The 400-page Mueller report — the culmination of nearly two years of investigative and prosecutorial work by an unbiased team of legal experts unlike any ever assembled — was definitively not all things to all people. Not like people had hoped, anyway. In the minds of many self-styled “Resisters” the end result of the Mueller report could be nothing short of Trump being led away in handcuffs, chin slumped on his chest, utterly defeated, broke, ashamed, and headed for prison.
At least the report provided an answer as to why that was never going to happen: Mueller did not pursue lines of inquiry that would lead him inexorably to indictments, because he always understood Department of Justice rules to preclude a sitting President from being indicted. Why frustrate your own investigation by going down roads where you can see the Dead End sign two blocks away?
What it did show, however, is that Trump obstructed justice and that there was at least enough found by Mueller and his team to implicitly hand prosecutorial duties over to Congress.
Now, despite his denials of having done anything to warrant such prosecution, Trump may in fact be putting himself in deeper legal trouble by overtly retaliating against those he considers having betrayed him by even answering the special counsel’s questions.
William Jeffress, the lawyer who represented Nixon after his resignation, told Politico as much.
I find it surprising because he’s taking these shots at witnesses who gave information to Mueller, and I think he’s got to be careful because there’s an explicit federal statute punishing retaliation against witnesses.”
The only witness post-report that Trump has already publicly attacked is his former counsel, Don McGahn, who testified to federal prosecutors that Trump had attempted to recruit him to get rid of Robert Mueller altogether and to publicly change his story about the incident in which that occurred. But privately, Trump has been fuming at everyone who spoke to the special counsel, according to literally every ounce of reporting on the issue since Mueller handed the report over to the DOJ.
Maryland Democrat Rep. Jamie Raskin told Politico that Trump’s behavior doesn’t have to be public to be illegal, however.
A bank robbery is just as much a robbery if everyone sees it, as if nobody sees it. From our perspective, the Mueller report just sets the table for an analysis of what’s been taking place.”
That’s exactly what Trump should be afraid of.
Featured image is a screen capture.