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Robert Mueller Obstructed his Own Investigation as Much as Donald Trump

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I don’t know how you can read the 448-page Mueller Report, as I just did, and come to any conclusion other than that President Donald Trump obstructed the investigation into Russia’s interference with the 2016 election. Even if you think that the Trump campaign didn’t criminally conspire with Russia to achieve such interference, that Trump then tried to kill and mislead the investigation about that interference is made more than obvious by the second half of the Special Counsel’s report.

Robert Mueller didn’t charge Trump with “obstruction of justice.” As was widely expected, Mueller determined that his office lacked the authority to charge a sitting President with a crime.

If that was all Mueller did, you’d thank him for his service and patiently wait for Congress to impeach the President for obstruction. That’s what happened to former-President Bill Clinton. He was impeached by Congress for perjury and obstruction. If we live in a world where one President gets impeached for obstructing an investigation into his extramarital affairs, we should certainly live in a world where this President gets impeached for obstructing an investigation into a foreign conspiracy to tilt the outcome of an American election.

But even under the standard Mueller held himself to, he didn’t finish the job. He didn’t finish the investigation.

Mueller didn’t subpoena Donald Trump. Or Donald Trump Jr. Or Ivanka Trump. Or Eric Trump. Or Jared Kushner. His failure to directly ask those five principles a single in-person question represents a failure of his investigation. It’s a failure that will haunt this country for some time.

Mueller’s reasons for not subpoenaing Trump are what the scientists would call “bad.” The report says that investigators sought a sit-down interview with Trump, but were rebuffed. It says that they received written answers from Trump’s team, but they were “inadequate.” The report includes those written responses, and Trump’s lawyers use the phrase “can’t recall” 37 times, which puts Trump’s memory on par with a goldfish. Mueller concludes that the cost of issuing Trump a subpoena that would delay the investigation as Trump fought all the way to the Supreme Court outweighed the benefits of securing his testimony.

That’s unacceptable. You can’t hold yourself out as a non-political prosecutor only concerned about the facts, and then make a decision to not secure additional facts based on a purely political calculation. Getting Trump to testify under oath about Trump’s intention behind all of the acts he committed that look like obstruction of justice is crucial to the inquiry of obstruction of justice. You are just not investigating obstruction of justice if you do not attempt to get those facts, and saying “well, he’d resist,” is simply not what we deserved from the special counsel.

Would Trump have fought subpoenas all the way to the Supreme Court? Maybe. But we don’t actually know that. Politically, it would have been very, very hard for “No Collusion” Trump to so spectacularly refuse to testify. It would have been difficult for Trump to constantly call for the “end” of the investigation if Mueller was sitting there saying that the investigation would end just as soon as Trump sat down for an interview. And would Trump really want to be engaged in a drawn out court process over his testimony as he’s running for re-election in 2020? How many times could he have actually said “I have nothing to hide” on the campaign trail as he was actively in court trying to hide something? How would he have taken the Fifth Amendment under those circumstances?

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Thanks !

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