FILE – In this Sept. 4, 2013, file photo, then-incoming FBI Director James Comey talks with outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller before Comey was officially sworn in at the Justice Department in Washington. On May 17, 2017, the Justice Department said it is appointing Mueller as special counsel to oversee investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Sometimes the stuff that leaks out about the Mueller investigation seems like parody…until it actually happens. According to a new report in the New York Times (sourced to “three people briefed on the matter”), Robert Mueller is now investigating whether public humiliation and the hurting of feelings constitutes obstruction of justice.
…for just the first 7 seconds
Mr. Mueller wants to question the president about the tweets. His interest in them is the latest addition to a range of presidential actions he is investigating as a possible obstruction case: private interactions with Mr. Comey, Mr. Sessions and other senior administration officials about the Russia inquiry; misleading White House statements; public attacks; and possible pardon offers to potential witnesses.
The special counsel’s investigators have told Mr. Trump’s lawyers they are examining the tweets under a wide-ranging obstruction-of-justice law beefed up after the Enron accounting scandal, according to the three people. The investigators did not explicitly say they were examining possible witness tampering, but the nature of the questions they want to ask the president, and the fact that they are scrutinizing his actions under a section of the United States Code titled “Tampering With a Witness, Victim, or an Informant,” raised concerns for his lawyers about Mr. Trump’s exposure in the investigation.
The Enron comment is significant because Mueller’s Number Two and Hillary Clinton fan, Andrew Weissmann, made his name, such as it is, by hounding defendants in the Enron and related cases into prison and penury based on charges concocted out of whole cloth and later repudiated by the Supreme Court. And as the investigation is underway even though Mueller’s buddy, James Comey, was fired and Jeff Sessions is recused, this seems, to me, to not only be a difficult task but one that is contradicted by the very fact that Mueller is investigating.
It is not clear what Mr. Mueller will do if he concludes he has enough evidence to prove that Mr. Trump committed a crime. He has told the president’s lawyers that he will follow Nixon- and Clinton-era Justice Department memos that concluded that a sitting president cannot be indicted, Mr. Giuliani has said. If Mr. Mueller does not plan to make a case in court, a report of his findings could be sent to Congress, leaving it to lawmakers to decide whether to begin impeachment proceedings.
Of course, he could. It has been obvious from Mueller’s investigation that a) he’s already concluded there is no collusion with Russia and b) his real objective is to present a report that has what could be impeachable offenses for use by a Democrat House should that event come to pass.
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