WASHINGTON, D.C., May 8, 2019 – In the latest edition of Yeomans Work, AFJ Senior Justice Fellow Bill Yeomans writes as a co-signer of a letter from hundreds of former prosecutors who believe President Trump obstructed justice. “This week,” he writes, “I joined some 700 former federal prosecutors (the number is still growing) in signing a letter attesting to Trump’s obstruction of justice. The signatories span Democratic and Republican administrations. Many worked at the Department of Justice for decades. The letter stated: ‘Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice.’”
What’s more, Yeomans asserts, “Trump administration obstruction has only intensified since partial release of Mueller’s report.” He points out that Attorney General William Barr has been entirely complicit in this effort, disobeying a subpoena to deliver an unredacted version to Congress. Barr’s defiance is forcing the House Judiciary Committee to move toward referring him to the full House for a contempt vote. Meanwhile, Trump is asserting executive privilege over the redacted portions of the report and all of the supporting investigative materials.
“This assertion of privilege may delay Mueller’s testimony before the committee,” Yeomans notes. “Although Mueller’s departure from the Department of Justice is reported to be imminent, Trump controls Mueller’s appearance so long as Mueller remains a DOJ employee. The assertion of privilege will remain after Mueller leaves, but there is little Trump can do to stop Mueller from testifying as a private citizen. It will be up to Mueller to decide whether to respect Trump’s claim. Former White House Counsel Don McGahn, who is already a private citizen, has said that he will not honor a committee subpoena for documents over which Trump has asserted privilege.”
Yeomans warns that it’s clear Trump will continue to resist all efforts by Congress to hold him accountable on multiple fronts, from production of his tax returns to information regarding security clearances to the Mueller investigation. Attorney General Barr, who rushed to declare that the Mueller report had cleared Trump, will continue to enable him.
The result, says, Yeomans, is a dangerous and frightening precedent, “a prescription for unbridled executive power that, if allowed to stand, will place Trump and all future presidents beyond the reach of investigators.”
Yeomans Work focuses on the challenges to the justice system in the era of Trump. Bill Yeomans is available for media interviews. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent the positions of Alliance for Justice.Contact Laurie Kinney, Communications Director, at [email protected] or 202-464-7367.