The Constitution provides Congress with plenty of tools to hold the White House to account. So what moves does the legislative branch have left?
Source: Well, impeachment didn’t work – how else can Congress keep President Trump in check? : The Conversation
An expert on Watergate says that today’s House Republicans have taken precisely the opposite position than the GOP took in 1974 on the president’s power to withhold documents from Congress.
Source: Congressional Republicans abandon constitutional heritage and Watergate precedents in defense of Trump : The Conversation
“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President of the United States did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. … However, we are unable to reach that judgment.”
That was special counsel Robert Mueller’s blunt conclusion about whether President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice. It’s found early in Mueller’s report of his 22-month investigation into potentially criminal aspects of Donald Trump’s campaign and presidency.
Mueller’s full report – submitted to the Department of Justice on March 22 and published online with redactions on April 19 – highlights 10 areas in which the president may have committed obstruction of justice. I’ve read this 400-page document closely, and judging as a law professor and former elected official, I find multiple episodes that describe possible crimes.
These include: firing FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing an investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Russian government; attempting to curtail the special counsel’s investigation and fire Mueller; and making statements that could have discouraged former campaign aides from testifying truthfully.
After reviewing all Mueller’s evidence, Attorney General William Barr determined that the president did not obstruct justice. But Mueller concluded that he could neither charge nor exonerate Trump, and indicated that Congress should consider the evidence.
Here’s how lawmakers will determine whether Trump committed a crime.
1. Did Trump act ‘corruptly’?
According to federal law, obstruction occurs when a person tries to impede or influence a trial, investigation or other official proceeding with threats or corrupt intent. Bribing a judge and destroying evidence are classic examples of obstruction.
Source: Did Trump obstruct justice? 5 questions Congress must answer : The Conversation
One month after Robert Mueller submitted the final report on his investigation into Donald Trump, its contents have finally been made public – meaning that the Department of Justice is no longer the only one analyzing and interpreting Mueller’s findings.
Attorney General William Barr has publicly stated his belief that Mueller’s inquiry exonerates the president of criminal wrongdoing. Now, the American public will get to draw its own conclusions.
Congress, state prosecutors and district attorneys nationwide, too, are digging into the Mueller report to decide whether Mueller found evidence that Trump obstructed justice, colluded with Russia or committed any impeachable offenses. Beyond Mueller’s federal inquiry, a dozen city and state prosecutors have launched investigations into possible criminal wrongdoing by Trump, his family and his business.
As Mueller’s investigation evolves from political saga to legal analysis, here are three key threads our experts have been watching.
1. Obstruction of justice
Barr’s determination that Trump did not commit obstruction of justice differs from the conclusion Mueller drew in his own report. According to the special counsel, “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
How can two people draw different conclusions from the same evidence?
Source: What happens next with the Mueller report? 3 essential reads : The Conversation