The Justice Department issued a 2019 memorandum putting to rest any prosecution of former President Donald Trump based on the Mueller report’s accusations.
Trump blasted the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller, who was assigned to investigate claims of coordination between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia. He discovered no such relationships.
Nevertheless, according to NBC News, Mueller’s report highlighted 10 instances in which he considered there may have been obstruction of justice, without stating whether or not they justified punishment.
This sparked a DOJ probe, which resulted in the release of the nine-page document on Wednesday. The document stated that there were no grounds for prosecuting Trump for obstruction of justice.
After Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a Freedom of Information Act complaint, the document was made public. According to NPR, the DOJ contested the request but failed in court.
According to the document, Trump requested Mueller’s dismissal “not for criminal reasons, but because he thought the investigation was politically motivated and hindered his administration’s attempts to govern.”
The letter emphasized Trump’s desire to stop the disruptions created by the investigation.
“The President’s public statements could be viewed as efforts to defend himself from public criticism related to the Special Counsel’s investigation or to discourage the witnesses from making what the President believed might be false statements in exchange for a lesser sentence. Those statements do not warrant a prosecution for obstruction of justice,” the memo said.
“In the absence of an underlying wrongdoing, the most persuasive conclusion for judging the President’s behavior is that he rationally felt the Special Counsel’s inquiry interfered with his governing agenda.
“Even if the President were objectively mistaken about the Special Counsel’s objectives, many, if not all, of his acts may be seen as missing the purpose requirement under the applicable legislation,” the document stated.
Trump’s removal of FBI Director James Comey and a statement he made to Comey regarding the investigation of former national security advisor Michael Flynn were discussed in the letter.
“The President’s statement of ‘hope’ that Comey would ‘let this go’ did not clearly command a particular action in the Flynn investigation, and Comey did not behave as if he had received a direct direction from the President,” according to the memo.
The result, the memo said, was that prosecution was not warranted.
“A fair evaluation of the special council’s findings and legal theories weighs in favor of declining prosecution,” the memo said.
“While cataloguing actions that the president took, many of which took place in public view, the report identifies no actions that, in our judgment, constituted obstructive acts, done with a nexus to a pending proceeding, with the corrupt intent necessary to warrant prosecution under the obstruction-of-justice statutes.”
Mueller’s “thorough investigation did not establish that the President committed any underlying crime related to Russian interference,” the memo said, noting that “it would be rare for federal prosecutors to bring an obstruction prosecution that did not itself arise out of a proceeding related to a separate crime.”
“Having reviewed the Report in light of the governing legal principles, and the Principles of Federal Prosecution, we conclude that none of these instances would warrant a prosecution for obstruction of justice, without regard to the constitutional constraint on bringing such an action against a sitting president,” the memo said.
“In addition, we believe that certain of the conduct examined by the Special Counsel could not, as a matter of law, support an obstruction charge under the circumstances.”