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Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: Speedy
Date: May 16, 2018 09:13PM
[www.nytimes.com]

WASHINGTON — The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, will not indict President Trump if he finds wrongdoing in his investigation of Trump campaign links to Russia, according to the president’s lawyers. They said Wednesday that Mr. Mueller’s investigators told them that he would adhere to the Justice Department’s view that the Constitution bars prosecuting sitting presidents.

The disclosure provides the greatest clarity to date about how Mr. Mueller, who is also investigating whether Mr. Trump tried to obstruct the inquiry itself, may proceed. If he concludes that he has evidence that the president broke the law, experts say, he now has only two main options while Mr. Trump remains in office: He could write a report about the president’s conduct that Congress might use as part of any impeachment proceedings, or he could deem the president as an unindicted co-conspirator in court documents.

Mr. Mueller’s stance could serve as political relief for Mr. Trump, whose presidency has been under the cloud of the investigation. Mr. Trump has repeatedly called it a “witch hunt.” A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a question about how the president reacted to Mr. Mueller’s viewpoint on indictment.

But the question of whether the president can be indicted is unsettled. Many legal experts and current and former Justice Department officials believed that Mr. Mueller would follow the conclusions of Justice Department lawyers, who argued during both the Nixon and Clinton administrations that an indictment would interfere with the president’s constitutional responsibilities and powers to run the executive branch.

Mr. Trump’s lead lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, said the special counsel’s office displayed uncertainty about whether Mr. Trump could be indicted. “When I met with Mueller’s team, they seemed to be in a little bit of confusion about whether they could indict,” Mr. Giuliani said. “We said, ‘It’s pretty clear that you have to follow D.O.J. policy.’”

Mr. Giuliani said that one member of Mr. Mueller’s office acknowledged that the president could not be indicted. Two or three days later, Mr. Giuliani said, Mr. Mueller’s office called another of the president’s lawyers, Jay Sekulow, to say that prosecutors would adhere to the Justice Department view.

“They can’t indict,” Mr. Giuliani said. “They can’t indict. Because if they did, it would be dismissed quickly. There’s no precedent for a president being indicted.”

It is not clear why Mr. Mueller has decided that he will not seek Mr. Trump’s indictment. A spokesman for the special counsel declined to offer clarity about the assertions of Mr. Giuliani, who since being hired last month by Mr. Trump has repeatedly made statements that were later clarified. In his most notable misstep, he mischaracterized how payments were made by Mr. Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, to a pornographic film actress who has said she had sex with Mr. Trump. The president has denied her accusation.

Mr. Mueller’s apparent willingness to follow the department’s view that sitting presidents may not be indicted may have a direct effect on the most pressing decision facing Mr. Trump about the investigation: whether to sit for an interview with investigators. For months, Mr. Trump’s lawyers and Mr. Mueller have been negotiating the terms of an interview.

Several current and former members of Mr. Trump’s legal team have expressed their belief that if Mr. Trump has no criminal exposure, then he has no reason for him to agree to be interviewed.

“Sitting for an interview is just riskier and could create more exposure, so why risk it if there is no criminal issue?” said John Dowd, who until March was Mr. Trump’s lead lawyer for the special counsel inquiry. “The president is extremely busy and it will take — given the 49 questions — months to prepare him, and they’re not worthy of the distraction.”

“The special counsel’s office has the answers,” he added, referring to the reams of documents the White House has handed over, “and if they want more, they can ask for them from the president’s counsel. He’s too busy a guy.”
But the president himself has shown eagerness to be questioned. Mr. Dowd quit over their opposing views on the matter.

If Mr. Trump refuses to be interviewed, Mr. Mueller could subpoena him to answer questions in front of a grand jury. Mr. Giuliani said that if Mr. Trump cannot be indicted, he does not believe Mr. Mueller can subpoena him. “We would say they can’t,” Mr. Giuliani said. Mr. Trump’s lawyers believe that the only topic on which Mr. Mueller could seek to subpoena the president would be for information he personally had about obstruction of justice.

Mr. Mueller, who was appointed a year ago Thursday, does not appear to have gone that far in his views. But the fact that he has decided he will not indict the president before he has finished investigating the case strongly suggests that his reason has to do with the rules, apart from what the evidence turns up.

While nothing in the Constitution or federal statutes says that sitting presidents cannot be indicted, and no court has ever ruled that they are temporarily immune, lawyers with the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel have twice concluded — once during the Nixon administration, and again during the Clinton administration — that the Constitution bars prosecuting presidents.

Both the stigma of being charged with a crime and the burden of a trial — including a likely need to be in the courtroom at times — would undermine the president’s abilities to carry out his duties, preventing the executive branch “from accomplishing its constitutional functions” in a way that cannot “be justified by an overriding need,” as Robert G. Dixon Jr., then the head of the Office of Legal Counsel, wrote in September 1973.

That theory — crafted by lawyers appointed by Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton — has been contested by some scholars. In particular, lawyers working for the special prosecutor in the Watergate case, Leon Jaworski, and the independent counsel in the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky investigations, Kenneth Starr, maintained that the Justice Department’s interpretation was wrong and that a president could be indicted while in office.

Those who think a president can be indicted have cited a 1997 Supreme Court ruling that held that a lawsuit against Mr. Clinton could proceed while he was in office, notwithstanding the burdens that it imposed upon him. They have also pointed to the 25th Amendment, which allows a president who is disabled from performing his duties be temporarily replaced by the vice president.

But Mr. Mueller appears to have far less latitude than either of those predecessors in how he chooses to interpret the law. The regulations that Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, cited when appointing Mr. Mueller say that he must obey the Justice Department’s “rules, regulations, procedures, practices and policies,” and Office of Legal Counsel interpretations of the law are generally binding on the department.

Moreover, neither Mr. Jaworski nor Mr. Starr ultimately tried to indict Mr. Nixon or Mr. Clinton. Instead, as a prudential matter, they let Congress decide, through impeachment proceedings, whether to remove those presidents from office on the basis of the evidence they had helped to gather.

As for the possibility of listing Mr. Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator in court documents, Justice Department rules strongly discourage identifying people as uncharged wrongdoers “in the absence of some significant justification.” The rules, listed in the United States attorneys’ manual, do not explain what would make it necessary, but require higher-level approval to do so.

Because of those legal and those historical precedents, then, many legal analysts have assumed that even if Mr. Mueller uncovered sufficient evidence to indict Mr. Trump, he — with Mr. Rosenstein, who oversees his decisions — would most likely seek to refer the matter to Congress rather than seeking the president’s indictment, at least while he remains in office.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: May 16, 2018 10:04PM
Quote
NYTimes
...would most likely seek to refer the matter to Congress rather than seeking the president’s indictment, at least while he remains in office.

January 4, 2019 (assuming the blue wave continues). 233 days away.



In tha 360. MRF User Map
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: Ted King
Date: May 16, 2018 10:15PM
On a panel discussion I was listening to today, a former FBI agent hypothesized that a possible reason Mueller may choose to not indict Trump is because if Mueller posits that a sitting president can't be indicted then that implies that Trump could not invoke his 5th Amendment right against being forced to incriminate himself. I have no idea if that is legally the case, but if it is that would be really rich. What would/will the Supreme Court do if Trump is not in legal jeopardy so can't invoke the 5th and then refuses to testify if Mueller calls him before a grand jury?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/16/2018 10:15PM by Ted King.
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: deckeda
Date: May 17, 2018 06:46AM
Skip Congress, even if there’s a blue wave.

“As for the possibility of listing Mr. Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator in court documents, Justice Department rules strongly discourage identifying people as uncharged wrongdoers “in the absence of some significant justification.” The rules, listed in the United States attorneys’ manual, do not explain what would make it necessary, but require higher-level approval to do so. ”

It’s not a stretch to think significant justification fairly drips from the walls and that Rosenstein, when presented with the evidence, would approve it.
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: vision63
Date: May 17, 2018 09:40AM
Robert Mueller - Bobby Fisher
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: May 17, 2018 09:43AM
I admire your leap of faith for taking Giuliani's word for anything.
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: May 17, 2018 10:14AM
It seems unlikely at this point that the president will be impeached and convicted. Time to focus on other strategies.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: vision63
Date: May 17, 2018 10:17AM
Quote
rjmacs
It seems unlikely at this point that the president will be impeached and convicted. Time to focus on other strategies.

The ONLY other thing people need to focus on is voting and voting FOR the Democrat in every possible way. Blue Wave.
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: pdq
Date: May 17, 2018 10:42AM
Kind of interesting. In a completely non-political vein, the POTUS could, say, murder some innocent sap on live TV, and they couldn’t charge him?

I understand what kind of banana-republic stuff we’re trying to avoid (tying up a POTUS in court over some bogus charges, for instance), but an absolute policy like that leads to some untenable potential end points.
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: May 17, 2018 10:51AM
Quote
vision63
Quote
rjmacs
It seems unlikely at this point that the president will be impeached and convicted. Time to focus on other strategies.

The ONLY other thing people need to focus on is voting and voting FOR the Democrat in every possible way. Blue Wave.

That's great. But we won't get there by promising a vaporware impeachment that won't happen. You're not doing this, vision63, but lots of gung ho Democrats are. It's not going to happen.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: $tevie
Date: May 17, 2018 12:16PM
Quote
rjmacs
Quote
vision63
Quote
rjmacs
It seems unlikely at this point that the president will be impeached and convicted. Time to focus on other strategies.

The ONLY other thing people need to focus on is voting and voting FOR the Democrat in every possible way. Blue Wave.

That's great. But we won't get there by promising a vaporware impeachment that won't happen. You're not doing this, vision63, but lots of gung ho Democrats are. It's not going to happen.

You misread vision's post. It wasn't about getting rid of Trump, it was about getting a Congress that can block his agenda.



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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: deckeda
Date: May 17, 2018 12:20PM
... and also, let's please oh dear Lord not allow Congress to impeach Trump!

Would you rather have Pence installed? Would you rather have every Republican carry a chip on their shoulder for every Democrat, for decades to come?

Or would you prefer to have the freakin' PEOPLE get rid of him via the VOTE?
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: Ammo
Date: May 17, 2018 12:29PM
Quote
rjmacs
It seems unlikely at this point that the president will be impeached and convicted. Time to focus on other strategies.

I would say it’s very unlikely. It is worrisome to me that there seems to be a sense among some people that Mueller is going to make Trump go away, so people who oppose him can just relax until that happens. Many voters and legislators in this country have absolutely no sense of shame, and will blithely ignore even the most damaging information about him. It will take more than just Democrats to do anything more than just chastise Trump.

I feel the same about the “blue wave” scenario.



Inside every old person is a young person saying "what happened?"

“Love is the motive, but justice is the instrument.” - Reinhold Niebuhr

“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.” George Orwell



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/17/2018 12:34PM by Ammo.
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: Acer
Date: May 17, 2018 01:21PM
Take one house to shut down the agenda.
Let him flail in the wind for two years.
Vote him out.

Any quick fix will get you Pence who will be much harder to dislodge just by virtue of looking reasonably competent after the Trump circus.
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: Lux Interior
Date: May 17, 2018 01:26PM
Quote
Steve G.
I admire your leap of faith for taking Giuliani's word for anything.

He is one of the greatest legal minds of our generation currently willing to represent Trump.
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: max
Date: May 17, 2018 01:28PM
Shocking:
Quote
rjmacs
It seems unlikely at this point that the president will be impeached and convicted.
Absolutely shocking....

Then, to top it off, he brings up the self induced orgasmic dreams so common to this side....
Quote
rjmacs
...we won't get there by promising a vaporware impeachment that won't happen. ... lots of gung ho Democrats are. It's not going to happen.

Finally somebody is getting it....
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: pdq
Date: May 17, 2018 01:49PM
Quote
rjmacs
But we won't get there by promising a vaporware impeachment that won't happen. You're not doing this, vision63, but lots of gung ho Democrats are. It's not going to happen.

If the House flips, and Mueller shows significant wrongdoing, I think there's a 50-50 chance Trump would be impeached.

Convicted by the Senate and removed? No. No one's ever been convicted.
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: Speedy
Date: May 17, 2018 01:50PM
Quote
max
Shocking:
Quote
rjmacs
It seems unlikely at this point that the president will be impeached and convicted.
Absolutely shocking....

Then, to top it off, he brings up the self induced orgasmic dreams so common to this side....
Quote
rjmacs
...we won't get there by promising a vaporware impeachment that won't happen. ... lots of gung ho Democrats are. It's not going to happen.

Finally somebody is getting it....

It's so much better to have Pres. Trump prove his own incredibilty on a daily basis than to have the Democrats impeach him. Once he is neutered by a blue House, no need to get rid of him and suffer even more with a Pres. Pence.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: GGD
Date: May 17, 2018 03:08PM
Quote
deckeda
... and also, let's please oh dear Lord not allow Congress to impeach Trump!

Would you rather have Pence installed? Would you rather have every Republican carry a chip on their shoulder for every Democrat, for decades to come?

Or would you prefer to have the freakin' PEOPLE get rid of him via the VOTE?

What would happen timing worked out so that Pence replaced 45 in say June 2020, who would be the republican presidential candidate, and if it's Pence, would all of the 45 voters feel the same about him as they do about 45? Would he become another Gerald Ford?

He could still do a lot of damage in 7 months, but of course his own party wouldn't allow him to choose someone for the supreme court, right?
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: May 17, 2018 03:59PM
Quote
GGD
He could still do a lot of damage in 7 months, but of course his own party wouldn't allow him to choose someone for the supreme court, right?

Republicans have already done a lot of damage. There were about 60 judicial appointments that went unfilled at the end of Obama's term. Nearly 60 more have opened up and the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee is accepting just about any Alt-Reich cretin that has passed the bar.



In tha 360. MRF User Map
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: vision63
Date: May 17, 2018 08:41PM
Quote
pdq
Quote
rjmacs
But we won't get there by promising a vaporware impeachment that won't happen. You're not doing this, vision63, but lots of gung ho Democrats are. It's not going to happen.

If the House flips, and Mueller shows significant wrongdoing, I think there's a 50-50 chance Trump would be impeached.

Convicted by the Senate and removed? No. No one's ever been convicted.

You never know what can happen. We'll always have elections, but this time, a foreign power interfered. Nothing more important than getting to the bottom of all of that. I mean, if they all walked into a building, stole computers and manipulated and abused the information we'd be at war.
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: May 17, 2018 10:28PM

Mueller's biding his time
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: May 18, 2018 07:51AM
Quote
Speedy
It's so much better to have Pres. Trump prove his own incredibilty on a daily basis than to have the Democrats impeach him. Once he is neutered by a blue House, no need to get rid of him and suffer even more with a Pres. Pence.

Nope.

Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
Quote
GGD
He could still do a lot of damage in 7 months, but of course his own party wouldn't allow him to choose someone for the supreme court, right?

Republicans have already done a lot of damage. There were about 60 judicial appointments that went unfilled at the end of Obama's term. Nearly 60 more have opened up and the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee is accepting just about any Alt-Reich cretin that has passed the bar.

Democrats MUST take the Senate too; otherwise, he will continue to stack the judiciary. Remember: Mitch McConnell stalled/blocked every Obama judicial nominee he could after the GOP took the Senate, including changing the Supreme Court for generations to come. He has been working with the president to install as many crazy right wing judges on the circuit courts as possible, and he's already eclipsed the total # of Obama appointments over 8 years in office.

When Kennedy retires, if the GOP holds the Senate then Roe v. Wade WILL be overturned in the subsequent Supreme Court session. When that happens, it's the circuit courts that will do the yeoman's work of determining how abortion bans go into effect throughout the country.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Mueller Won’t Indict Trump if He Finds Wrongdoing
Posted by: vision63
Date: May 18, 2018 08:49AM
Quote
rjmacs
Quote
Speedy
It's so much better to have Pres. Trump prove his own incredibilty on a daily basis than to have the Democrats impeach him. Once he is neutered by a blue House, no need to get rid of him and suffer even more with a Pres. Pence.

Nope.

Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
Quote
GGD
He could still do a lot of damage in 7 months, but of course his own party wouldn't allow him to choose someone for the supreme court, right?

Republicans have already done a lot of damage. There were about 60 judicial appointments that went unfilled at the end of Obama's term. Nearly 60 more have opened up and the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee is accepting just about any Alt-Reich cretin that has passed the bar.

Democrats MUST take the Senate too; otherwise, he will continue to stack the judiciary. Remember: Mitch McConnell stalled/blocked every Obama judicial nominee he could after the GOP took the Senate, including changing the Supreme Court for generations to come. He has been working with the president to install as many crazy right wing judges on the circuit courts as possible, and he's already eclipsed the total # of Obama appointments over 8 years in office.

When Kennedy retires, if the GOP holds the Senate then Roe v. Wade WILL be overturned in the subsequent Supreme Court session. When that happens, it's the circuit courts that will do the yeoman's work of determining how abortion bans go into effect throughout the country.

Yes!, Not flipping these houses isn't an option. Or die trying.
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