Professor Alan Dershowitz has reacted to Robert Mueller’s unexpected statement this week. He is clearly not happy about the statement, the way it was presented or the legal ramifications of it.
He writes at The Hill:
Shame on Robert Mueller for exceeding his role
The statement by special counsel Robert Mueller in a Wednesday press conference that “if we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that” is worse than the statement made by then-FBI Director James Comey regarding Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Comey declared in a July 2016 press conference that “although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”
Comey was universally criticized for going beyond his responsibility to state whether there was sufficient evidence to indict Clinton. Mueller, however, did even more. He went beyond the conclusion of his report and gave a political gift to Democrats in Congress who are seeking to institute impeachment proceedings against President Trump.
By implying that President Trump might have committed obstruction of justice, Mueller effectively invited Democrats to institute impeachment proceedings. Obstruction of justice is a “high crime and misdemeanor” which, under the Constitution, authorizes impeachment and removal of the president…
No prosecutor should ever say or do anything for the purpose of helping one party or the other. I cannot imagine a plausible reason why Mueller went beyond his report and gratuitously suggested that President Trump might be guilty, except to help Democrats in Congress and to encourage impeachment talk and action.
He talked about this on the Hannity show:
Here’s a transcript via Real Clear Politics:
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: What I saw today was him putting his thumb, his elbow on the scale. When he said, “if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” That was absolutely inappropriate for him to say.
It was worse than anything that Comey said when he exonerated Hillary Clinton and then said, but she engaged in extremely careless conduct. Everybody condemned that. This is much, much worse.
It does show that he had a motive to help the Democrats here. There is no other possible motive why he would have gone out of his way to say that, he could have easily said the opposite. If we had confidence that the president didn’t commit a crime, we would have said it.
If we had confidence that he committed a crime, we would have said it. But, no, we emphasized only the possibility that the president might have committed a crime. That went well beyond his authority as special counsel.
As usual, Dershowitz nailed this.