‘Trump would’ve been charged if he wasn’t President’
Washington: Over 450 former US federal prosecutors have signed a statement asserting Special Counsel Robert Muellers findings would have produced obstruction charges against President Donald Trump, if not for the office he holds, the media reported.
The statement signed on Monday offers a rebuttal to Attorney General William Barr’s determination that the evidence Mueller uncovered in his probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, was “not sufficient” to establish that Trump committed a crime, reports The Washington Post.
“Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice,” the former federal prosecutors wrote.
“We emphasise that these are not matters of close professional judgment,” they added.
“Of course, there are potential defences or arguments that could be raised in response to an indictment of the nature we describe here…
“But, to look at these facts and say that a prosecutor could not probably sustain a conviction for obstruction of justice – the standard set out in Principles of Federal Prosecution – runs counter to logic and our experience.”
The statement is notable for the number of people who signed it — 375 as of Monday afternoon, growing to 459 in the hours after it published.
Those signing it did not explicitly address what might happen next.
The signatures were collected by the Protect Democracy, which counts Justice Department alumni among its staff and was contacted about the statement last week by a group of former federal prosecutors, said Justin Vail, an attorney at the non-profit group.
“We strongly believe that Americans deserve to hear from the men and women who spent their careers weighing evidence and making decisions about whether it was sufficient to justify prosecution, so we agreed to send out a call for signatories,” The Washington Post quoted Vail as saying late Monday.
“The response was overwhelming…”