President Trump Vindicated as DOJ Releases Mueller Memo on Not Prosecuting President Trump
The Department of Justice (DOJ) released a 2019 memorandum Wednesday that explained that then-President Donald Trump should not be prosecuted for obstruction of justice because his statements about the Mueller investigation had a valid purpose.
The memo, prepared on the basis of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia “collusion,” and sent to then-Attorney General William Barr, found that Trump’s attacks on the investigation were motivated by legitimate frustration.
Furthermore, the memo concluded that Trump could not be prosecuted for his statements about the investigation or criticisms of cooperating witnesses without intruding on the president’s authority to control the executive branch under the Constitution.
Politico reported Wednesday:
In the nine-page memo disclosed Wednesday, two of the most senior officials in the Justice Department advised then-Attorney General William Barr that Trump’s threats to fire Mueller and his various public and private outbursts against witnesses he viewed as hostile or unhelpful to him didn’t amount to the sort of case prosecutors would bring under their established standards.
“Having reviewed the Report in light of the governing legal principles, and the Principles of Federal Prosecution, we conclude that none of those instances would warrant a prosecution for obstruction of justice, without regard to the constitutional constraint on bringing such an action against a sitting president,” the assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, Steven Engel, and Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Edward O’Callaghan wrote in the March 24, 2019, memo.
In the memo that triggered the disclosure fight, Engel and O’Callaghan concluded that Trump’s conduct primarily reflected a frustration with the Mueller probe and what he perceived to be the politics behind it, as well as news reports they said Trump genuinely believed were flawed. They also suggested that Trump’s exhortations to some of his top allies against “flipping” were meant to prevent them from delivering false testimony — not to conceal the truth.
Mueller had known early in the investigation that there was no evidence of any so-called Russia “collusion,” though he and the prosecutors working for him tried to build a case for charging the president with obstruction of justice in the investigation.
The memo was sought by left-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), who fought a years-long legal battle to obtain the memo, in the hope it would turn up evidence of some kind of coverup to protect Trump.
That suspicion was the basis for claims by Democrats that Trump had somehow “politicized” the DOJ: if the department would not release such documents, and would not call for Trump to be prosecuted, it therefore must have been “politicized.”