08 Aug 2018 Is Mueller Probe Criminalizing Constitutionally Created Rights?
Asked to comment on the scope and progress of the ongoing Mueller investigation of President Donald Trump, National Center Senior Fellow Horace Cooper said the White House should be looking for “traction” right now. In a Fox Business Network interview, he said that “you wanna get either a conclusion, a decision, some sort of ultimate outcome” at this stage.
Commenting on news that the President’s lawyers may be seeking to narrow the scope of questioning should he actually agree to an interview with the special counsel’s staff, Horace pointed out the potential constitutional problems with the way the investigation may be going:
Purportedly, this is an investigation about collusion. And if it has morphed into a conversation about whether or not the President may exercise his authority to select a cabinet nominee or a high-ranking official at the FBI – or remove them – or any of these other reasons as a pretext for some criminal action, you create a serious constitutional problem.
This normally isn’t the circumstance.
You normally look for behavior outside the context of lawful behavior – whether it’s your First Amendment right or your Second Amendment right. Normally, constitutionally created and protected rights aren’t the basis for arguing you’ve committed a crime.
Asked what could be gained by sitting down for such an interview, Horace noted:
Hillary Clinton sat down with the Department of Justice investigators. They worked out a pre-arranged agreement – an understanding on how things would occur – and she walked away with no consequence.
All that a good lawyer wants for any of their clients – whether it’s the President, whether it’s the Secretary of State, a senator or anyone else – let’s get some ground rules that will allow our client to give the best presentation possible.
The problem, as I see it, is this idea that you can use constitutionally protected authority – the executive power in Article II – can be the basis for a claim of obstruction. That, to me, is a circumstance that puts this investigation on a very tenuous ground.