of the President ‘s and his campaign’s conduct.Volume 2 pg. 97 PDF pg. 309
They go on to explain that the Mueller Report, “establishes that the President tried to influence the decisions of both Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort with regard to cooperating with investigator,” they note, “some of this tampering and intimidation, including the dangling of pardons, was done in plain sight via tweets and public statements.”
They continue to explain that some “such behavior was done via private messages through private attorney’s,” for example, “Trump counsel Rudy Giuliani’s message to Cohen’s lawyer that Cohen should “[s]leep well tonight, you have friends in high places.” (volume 2 pg. 147 PDF pg. 359)
They write in their statement, “Of course, these aren’t the only acts of potential obstruction detailed by the Special Counsel. It would be well within the purview of normal prosecutorial judgment also to charge other acts detailed in the report.”
The former Federal Prosecutors explain that “Of course, there are potential defenses or arguments that could be raised in response to an indictment of the nature we describe here.”
They conclude by writing, “As former federal prosecutors, we recognize that prosecuting obstruction of justice cases is critical because unchecked obstruction — which allows intentional interference with criminal investigations to go unpunished — puts our whole system of justice at risk. We believe strongly that, but for the OLC memo, the overwhelming weight of professional judgment would come down in favor of prosecution for the conduct outlined in the Mueller Report.”
The Washington Post reports that some well known names include, “Bill Weld, a former U.S. attorney and Justice Department official in the Reagan administration who is running against Trump as a Republican; Donald Ayer, a former deputy attorney general in the George H.W. Bush Administration; John S. Martin, a former U.S. attorney and federal judge appointed to his posts by two Republican presidents; Paul Rosenzweig, who served as senior counsel to independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr; and Jeffrey Harris, who worked as the principal assistant to Rudolph W. Giuliani when he was at the Justice Department in the Reagan administration.”
Bill Weld who has announced his intent to primary President Trump told the Post that by the time he’d reviewed the statement, it already had 100 signatures. Weld signed the letter “because he had concluded the evidence “goes well beyond what is required to support criminal charges of obstruction of justice.””
Weld said, “I hope the letter will be persuasive evidence that Attorney General Barr’s apparent legal theory is incorrect.”
The former prosecutors statement which at the time of this article included 419 names span both Democrat and Republican administrations dating back to the Nixon era.