Robert Mueller's testimony before Congress may not have said that Donald Trump's critics were expected, but the special advocate gave us an important insight into why the President did not retire from his investigation.
Mr Mueller's responses suggesting that technical technicality was the only reason why he did not recommend Mr Trump because of the barrier of justice.
“We decided, at the outset, that we must proceed only after suggesting the OLC's view that he indicated that a sitting president cannot be expressed,” said Mr Mueller.
To explain what he was talking about then, we have to go back to 1973, and the attractive presidency of Richard Nixon.
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The OLC acronym refers to the Office of Legal Counsel, an office within the Department of Justice of the federal government.
Among the Watergate scandal, the WTO examined the possibility of indictment of a sitting president under the terms of the American Constitution. He wrote a vital memo when the president was carrying out his immunity while he was in office.
The OLC looked at the issue again in 2000 and reiterated its original position.
“In 1973, the department concluded that the indictment or criminal prosecution of a president would sit inadmissible in the capacity of the executive branch to perform its functions constitutionally constituted,” he wrote.
“We believe the 1973 conclusion of the department is the best interpretation of the Constitution.”
Now, the OLC view is not the actual law. It is simply a reflection of the law – one to be debated, and indeed it was a playful argument during Mr Trump's presidency.
But it has long been the view that it is the policy of the US Department of Justice, and it is considered to be binding on federal government officials.
As the deputy solicitor Rod Rosenstein commissioned the Mueller investigation and was overseen by the Department of Law, the usual wisdom was that Mr Mueller was also bound by the OLC opinion.
But moot point is that anyway. In fact, even if Mr Mueller had suggested that Mr Trump be indicted, he would not be made by the Department of Justice.
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Mr Mueller outlined the situation during a press conference at the end of May.
“The special barristers' office is part of the Department of Justice and, according to regulations, was bound by that department's policy. Therefore, it is not an option to charge the President, ”he said.
“It would be unfair that a person may be guilty of an offense when no court resolution on the actual charge can be made.” T
In evidence on Wednesday (US time), it appeared that Mr Mueller had declared that he would recommend an indictment if the rule of the Department of Justice did not exist.
“The reason you failed Donald Trump because of the OLC opinion is that you cannot sit a President, right?” Democrat Ted Lieu asked the special advocate.
“That's right,” said Mr Mueller.
But he walked that statement later, saying he wanted to add a “correction”.
“I want to go back to one thing Mr Lieu said in the morning and I said, quote You didn't charge the President for OLC's opinion. 'That's not the right way to say it. As we say in the report and as I said at the opening, we did not reach a decision on whether the President committed a crime, ”said Mr Mueller.
Officially, then, we cannot say for sure that the Mueller team would blame Mr Trump for crime, without the restrictions applying the OLC opinion. We can say that it is highly understandable.
Conversely, the claims made by Mr Trump repeatedly that he was “completely and completely destroyed” by an absurd Mueller report.
“If we had confidence that the President had not committed a crime, we would like to say,” Mr Mueller himself said in May.
“The President did not dismiss his alleged actions,” he said during Wednesday's evidence.
His report put down, often on abnormal details, 10 separate cases where Mr Trump could hinder justice.
These actions included FBI director James Comey, Mr Trump's frustration at the failure of his attorney to “defend him” from a Russian investigation, his efforts to burn Mr Mueller, and his improper conduct towards potential witnesses like Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen.
Of course, when asked if Mr Trump could be cut and prosecuted with a barrier after he left the office, Mr Mueller replied with one word: “Yes.”
This is not the first time Mr Trump has been saved from indictment and possible prosecution by the Department of Justice policy on presidential exemption.
You might remember Stormy Daniels scandal. Then again, maybe not. Whether by design, by instin or by good luck, Mr Trump is often very controversial when we forget all scandal as someone else replaces him.
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So here is renewed. During the 2016 election campaign, when Mr Cohen was still acting as Mr Trump's solicitor and personal settlor, he made payments on behalf of the future president to silence women who had affairs.
Mr Cohen already pleaded guilty to violating financial laws campaigns – it is a felony offense – by paying for the adult movie actress Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels.
When he gave evidence to the Conference earlier this year, Cohen presented an incredible documentary proof of Mr Trump's personal participation in the payments.
He presented two checks – one from Mr Trump's personal bank account, signed by him, and one from the revocable trust account he established when he was President, signed by Donald Trump Jr and Trump Organization's chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.
Mr Cohen said Mr Trump had reimbursed him for the cost of paying Ms Clifford with 11 such checks, which were hidden as monthly payments for legal services.
“Are you telling us that the President led conspiracy transactions with Allen Weisselberg and his son, Donald Trump Jr., as part of a criminal conspiracy to financial fraud? Is that your evidence today? ”Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna said.
“Yes,” replied Mr. Cohen.
Mr Cohen is already being penalized for his role in the payments. That's one of the reasons he has three years in prison.
Mr Trump is also involved. In court documents, he is only called as an individual-1, but prosecutors are clear that they believe he has ordered Mr Cohen to make the illegal payments.
A number of legal experts have classified the President as an “unspecified conspiracy” in the case.
All this means that Mr Trump could face prosecution when he leaves the office.
To do this, however, it cannot be exploited.
Twice there are credible allegations of criminal conduct before Mr. Trump. Twice, it was saved by a vague but vital legal rule.
When his presidency ends, he will no longer be able to rely on that defense.
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