Top Lawyer Says Trump Should Be Investigated For Potential Federal Crimes After Leaving Office
One of the top aides in Robert Mueller’s investigation of Donald Trump’s ties to Russia and their interference in the 2016 election thinks he should be prosecuted for crimes, upon vacating the White House.
Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, Mueller’s top legal associate in the investigation of Trump, said that ‘as painful and hard as it may be for the country, I believe the next attorney general should investigate Mr. Trump and, if warranted, prosecute him for potential federal crimes.’
In an op-ed for the New York Times, Weissmann spoke frankly about how the country should pursue criminal charges against the one-term president, which can be linked back to the time where he and Mueller were scrutinising POTUS and his administration’s links to Russia, and how they swung an election that saw a shock victory for Trump over Hillary Clinton.
He cites there is ‘ample evidence’ that the 45th president is guilty of obstruction of justice, after he very publicly tried to interfere in the lengthy inquiry, threatened to fire Mueller, tried to intimidate them to ‘drop it’ across a series of explosive tweets, and spoke about using his presidential powers of a pardon to protect those under fire.
The lawyer outlined how Trump had consistently abused his powers and granted pardons to convicted criminals, such as Roger Stone and Paul Manafort, offering those who were guilty clemency:
We saw Mr. Trump use his clemency power to do just that with, for example, his ally Roger Stone. He commuted Mr. Stone’s sentence, who was duly convicted by a jury but never spent a day in jail for crimes that a federal judge found were committed for the president. The same judge found that Paul Manafort, a former Trump campaign chairman, lied to us repeatedly, breaching his cooperation agreement. He, too, was surely holding out hope for a dangled pardon.
In conclusion to the Russia probe – something Trump and his administration had parroted as a hoax over the entire duration – Mueller did not take further action after believing he was unable to successfully indict the sitting president. Furthermore, he stated it would be ‘unfair’ for his special counsel to conclude he had broken the law because there was legally nothing that could be done to the president in office.
Despite Trump and everyone around him proudly regurgitating a false conclusion that there was no collusion, Mueller and his team’s take, while being unable to directly accuse the president of criminal activity, has some choice words: ‘If we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.’
Weissmann also noted how separate financial investigations opened in New York by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, one over the alleged violation of state law when the Trump Organisation handed over $130,000 hush-money to Stormy Daniels, could come back to haunt him.
‘The Manhattan district attorney is by all appearances conducting a classic white-collar investigation into tax and bank fraud’ Weissmann continued. He also stated that ‘the New York attorney general is engaged in a civil investigation into similar allegations, which could quickly turn into a criminal inquiry.’
Seeming hopeful, he went on to describe the severity of the NYC investigation, and how federal charges could be imminent:
These state matters may well reveal evidence warranting additional federal charges. Such potential financial crimes were not explored by the special counsel investigation and could reveal criminal evidence.
He also says that any evidence that was not handed over or presented to congress should be given to the Biden administration. The prosecutor also expressed how disappointed he was over the outcome of the Russia investigation, saying, ‘There’s no question I was frustrated at the time,’ and claims Trump could have been indicted: ‘There was more that could be done that we didn’t do.’
‘In short, being president should mean you are more accountable, not less, to the rule of law,’ he concluded, after suggesting that in the wake of Michael Flynn’s pardon, we could see many more criminal associates excused by the soon-to-be-gone Commander in Chief – including himself, which would be legally and morally dubious to say the least.
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CreditsNew York Times
New York Times