May 6 (UPI) — More than 400 former Justice Department officials said Monday that the Robert Mueller report would have made the case for multiple felony counts of obstruction against President Donald Trump had he not been protected from indictment by his office.
The officials, who served under both Democratic and Republican presidents at all levels of government, said the report describes multiple actions by Trump that would have satisfied the requirements for an obstruction charge.
“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 officials said in a joint statement posted to Medium.
The Mueller report, released in April, said that though there was insufficient evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to meddle in the 2016 election, there were 10 episodes in which Trump attempted to obstruct Mueller’s probe.
The former Justice officials pointed to three categories of such alleged offenses — the president’s efforts to fire Mueller and falsify evidence about that effort; his efforts to limit the scope of Mueller’s probe; and his efforts to prevent witnesses from cooperating.
Despite Mueller’s evidence of obstruction, Trump has publicly described the special counsel’s findings as a personal victory.
“There are ‘no high crimes and misdemeanors,’ no collusion, no conspiracy, no obstruction,” he tweeted Monday morning. “All the crimes are on the other side, and that’s what the [Democrats] should be looking at, but they won’t. Nevertheless, the tables are turning!”
Last week, Trump said he didn’t want any of his current or former administration officials, including former White House counsel Don McGhan, to testify to the House about the Mueller report. Mueller’s report indicated that McGhan said that Trump told him to fire the special counsel, but he refused. Trump has disputed the account.
The former Justice officials cited McGhan’s testimony in the Mueller report, criticizing Trump for also asking McGhan to pre-emptively write a letter to have on file to deny the attempt to fire Mueller.
“Firing Mueller would have seriously impeded the investigation of the president and his associates — obstruction in its most literal sense,” the Medium post said.