Over 450 Former Federal Prosecutors: Trump Was Not Charged With Obstruction Because He Is POTUS

Mueller and Trump

That’s a lot of former federal prosecutors.

Here is a taste of Matt Zapotosky’s piece at The Washington Post:

More than 450 former federal prosecutors who worked in Republican and Democratic administrations have signed on to a statement asserting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s findings would have produced obstruction charges against President Trump — if not for the office he holds.

The statement — signed by myriad former career government employees as well as high-profile political appointees — offers a rebuttal to Attorney General William P. Barr’s determination that the evidence Mueller uncovered was “not sufficient” to establish that Trump committed a crime.

Mueller had declined to say one way or the other whether Trump should have been charged, citing a Justice Department legal opinion that sitting presidents cannot be indicted, as well as concerns about the fairness of accusing someone for whom there can be no court proceeding.

“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 emphasize that these are not matters of close professional judgment,” they added. “Of course, there are potential defenses 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.”

Read the entire piece here.  Read the statement here.  As of Monday night at 11:59PM, the number of signatures had reached 567.

13 thoughts on “Over 450 Former Federal Prosecutors: Trump Was Not Charged With Obstruction Because He Is POTUS

  1. I gave the list of signatories a cursory scan. It is somewhat misleading. The list states under which administrations the individuals served during their entire government tenure, but it does not state which administration appointed each official. In other words, a sizable percentage of the signatories are partisan Democrats. For example, I noted one name whose federal service was under Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush I. But who appointed him to be a federal prosecutor? The list is silent. The man was presumably a merit-based civil servant for many years before being appointed as a prosecutor. Odds are that it was under a DEM president.

    To be sure there are undoubtedly GOP, Never-Trumper appointees on the list, but it would still be interesting to learn which of all of these people were appointed by Republican and which by Democrat administrations. I don’t have the time to do the research but will be curious to see if someone does.

    Regardless of the political affiliation of the signatories, however, it is a feather in Trump’s hat that they all came together to vent their feelings. Ultimately, the Swamp looks out for the Swamp with actual political ties being secondary. The angry list is a testament to the dismantling of the chummy D.C. club and the elevation of the .American people. A new birth of freedom!

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      • Unicorn,

        Vindication implies that a crime was committed. Mueller struck out trying to find one. Maybe one of these former federal attorneys could have done a better job than Mr. Mueller if he/she had been appointed instead.

        James

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    • James:

      Let me save you the trouble of doing the research. I too looked at the list of names and highest title held in federal service. I’m a lawyer who regularly litigates against the federal government. While I don’t know anyone on that list personally, I know DOJ’s structure. The vast majority of the people on that list are career federal prosecutors. They are not political appointees and never underwent Senate confirmation. They likely were hired straight out of law school. While the likely have political opinions (lawyers are full of opinions!) they owe their positions to their skill as attorneys and their work ethic and not the largess of any administration Democratic or Republican.

      Liked by 1 person

      • RM,
        I disagree with you. Requiring Senate confirmation does not imply that politics are not involved in an appointment. These higher jobs are not standard Government Service jobs but are instead within a senior executive status category. The prevailing political powers within the bureaucracy know who is loyal to the party cause and tend to elevate these people to higher positions within the government senior executive service. It’s a wink and a nod action, and if you had spent much time inside the government, you would know the internal chemistry.
        Furthermore, since you admit not to knowing any of these people, you cannot say with certainty which of them might have been high enough to require Senate approval
        James

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        • James,

          So, you’re not a lawyer and you took a “cursory” glance at a list of names, and yet you are super confident in your nonprofessional conclusion that everyone there is corrupt and anti-Trump so you can safely dismiss the legal judgment of hundreds of lawyers who don’t confirm the political bias in which you are ensconced (including a lawyer who actually sues the federal government who is actually talking to you)?

          You don’t know anything about the DOJ hierarchy, its hiring process, or its promotional process, but you’re pretty sure it all lines up to what you casually speculate should exonerate your Lord and Savior Donald Trump, the agent of “the elevation of the American people” and the “new birth of freedom!”?

          Are you at all aware that you frequently come across as exactly the kind of mentally contorted and casually deluded evangelical described in detail in Fea’s BELIEVE ME? Do you intend to confirm his hypotheses or is it just accidental? Sometimes I wonder if you are actually a liberal troll pretending to be a caricature of a conservative evangelical. It sincerely baffles me that you hop onto this blog to regularly demonstrate the real truth of his analysis while conducting yourself in such a unseemly light.

          Justin

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          • Justin,

            Isn’t it rather presumptuous for you to assume that I don’t know anything about the DOJ, the law, or the Washington system? Do you know anything specific about my career history or my educational background? I don’t think you do.

            James

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            • James,

              Your speculation/rationalizations about appointees and bias in the first half of the conversation implied you don’t know very much, but if that is a mistaken impression of mine I invite you to clarify your experience with the Department of Justice.

              Justin

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              • Justin,
                I am not a lawyer but have done one year of formal legal training under the instruction of active DOJ lawyers in the Washington area. Additionally, I spent roughly ten years working in Washington at various levels of private and public employment.
                I know the culture of the city and of the federal workforce very well and could have remained had I desired. I did not elect to do that and am now happily residing elsewhere. After leaving I did stay in touch with contacts and can tell you that the arrogance of statist power is still very much alive.
                James

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                • Thanks for that clarification James–what kind of employment did you have in Washington? There is an interesting mixture of information in your reply–“I am not a lawyer” right next to ‘trained by DOJ’ lawyers so I am trying to piece together what kind of training makes you qualified to speculate on the political affiliation and biases of 450 professionals.

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                  • Justin,
                    Sorry. I just re-read your posting and realized that I did not completely answer your question. Specifically, you asked me how I could speculate about the political affiliations of 450 federal attorneys.
                    I can speculate because I know Washington government culture across departments and I can read the titles of the 450 names listed. They are either Senior Executive level or even in some cases presidential appointees. Many, many jobs in Washington at the senior executive level are “wired.” That means that a formal advertising announcement is made but the authorities already know who they are going to select. If Republicans are in control at the cabinet officer level, the assistant and deputy assistant secretaries favor Republicans. Ditto if the DEMs are in power…….they want senior executives who will implement the policies of the DEM administration. It is almost like a sanitized re-enactment of the old 19th Century spoils system. The big difference is that certain SES holdovers from a previous administration are not as easy to remove as they were under the old spoils system.
                    In fairness, it can be said that the system is not quite as political in the hard science agencies such as NASA, NIH, CDC, AEC, etc.
                    I might add at this point that many of these political people don’t mind leaving federal service once they serve for a while. They can parlay their experience into far more money in the Washington private sector. I would guess that a majority of the 450 signatories did not retire to a golf course in Florida but have hung around Washington and increasing their salaries exponentially in private law practice with a government emphasis.

                    James

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                    • Thanks for that clarification–some decades ago you had some kind of non-legal or supplemental training with some Washington area lawyers loosely related to procurement law, if I understand you correctly? I apologize for thinking you were unqualified for an immediate assessment of 450+ professionals and their political affiliation based on a cursory glance.

                      The list is up to about 803 names tonight. I notice that many of them have served only under Republican administrations.

                      Like

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