Apr 28, 2019

Sally Yates: If Trump weren't president, he would be indicted on obstruction

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates said on "Meet the Press" Sunday that if Trump were not president, he would likely be indicted for obstructing justice in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

"I have been a prosecutor for nearly 30 years. And I can tell you personally I have prosecuted obstruction cases on far, far less evidence than this. And yes, I believe if he were not the president of the United States, he would likely be indicted on obstruction. ...
I think special counsel Mueller did a very fair job in going through all 10 instances and laying out both the facts that established he had committed the crime of obstruction, but also pointing out the defenses, both legal and factual. But there are several incidents that he described to which special counsel Mueller really couldn't point to any significant factual or legal defenses."

Why it matters: Mueller notably did not make a recommendation on whether President Trump should be charged with obstruction of justice, citing an Office of Legal Counsel opinion that states that a sitting president cannot be indicted. Mueller does note, however, that the opinion also recognizes that the president does not have immunity after he leaves office.

  • The evidence Mueller lays out, in addition to his decision to explicitly not exonerate Trump in his report, could in theory be used to prosecute him once he leaves office.

Go deeper: What Trump did, and why Mueller didn't reach conclusions

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