It’s been three days since Robert S. Mueller III issued his extraordinary statement about why he reached certain conclusions about Donald Trump’s alleged collusion and obstruction of justice.
I want to focus briefly on a particular point that the former special counsel made in his nine-minute recitation before the nation.
It’s the part where he said that he and his legal team looking into the Russian attack on our electoral process in 2016 could not indict the president because of a Department of Justice policy that prohibits indicting a sitting president.
Then he said such an indictment would violate the U.S. Constitution.
I believe my eyebrows raised just a bit the moment I heard Mueller make that assertion.
I have a copy of the nation’s governing document on my desk. I have been poring over it. I have looked through Article I, which lays out congressional authority and through Article II, which spells out presidential authority. I have looked through all the other original articles in the Constitution, all the way to Article VII.
I cannot find a single reference that protects the president of the United States from indictment. I cannot locate anything at all that speaks even tangentially about the issue.
I am not going to quibble and quarrel with Robert Mueller, a fine lawyer and a former FBI director. He’s a great man with impeccable integrity. I honor the work he did while compiling his report to the nation and I certainly honor his decades of public service.
Moreover, I understand how DOJ policy could prohibit an indictment. However, a policy is much less binding than anything codified in the U.S. Constitution. Policies can be rescinded. Agencies that enact policies can change them. The Constitution is a different sort of creature. To amend anything, you need a bill to come out of Congress and you then need a super-majority of states to ratify the law.
So I am asking: Can anyone find a constitutional reference that declares that presidents cannot be indicted?