The Mueller Report has been released, albeit in redacted form. While Trump and his supporters claim “Total Vindication!” others are not so sure. While the report mysteriously fails to establish collusion, despite the Trump Tower meeting and numerous connections during the campaign, it is less clear on the issue of obstruction.
The report states : “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him”. Essentially, the report leaves open the issue of obstruction, but this was vehemently denied by Attorney General William P. Barr, giving Trump the reason to crow.
So, why the hesitation to say there was or wasn’t crime? According to Department of Justice Guidelines: “The indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions.”
In essence, it is giving Trump a get-out-of-jail free card to commit multiple illegal actions while he’s in office. He won’t be indicted because it would interfere with his ability to perform his job, even if his actions are blatantly illegal. The logic is astounding!
This policy dates back to 1973 when both President Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew faced criminal prosecution. Nixon for Watergate and Agnew for tax-fraud related charges when he was governor of Maryland. The reasoning, which may have been politically motivated, was that the pressure of fighting a criminal case would prevent them from effectively performing their jobs.
They didn’t take into account that this would allow future presidents to commit illegal acts, seemingly with impunity.
Meanwhile, the move for impeachment seems to have stalled. Democrats are fighting each other with one side seeking immediate impeachment hearings based on the Mueller report and others urging caution, wanting to let the voters decide. The result is an unfettered abuse of “executive privilege” through various executive orders and manufactured “states of emergency”.
The excuse “we’ve always done it this way” rings hollow when it allows continued abuse of power to go on. It’s time for Congress to reestablish the constitutional system of checks-and-balances on executive authority.
It’s time to take a stand!