WASHINGTON: WASHINGTON: FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller had said he cannot and does not intend to indict President Trump regardless of his findings, Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani claimed on Wednesday.
"All they get to do is write a report. They can't indict. At least they acknowledged that to us after some battling,” Giuliani disclosed in a CNN interview, suggesting that the Russia probe is at a dead end and the FBI Special Counsel had CONFORMED to the White House view that a sitting President could not be indicted or removed from office by due process of law.
Mueller office has not confirmed or validated Giuliani’s claim at the time of writing. But if it is true he has given such an assurance, then President Trump is off the hook for now.
However, the House of Representatives can take note of any adverse findings of the Special Counsel and impeach the President, particularly if it comes into a Democratic majority.
Still, Democrats found it galling that Trump and his team regarded the President’s office as being above the law. "The President is not above the law, and an indictment — if that's the course that Robert Mueller chooses to go — I believe would be upheld by the courts," Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal countered. Blumenthal insisted Mueller could indict the President even if he cannot be put on trial immediately.
In an investigation that has gone on for a year now, Mueller’s team is probing Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election, whether the Russians coordinated with any Trump associates and whether the president has sought to thwart the probe. The FBI Special Counsel has gotten a guilty plea from five Trump associates, including his one-time National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and his former campaign manager Rick Gates.
Trump himself snarkily noted the one-year anniversary of the probe on Thursday, tweeting, “Congratulations America, we are now into the second year of the greatest Witch Hunt in American History .?.?. and there is still No Collusion and No Obstruction. The only Collusion was that done by Democrats who were unable to win an Election despite the spending of far more money!”
The US President also alleged the Obama-era FBI had spied on the Trump campaign, endorsing a claim that “There’s probably no doubt that they had at least one confidential informant in the campaign,” and “If so, this is bigger than Watergate!”
Mueller’s conclusion that he cannot indict Trump appears to be based on Justice Department’s guidelines and precedents that bar prosecution of a sitting President. Two opinions, written in 1974 and in 2000 and involving Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, argue that a president must be immune from criminal prosecution from his executive branch while in office.
If a president has to consider the possibility of criminal jeopardy, the opinions argue, he might be “dangerously constrained in making decisions that are critical to his role as commander in chief.”
This virtually bestows an imperial Presidency on the United States. However, the opinions conclude, Congress can hold a president accountable with impeachment proceedings, if necessary. Republicans currently now have a majority in the House of Representatives where impeachment proceedings begin.
Mueller’s purported conclusion comes amid a virtual stand off between his office and the White House on whether and to what extent he can “interview” the President. Giuliani claimed Trump is “probably the most enthusiastic about doing it,” but his legal team is not enthusiastic about an omnibus questioning and want to restrict the scope of the interview. Mueller’s office is seeking to sit down with Trump for 2 1/2 hours, he said.
Giuliani’s claim of a Trump bailout from Mueller came amid a belated President’s financial disclosure that he had reimbursed more than $ 100,000 to his personal lawyer Michael Cohen for unspecified payments.