They have just gone crazy in D.C. Once again a “leak” to the Washington Post has opened a mysterious door with an allegation from an “unnamed source” that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating President Trump for Obstruction of Justice. Really? His “best buddy” James Comey publicly made numerous statements that would debunk any Trump obstruction, unless…….
Unless Mueller might think the President’s firing of Comey was actually to stymie the Russia investigation which would really BE Obstruction, IF Trump’s intent was to stop that investigation. Firing Comey as evidence of Presidential intent to stop that investigation is a far reach. But maybe that’s what all this noise in D.C. that seems to never end is about just that: “far reach.” Let’s look at what things have and are happening that REALLY are far reaches:
- Mueller being a Special Counsel at all. Why? His doing so under these circumstances is actually a violation of the actual “Special Counsel Statute.” Greg Jarrett of FOX News in an editorial gave us these facts:
The special counsel statute specifically prohibits Mueller from serving if he has “a personal relationship with any person substantially involved in the investigation or prosecution.” The language is mandatory. He “shall” disqualify himself. Comey is substantially involved in the case. Indeed, he is the central witness. The two men and former colleagues have long been friends, allies and partners. Agents have quipped that they were joined at the hip while at the Department of Justice and the FBI. They have a mentor-protégé relationship. The likelihood of prejudice and favoritism is glaring and severe. So, it is incomprehensible that the man who is a close friend of the star witness against the president… will now determine whether the president committed a prosecutable crime in his dealings with Mueller’s good friend. Mueller cannot possibly be fair in judging the credibility of his friend versus the man who fired him.
- In all matters, prosecutors are forbidden from presiding over a case in which they have a personal relationship with a key, pivotal witness. This is the kind of disqualifying mandate which, if violated, can and should result in disbarment proceedings against a lawyer. Mueller is violating not only the special counsel statute, but the Canons of Ethics and its successor, the Code of Professional Responsibility, which govern the conduct of lawyers.
- Compounding the conflict is the debate over whether Comey himself committed crimes. He admitted in his testimony that he leaked the memo reflecting his alleged conversation with President Trump. It is a felony to convert government property (the memo) to personal use and then “convey” it to someone outside the government without authorization.Moreover, Comey’s non-disclosure contract promises he will not disclose the very kind of information he leaked to the media. Doing so, subjects him to “criminal sanctions and personal liability in a civil action” for money damages. It matters not that he is no longer at the FBI. His agreement is a binding, enforceable and actionable contract regardless of Comey’s job status.
- Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, is the only person who can fire the special counsel. But he, too, has a conflict of interest if Mueller’s investigation now includes Comey’s firing. Inasmuch as Rosenstein is the person who composed the memo that formed the basis for Comey’s termination and may have had conversations with the president about the reasons for firing Comey, Rosenstein now becomes an important witness. He cannot serve as Mueller’s boss at the Department of Justice while simultaneously acting as a witness in the case being investigated by his appointee.
I don’t think I’ve ever in American politics seen as much history-changing activity set in motion for any alleged infraction of any political figure. And the foundation for these leaked alleged Presidential infractions is nothing more than sand. There is no there there! Rosenstein is in a really tough spot here. He appointed Mueller who has a reputation of being fair, but in this case fairness when his best friend and longtime business associate is deeply involved and may indeed himself be guilty of illegal activity in actions he took that may too rise to the level of Special Counsel investigation, even if he is no longer an FBI employee. The confidentiality agreement he executed as Director STILL precludes his release of information and documents he voluntarily committed he had released. Rosenstein has just one choice: remove Mueller. Mueller, on the other hand, should recognize this dilemma he has created and voluntarily step down.
But let’s “far reach” into a “possible” future occurrence in this matter. What if evidence supports Impeachment action for Obstruction of Justice? How does that work? No president has ever been removed from office. But 4 presidents have dealt with impeachment actions: Andrew Johnson, John Tyler, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton. “If” Mueller (or any subsequent Counsel) presented evidence to Congress for Impeachment, how would the process work. Let’s break it down here:
In the House of Representatives, The House Judiciary Committee decides whether or not to proceed with impeachment. If they do…
- The Chairman of the Judiciary Committee will propose a resolution calling for the Judiciary Committee to begin a formal inquiry into the issue of impeachment. Based on their inquiry, the Judiciary Committee will send another resolution composed of one or more “Articles of Impeachment” to the full House stating that impeachment is warranted and why or that impeachment is not called for. The Full House (probably operating under special floor rules set by the House Rules Committee) will debate and vote on each Article of Impeachment. Should any one of the Articles of Impeachment be approved by a simple majority vote, the President will be “impeached.” However, being impeached is sort of like being indicted of a crime. The president will remain in office pending the outcome of the Senate impeachment trial.
- In the Senate the Articles of Impeachment are received from the House. The Senate formulates rules and procedures for holding a trial. The trial will be held with the president represented by his lawyers. A select group of House members serves as “prosecutors.” The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (currently John G. Roberts) presides with all 100 Senators acting as the jury. The Senate meets in private session to debate a verdict. The Senate, in open session, votes on a verdict. A 2/3 super-majority vote of the Senate will result in a conviction. The Senate will vote to remove the President from office. The Senate may also vote (by a simple majority) to prohibit the President from holding any public office in the future.
“If” that were to happen, Vice President Mike Pence would be sworn in to replace President Trump. Note: Obstruction of Justice is a criminal offense. However, the Senate has no authority to take any action in impeachment for criminal offenses other than their verdict. If any judicial action were to be taken it would occur through the Justice Department.
Here’s the irony of all this: there probably is no there there, and all of this is wasted time and money. I don’t think there’s any Trump supporter who thinks that if Mr. Trump obstructed justice he should receive a pass. But, in 11 months of intense investigation with the joint resources of the Justice Department, FBI, NSA, CIA, Washington Post, New York Times, etc., there is NO evidence! (Remember: Comey headed the FBI looking into this and HE found no evidence)
The tragedy is that all of this noise has drowned out what Washington D.C. is supposed to be doing: governing for the People. It has stopped. And even if the Leftist hardliners received their gift of a Trump impeachment and conviction, what do they get? Mike Pence.