Special counsel Robert Mueller’s statement Wednesday that “if we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime we would have said that” is worse than then FBI Director James Comey’s statement about the FBI’s probe of Hillary Clinton, said Alan Dershowitz, emeritus professor at Harvard Law School.
“Comey was universally criticized for going beyond his responsibility to state whether there was sufficient evidence to indict Clinton,” he wrote Wednesday in The Hill. “Mueller, however, did even more.”
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.”
Dershowitz said Mueller, at his news conference at the Justice Department announcing his resignation as special counsel, “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,” he said.
Dershowitz noted that obstruction of justice is a “high crime and misdemeanor” which, under the Constitution, authorizes impeachment and removal of the president.
WND reported earlier Wednesday Mueller’s claim that the Office of Legal Counsel guidance specifying that a sitting president cannot be indicted was the reason for not coming to a conclusion about obstruction conflicts with Attorney General William Barr’s testimony.
Barr told Congress on May 1 that at a March 5 meeting with Mueller, the special counsel told him “that he emphatically was not saying that, but for the OLC opinion, he would have found the obstruction.”
No longer defending Mueller
Dershowitz said he no longer is defending Mueller against the accusations that he is a partisan.
“I did not believe that he personally favored either the Democrats or the Republicans, or had a point of view on whether President Trump should be impeached. But I have now changed my mind.”
The law professor said Mueller revealed his bias by putting his “elbow” on the scale of justice.
Mueller also has distorted the role of a prosecutor who “should never go beyond publicly disclosing that there is insufficient evidence to indict.”
“No responsible prosecutor should ever suggest that the subject of his investigation might indeed be guilty even if there was insufficient evidence or other reasons not to indict,” Dershowitz said.
He pointed out that federal investigations by prosecutors, including special counsels, are by nature one-sided, hearing only evidence of guilt.
“They are not in a position to decide whether the subject of the investigation is guilty or is innocent of any crimes.”
Dershowitz said he “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.”
“Shame on Mueller for abusing his position of trust and for allowing himself to be used for such partisan advantage,” he wrote.