Hundreds of former prosecutors say Trump would have been indicted if he were not president.
“We believe strongly that, but for the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memo, the overwhelming weight of professional judgment would come down in favor of prosecution for the conduct outlined in the Mueller Report,” the former federal prosecutors said in an online statement.
The names were organized and posted online Monday by an organization called “Protect Democracy,” which identifies itself as “a nonpartisan nonprofit with an urgent mission: to prevent American democracy from declining into a more authoritarian form of government.” The statement argued that the Justice Department’s policy of not indicting sitting presidents is the only reason Trump avoided prosecution.
“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 OLC policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice,” the statement read.
Republican Push Back Against Ex-Prosecutor’s Letter
However, as harsh as those words seem, Republicans have pushed back against the anti-Trump sentiments of the ex-prosecutors, saying the president could not have obstructed justice since Mueller found no underlying crime by Trump associates of coordinating with the Russians in the 2016 election.
And during a hearing on Capitol Hill last week, Attorney General Bill Barr testified that Mueller “reiterated several times in a group meeting that he was not saying that but for the [Office of Legal Counsel] opinion he would have found obstruction.” Mueller did not reach a conclusion on the obstruction question. Barr, for his part, determined there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue an obstruction case.
Still, the ex-prosecutors signing the open letter argue that Trump tried to obstruct Mueller’s probe through his attempts to fire Mueller — something the report notes he pressured White House Counsel Don McGahn to pursue — though McGahn never carried out the alleged order.
“The Mueller report describes several acts that satisfy all of the elements for an obstruction charge: conduct that obstructed or attempted to obstruct the truth-finding process, as to which the evidence of corrupt intent and connection to pending proceedings is overwhelming,” the statement reads.