May 14, 2020 Update:
After William Barr’s action to get the case against Michael Flynn dismissed, renewed attention has been focused on Barr for his improper execution of the Attorney General Office. On May 11, 2020, over 2,000 former Department of Justice officials and FBI agents had signed an open letter calling for Barr to resign. In March 2020, United States District Judge Reggie Walton held in Electronic Privacy Information Center v. U.S. Department of Justice (Freedom of Information Act, FOIA) “Although Attorney General Barr can be commended for his effort to expeditiously release a summary of Special Counsel Mueller’s principal conclusions in the public interest, the Court is troubled by his hurried release of his March 24, 2019 letter well in advance of when the redacted version of the Mueller Report was ultimately made available to the public. The speed by which Attorney General Barr released to the public the summary of Special Counsel Mueller’s principal conclusions, coupled with the fact that Attorney General Barr failed to provide a thorough representation of the findings set forth in the Mueller Report, causes the Court to question whether Attorney General Barr’s intent was to create a one-sided narrative about the Mueller Report – a narrative that is clearly in some respects substantively at odds with the redacted version of the Mueller Report.
Attorney General Barr’s decision to not only conduct a press conference but also issue his April 18, 2019 letter immediately prior to releasing the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the public on April 18,2019, also causes the Court concern. “
May 29, 2019 Update:
What did Special Counsel Robert Mueller tell the public in his resignation press conference held on May 29, 2019?
Mr. Mueller made it clear that William Bar made misrepresentations to the public in Bar’s press conference on April 18, 2019, prior to the release of the Mueller Report, and that contrary to what Barr said, the Mueller Report decided not to make any decision about what crimes Mr. Trump committed because Mueller was in fact restricted by the Department of Justice policy decision. However, the Mueller report makes it clear that even if the Department of Justice policy prevents the criminal justice system from addressing the crimes of Mr. Trump during the time Mr. Trump is holding office, Congress has current constitutional duty and responsibility to protect the public from crimes of Mr. Trump (pages 438-440 of Report). Mueller’s investigation gives Congress the information preserved for the public interest. This is why it is critical that Congress has access to the full report and the underlying investigation. Below are excerpts from Mueller’s Executive Summary and Conclusion from the Mueller Report.
First, a traditional prosecution or declination decision entails a binary determination to initiate or decline a prosecution, but we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment. The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) has issued an opinion finding that “the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would impermissibly undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions” in violation of “the constitutional separation of powers. ,,[ Given the role of the Special Counsel as an attorney in the Department of Justice and the framework of the Special Counsel regulations, see 28 U.S.C. § 515; 28 C.F.R. § 600.7(a), this Office accepted OLC’s legal conclusion for the purpose of exercising prosecutorial jurisdiction. And apart from OLC’s constitutional view, we recognized that a federal criminal accusation against a sitting President would place burdens on the President’s capacity to govern and potentially preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct. (Page 263)
Second, while the OLC opinion concludes that a sitting President may not be prosecuted, it recognizes that a criminal investigation during the President’s term is permissible.’ The OLC opinion also recognizes that a President does not have immunity after he leaves office.” And if individuals other than the President committed an obstruction offense, they may be prosecuted at this time. Given those considerations, the facts known to us, and the strong public interest in safeguarding the integrity of the criminal justice system, we conducted a thorough factual investigation in order to preserve the evidence when memories were fresh and documentary materials were available.
Third, we considered whether to evaluate the conduct we investigated under the Justice Manual standards governing prosecution and declination decisions, but we determined not to apply an approach that could potentially result in a judgment that the President committed crimes. (Page 264)
Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President’s conduct. The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. (Page 444)
May 9, 2019, Update:
Why Congress Had to Hold The Attorney General in Contempt
Mr. Trump is well known for his excitement about walls. He has implied and contended that his Office is superior to the other two branches of government and that both Congress and the Supreme Court should follow his marching steps. He often criticized Jeff Sessions for not being a wall to protect him from Congress and the Courts. He found someone to do just that, William Barr. It wasn’t difficult to find Barr. Barr wrote him an open engagement letter for an unholy alliance in June 2018.
So how does the Constitution sort all this out? The Supreme Court’s role is the interpretation of the U.S. Constitution as to both acts of the Executive Branch and acts of Congress. “the constitution is to be considered, in court, as a paramount law…” Marbury v. Madison ( 1 Cranch) at 178 (1803). Below are excerpts from the U.S. Constitution:
Section. 1. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Section. 1. The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America…Before he enter on the Execution of his Office he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: – “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Section. 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Section. 1. The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court,
On May 8, 2019, the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in Contempt. Below are the reasons stated in the bill.
Specifically, the Special Counsel noted the need not to “preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct,” affirmed that “Congress can validly make obstruction-of-justice statutes applicable to corruptly motivated official acts of the President,” and rejected President Trump’s “statutory and constitutional defenses to the potential application of the obstruction-of-justice statutes to the President’s conduct.” (page 14)
The investigation into the alleged obstruction of justice, public corruption, and other abuses of power by President Donald Trump, his associates, and members of his Administration and related concerns is being undertaken pursuant to the full authority of the Committee under Rule X(l) and applicable law. (page 18)
President Trump’s repeated efforts to obstruct and derail the Special Counsel’s investigations also pose grave concerns. Volume II of Special Counsel Mueller’s Report details “multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian-interference and obstruction investigations.” The President’s efforts increased in intensity over time. Once he “became aware that his own conduct was being investigated in an obstruction-of-justice inquiry, he engaged in a second phase of conduct, involving public attacks on the investigation, non-public efforts to control it, and efforts in both public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation. (page 21)
The Mueller Report contains evidence that in the wake of an attack by a hostile nation against American democratic institutions, President Trump’s response was to undermine the investigation rather than take action against the perpetrators. The facts recounted in the Mueller Report make clear the Committee’s interest in obtaining further, more detailed information. For example, the Mueller Report states that when the President learned that he himself was under investigation for obstruction, the President “directed McGahn to call Rosenstein to have the Special Counsel removed. (page 22)
As the Special Counsel further noted, the Department has a policy against indicting a sitting president, which the Special Counsel “accepted for purposes of exercising prosecutorial jurisdiction.” Congress is therefore the only body able to hold the President to account for improper conduct in our tripartite system, and urgently requires the subpoenaed material to determine whether and how to proceed with its constitutional duty to provide checks and balances on the President and Executive Branch. Otherwise, the President remains insulated from legal consequences and sits above the law. As the Special Counsel emphasized, in our system, “no person in this country is so high that he is above the law.” (page 24)
May 1, 2019, Update:
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s heavily redacted report released by the Justice Department April 18, 2019, contradicts the prior letter offered as a summary of the report by Attorney General William Barr and his interview characterizing the report as completely clearing Mr. Trump. Robert Mueller notified William Barr in a letter dated March 27, 2019, that Barr’s summary did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of Mueller’s work and conclusions and Barr’s summary confused the public.