Trump haters continue deranged obsession — by other means
The overblown Russian collusion balloon has burst. Democrats, their handmaidens in the mainstream media and other Trump haters are apoplectic that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation found “the evidence was not sufficient to charge that any member of the Trump Campaign conspired with representatives of the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.” However, the Trump haters will never give up trying to unseat him by any means possible. They now are latching on to the Special Counsel’s evidentiary findings relating to possible obstruction of justice, even though the Special Counsel’s Office “did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President’s conduct.” The Mueller report admitted that the evidence it “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.”
Nevertheless, the report concluded with tantalizing language that excited the imaginations of Democrats, the mainstream media and others who want to take President Trump down. The report’s authors stated that “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.”
The New York Times ran a lead editorial on Friday entitled “Mr. Mueller’s Indictment.” NBC similarly called the Mueller report “a brutal indictment” of the president. Of course, there was no such indictment. The Trump haters claim the reason was only because of the Justice Department’s long-standing opinion that a president cannot be indicted while serving in office. It would be unfair to reach a conclusive determination that the president was criminally liable for obstruction of justice without the ability to charge him, the report’s authors argued, since he would not have the opportunity to clear his name in an independent adjudicatory forum. Nevertheless, the Mueller report proceeded to unfairly raise suspicions regarding the president’s intent to commit an obstruction of justice offense with a one-sided prosecutorial narrative based on a worst-case interpretation of “circumstantial evidence.” The report emphasized that it was not ruling out the possibility that the president did commit obstruction of justice, pointedly refusing to “exonerate” him.
It is not the responsibility of a prosecutor to “exonerate” someone suspected of committing a crime. To the contrary, the presumption of innocence means the burden of proof is on the prosecutor to prove that the suspect committed the alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Special Counsel Mueller fell far short of meeting that standard of proof or of even presenting sufficient proof to satisfy the lesser standard of “clear and convincing” evidence. He had the option of asking a grand jury to name President Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator, which was what happened to former President Richard Nixon. Despite an attempt at a self-serving justification for not doing so in this case, it is more likely that Mr. Mueller decided he did not have enough evidence to support such a request to a grand jury.
Corrupt intent is a necessary element for a prosecutor to prove an obstruction of justice offense. As the Mueller report defined it, quoting cases, the word “corruptly” means acting “knowingly and dishonestly” or “with an improper motive” or in a “wrongful, immoral, depraved, or evil” manner. The Mueller report repeatedly stated that the evidence it cited “could” support a finding of improper motive. The word “could” means to “express possibility esp. slight or uncertain possibility,” according to the Cambridge Dictionary definition. In the context of describing what the evidence “could” show about President Trump’s intent, the evidence is simply being used to suggest one possible explanation amongst several.
The report also referred on various occasions to “evidence” that it claimed “supports” an inference or “supports” a conclusion. “Evidence” can be used to “support” one theory of a case. However, it does not rule out other equally plausible possibilities based on the same evidence or on other evidence. The Mueller report acknowledged that “the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference” – i.e., no underlying crime by the president to try and cover up – but argued nevertheless that “the evidence does point to a range of other possible personal motives animating the President’s conduct.” (Emphasis added) All that the Mueller report did, in other words, was to present a list of worst-case possibilities regarding what the president might have intended in casting around for ways to halt or influence the direction of the ongoing investigations, all to no avail.
With one exception, the report did not fully address equally plausible but innocent motives for the president’s actions described in the obstruction of justice portion of the report. It is that one overriding exception, however, which undercuts much of the rest of the report’s discussion of the president’s intent. The Mueller report admitted that, with respect to the Russian collusion portion of the investigation, the “evidence indicates that the President was concerned about the impact of the Russia investigation on his ability to govern. The President complained that the perception that he was under investigation was hurting his ability to conduct foreign relations, particularly with Russia.”
The report acknowledged the president’s frustration with former FBI Director James Comey’s refusal to publicly acknowledge what he had told the president in private – that the president was not under investigation by the FBI for conspiracy with the Russians to improperly influence the 2016 presidential election. “Substantial evidence indicates that the catalyst for the President ‘s decision to fire Comey was Comey ‘s unwillingness to publicly state that the President was not personally under investigation, despite the President’s repeated requests that Comey make such an announcement,” the report said.
(Front Page Mag)
(To Be Continued Next Week)
Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam.
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