Nearly four hundred former federal prosecutors have put their thumb on the scale in favor of President Trump’s obstruction conduct being criminal.
Based on the conduct outlined by special counsel Robert Mueller, the Justice Department would have been able to indict Trump, had he not been a sitting president, they said in a statement Monday.
Their assessment contradicts that of Attorney General Bill Barr, who claimed that the evidence Mueller produced was not “sufficient” to bring charges — a conclusion that Barr said stood separate from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel memo barring the indictment of sitting presidents.
“[T]o 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,” the ex-prosecutors’ statement said.
“As former federal prosecutors, we recognize that prosecuting obstruction of justice cases is critical because unchecked obstruction — which allows intentional interference with criminal investigations to go unpunished — puts our whole system of justice at risk,” the statement continued. “We believe strongly that, but for the OLC memo, the overwhelming weight of professional judgment would come down in favor of prosecution for the conduct outlined in the Mueller Report.”
The letter, which was first reported by the Washington Post, included signatures from a number of former DOJ prosecutors from administrations of both parties. Several former U.S. attorneys also signed the letter, as did former officials who had held top posts at main Justice. Alumni of the Watergate investigation also signed the letter.
As of the publishing of this TPM story, 396 former Justice Department lawyers had signed onto the letter. More than 100 of them had at least 20 years of experience at the Department of Justice.
The organization Protect Democracy helped organize the letter — a Protect Democracy representative said that some of the former prosecutors had approached the organization about assembling the letter.