REMEMBER WHAT OMEGANEWS SAID: FIRE THE SPECIAL COUNSEL

 

 

LEGAL EXPERTS: A SITTING PRESIDENT CANNOT BE CHARGED WITH A CRIME
WASHINGTON, DC – The law is more about politics than justice, and this could not be more apparent in the recent debate about whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice when he fired James Comey, the director of the FBI. Recent editorials and opinion pieces in some of the nation’s newspapers of records seem to argue the point based on political affiliations, devoid of objectivity and the result is reasoning colored by political bias and blatant disregard of relevant but inconvenient facts. One encouraging fact is that legal experts from both sides of the aisle seem to agree on one thing, that is, that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime.
The issue is whether the president fired James Comey with a “corrupt intent” to interfere with the Russia investigation? 18 USC section 1505 provides as follows “Whoever corruptly… influences, obstructs or impedes or endeavors (to do so), the due and proper administration of the law under which any pending proceeding is being had is guilty of a crime.” Did the president act with “corrupt intent”?
The facts leading to the appointment of the special counsel are as follows:
•    On January 27, James Comey and President Trump had dinner at the Whitehouse. According to Comey, the president demanded his “loyalty, ”  and he refused. The president has denied ever asking Comey for his “loyalty.”
•    On February 14, the day after Michael Flynn resigned as National Security Advisor, Mr. Comey was in the white house, and according to his notes, the president allegedly said to Comey “I hope you can see your way clear of letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy; I hope you can let this go, Flynn had done nothing wrong.”
•    On March 20, Mr. Comey testified before Congress and admitted that the FBI was investigating Trump’s campaign for possible collusion with the Russians. According to the Washington Post, the president allegedly asked Daniel Coats, Director of National Intelligence, and Admiral Michael S. Rogers, Director of the National Security Agency to state publicly that there is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, both refused to do so.
•    On May 3, Comey told Congress that the Russia investigation is ongoing. On May 8, the President informed Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he wants to fire Comey. Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein writes a memo laying the grounds for terminating Comey.
•    On May 9, the president fired Comey. The White House said that the Rosenstein letter was the reason for the firing. Rosenstein disagrees. In the letter to Comey, the president wrote: “I greatly appreciate you informing me on three separate occasions that I am not under investigation.” Mr. Comey denies that he ever told the president, he is not under investigation.
•    On May 10, the president met with two Russians in the White House. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. According to a transcript of the meeting, the president told the Russians that “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That is taken off.”
•    On May 17, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein (Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuse himself) appointed Robert Mueller III, a friend of James Comey to investigate whether the president obstructed justice by firing Comey.
•    On June 8, Mr. Comey testified before Congress and admitted leaking a memo about an alleged private conversation with the President for the sole purpose of spurring the appointment of a special counsel.
Legal experts from the right and left have concluded that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime. Even if President Trump intended to interfere and thereby obstructed justice, he could not be accused of a criminal act. However, the president’s detractors have argued that the President’s actions, taken together amounted to obstruction of justice.
Professor Elizabeth P. Foley of Florida International University opined in an op-ed in the New York Times that investigations conducted by the FBI do not meet the qualification of the federal definition of obstruction of justice for the purpose of criminal prosecution because the FBI has no enforcement power. The FBI investigates cases and refers them to the Justice Department. It is up to the justice department to decide whether, when and how to prosecute a particular defendant. Within that discretion is the ability of the prosecutor to consider the character of the accused. Saying that “Flynn is a good guy, and he did nothing wrong” is within prosecutorial discretion.
Michael B. Mukasey, who served as US Attorney General from 2007-2009 and as a Federal District Judge from 1988-2006 in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal echoed the opinions of Professor Foley. The decision to charge Mr. Flynn with a crime would not be Mr. Comey’s to make. It would be for the Justice Department to decide, and the president as the head of the executive branch has prosecutorial discretion to consider Mr. Flynn character. Based on these inconvenient facts, opponents of the president continue to argue forcefully that a case can be made against the president if not for criminal conduct for impeachment proceedings because one, he asked Comey to let Flynn go, and two he fired Comey.
The relevant federal obstruction of justice statute requires a person to act “corruptly.” The US Supreme Court in the matter of Arthur Anderson, LLP v. US defines “corrupt intent” as when a defendant acts “knowingly and dishonestly, with specific intent to subvert or undermine the integrity of a proceeding.” An investigation can hardly be defined as a proceeding. But the important word is “corruptly.” What does it mean to have acted “corruptly”? Can one instance suffice?  In deciding whether to prosecute a person or not, can the president ever have acted “corruptly”? The answer is no because the president has prosecutorial discretion, the exercise of which is his alone.
The second issue is whether Comey was fired for not letting the Flynn investigation go? First, both Republicans and Democrats have been calling for Comey to be fired for exceeding his authority during the Hillary Clinton investigation into the email server. Second, the President has full discretion as to who serves in his administration. Third, the president received a memo from the Justice Department supporting his decision to fire Comey.  If a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime, why the appointment of a special counsel?
Harvard law professor Lawrence Tribe agrees that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime. However, as expected, Mr. Tribe argued that a report from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, stating that the president acted “corruptly” by firing Comey can be used for impeachment purposes. And Mr. Mueller may have just hired the right man to carve up such legal reasoning.
Andrew Weissman is a man with unusual experience with the word “corruptly.” His definition of the word does not include the required criminal knowledge on the part of the defendant. Mr. Weissman was the lead prosecutor in the case of United States v. Arthur Andersen, LLP.  His definition of the word “corruptly” resulted in the conviction of Arthur Andersen, LLP. By the time the case made its way to the United States Supreme Court, the wrong had already been done. Arthur Andersen had gone under. Though the Supreme Court rejected Mr. Weissman’s expansive definition of the word “corruptly,” it was too late to revive Arthur Andersen. Thousands of US citizens lost their jobs, while Mr. Weissman got to keep his, and now he is back.
With a sizable legal group of Democratic hacks and millions of dollars available, Mr. Mueller is ready to give Americans a ride for their money. Sit tight it will be a bumpy ride, but no matter what happens, remember WHAT OMEGANEWS SAID: FIRE THE SPECIAL COUNSEL
E Roy
Omega World News
Editor
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