Trump impeachment pressure growing from within legal ranks

An unprecedented letter signed by over 720 nonpartisan and bipartisan former federal prosecutors and Justice Department career line attorneys states that Donald Trump’s conduct as president as 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.” Mueller cited current Justice Department guidelines in his decision to not indict a sitting president for obstruction of justice. The letter also serves notice on Attorney General William Barr that his conduct in representing Trump’s personal interests and not those of the American people violates a primary duty of the attorney general to carry out his oath and duties of his office.

The letter cites several acts of obstruction by Trump, including attempts to fire Mueller as special counsel and create false evidence, attempts to curtail the scope of Mueller’s investigation, and Trump’s witness tampering and intimidation.

There is a strong possibility that the letter is a first step toward creating a groundswell of support among the federal legal community for impeachment of both Trump and Barr. Signatories include Justice Department officials who, most recently, served under Trump and span administrations as far back as those of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Dwight Eisenhower. The expertise of the signatories spans federal criminal and civil litigation, including the areas of money laundering, economic crimes, major frauds, human trafficking, national security, organized crime and racketeering, white collar crime, civil rights, tax compliance, consumer protection, professional responsibility, antitrust, multinational fraud, health care fraud, public corruption and government fraud, and environmental crimes.

Interestingly, there are several signatories who were associate independent counsels in the Iran-Contra investigation, a probe that Barr helped cover-up when he served as George H. W. Bush’s attorney general. Also of note is the signature of Donald Ayer, the deputy attorney general under Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, who was replaced by Barr. Barr subsequently became attorney general when Richard Thornburgh resigned to run for the Senate from Pennsylvania.

Former prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), which is reportedly examining the activities of the Trump Organization, are also well represented among the signatories.

The letter may be the first of several moves to pressure Congress to impeach Trump. Two former U.S. Attorneys, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and former Massachusetts Republican Governor William Weld, Trump’s opponent for the 2020 GOP presidential nomination, may be an indication that Republicans in the Senate and House who continue to back Trump’s multiple criminal acts while in office may suffer professional and political consequences. One move that could be taken against Republican members of Congress who are lawyers, but who continue to back Trump’s criminal wrongdoing, is to expel them from state bars for professional ethical violations. Such a punishment has been suggested for Attorney General Barr.

Various state attorneys general have not been reticent in signing joint letters to Trump opposing various federal actions on issues ranging from immigration to contraception availability. The federal prosecutors’ letter on Trump’s obstruction of justice may be just the beginning of an effort to back impeachment by state attorneys general, governors, former federal and state judges, and even former presidents, vice presidents, and cabinet secretaries.

The long-feared “constitutional crisis” is now a reality and desperate times call for non-timid resolute action.

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright © 2019

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).