[Rushtalk] Mueller: A President Could Be Charged With Crimes After Leaving Office

Carl Spitzer {C Juno} cwsiv at juno.com
Sun Jul 28 22:24:58 MDT 2019

Mueller: A President Could Be Charged With Crimes After Leaving Office

2019 11:17 AM 

Former Trump-Russia special counsel Robert Mueller told lawmakers
Wednesday that a president can be charged with crimes after leaving

He said Justice Department guidelines prevented him from considering
charges against President Donald Trump while he is in office. Because of
the longtime Justice Department guidance that a sitting president cannot
be indicted, Mueller says "one of the tools a prosecutor would use is
not there."

Mueller has said his investigators could not exonerate Trump on
obstruction of justice. His report said they did not find sufficient
evidence to establish charges of criminal conspiracy between the Trump
campaign and Russia.

He said the president's claims that the investigation had cleared him of
obstruction are not correct. 

"The president was not exculpated for the acts that he allegedly
committed," Mueller declared at the opening of congressional hearings
into his investigation of Russian interference to help Trump win the
2016 election.

The televised Capitol Hill appearances, Mueller's first since wrapping
his two-year Russia probe last spring, are unfolding at a moment of deep
divisions in Congress and the country. It is unclear to what extent his
testimony could change Americans' hardened opinions about the future of
Donald Trump's presidency.

Democrats hope his testimony will weaken Trump's reelection prospects in
ways that Mueller's book-length report did not. Republicans immediately
defended Trump and criticized the Democrats for continuing to go after

Though Mueller declared at the outset that he would be limited in what
he would say, the hearings nonetheless carry the extraordinary spectacle
of a prosecutor discussing in public a criminal investigation he
conducted into a sitting U.S. president.

Mueller, known for his taciturn nature, has warned that he will not
stray beyond what's already been revealed in his report . And the
Justice Department has instructed Mueller to stay strictly within those
parameters, giving him a formal directive to point to if he faces
questions he does not want to answer.

On Tuesday, Democrats on the House judiciary and intelligence committees
granted his request to have his top aide in the investigation, Aaron
Zebley, sit at the table with him. Zebley is not expected to be sworn in
for questioning by the judiciary panel. But he will be able to answer
questions before the intelligence committee, where, a committee aide
said, he will be sworn in. The aide was not authorized to discuss the
hearing preparations publicly and requested anonymity.

Trump lashed out early Wednesday ahead of the hearing, saying on Twitter
that "Democrats and others" are trying to fabricate a crime and pin it
on "a very innocent President."

"Why didn't Robert Mueller investigate the investigators?" Trump said in
his tweet.

Trump has made Mueller a regular target of attack over the past two
years in an attempt to undermine his credibility and portray him as
biased and compromised.

Over the last week, Trump began to frequently ask confidants how he
thought the hearing would go, and while he expressed no worry that
Mueller would reveal anything damaging, he was irritated that the former
special counsel was being given the national stage, according to two
Republicans close to the White House. They were not authorized to speak
publicly about private conversations.

Long aware of the power of televised images, Trump seethed to one
adviser that he was annoyed Democrats would be given a tool to ramp up
their investigations — and that the cable news networks would now have
new footage of Mueller to play endlessly on loop in an effort to
embarrass the White House.

Mueller's approach to testifying may well deny Democrats the made-by-TV
moments they want to rally their base. But Republicans, too, are likely
to be left without their sought-after confirmation that the Russia
investigation was a politically tainted waste of time.

Trump this week feigned indifference to Mueller's testimony , telling
reporters in the Oval Office on Monday, "I'm not going to be watching —
probably — maybe I'll see a little bit of it."

The president has a light schedule when Mueller begins speaking
Wednesday morning, then heads to West Virginia for evening fundraisers.
The TVs aboard Air Force One are likely to be tuned to coverage of the
hearings, and the president is expected to watch or be briefed on most
of the proceedings, according to four administration officials and
Republicans close to the White House. They spoke on the condition of
anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal plans.


Sad News For Meghan Markle And Prince Harry
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