Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which may have cost taxpayers more than $30 million, concluded there was no Trump campaign collusion with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election.
But Mueller waffled on the claims of “obstruction.”
He listed 10 “episodes” that potentially could be instances of obstruction.
But Mueller’s handling of the charge, according to former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, “flouts” the Constitution.
He wrote in a column for the the New York Post that Mueller “reversed the burden of proof,” contrary to American jurisprudence, which requires a prosecutor to provide all the evidence of guilt.
A defendant never is required to provide proof of innocence.
Except for President Trump, he wrote.
“The most remarkable thing about special counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report is how blithely the prosecutor reversed the burden of proof on the issue of obstruction,” McCarthy said.
“To be sure, President Trump’s conduct outlined on this score isn’t flattering, to put it mildly. For example, the special counsel’s evidence includes indications that the president attempted to induce White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire the special counsel (in June 2017), and then (in January 2018) to deny that the president had made the request.”
And he said the president apparently “dangled pardons” in the Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen cases.
“On the other hand, there is evidence that cuts sharply against obstruction. The president could have shut down the investigation at any time, but he didn’t. He could have asserted executive privilege to deny the special counsel access to key White House witnesses, such as McGahn. To the contrary, numerous witnesses were made available voluntarily (there was no need to try to subpoena them to the grand jury), and well over a million documents were disclosed, including voluminous notes of meetings between the president and his White House counsel.”
McCarthy pointed out that because there was no collusion, the president had no concern over “guilt,” which is the typical motivation for obstruction.
He was merely frustrated the “investigation was undermining his ability to govern the country.”
McCarthy said Mueller deviated when he listed all of his “evidence.”
“If he had been satisfied that there was no obstruction crime, he said, he would have so found. He claimed he wasn’t satisfied. Yet he was also not convinced that there was sufficient proof to charge. Therefore, he made no decision, leaving it to Attorney General William Barr to find that there was no obstruction,” McCarthy wrote.
“This is unbecoming behavior for a prosecutor and an outrageous shifting of the burden of proof: The constitutional right of every American to force the government to prove a crime has been committed, rather than to have to prove his or her own innocence.
“If special counsel Mueller believed there was an obstruction offense, he should have had the courage of his convictions and recommended charging the president. Since he wasn’t convinced there was enough evidence to charge, he should have said he wasn’t recommending charges. Period,” he wrote.
“Anything else was – and is – a smear. Worse than that, it flouts the Constitution.”