During an early act of the on-going congressional theater orchestrated by Democrats who dislike President Trump, a distinguished and obviously accomplished congressman with some serious cross examination skills conclusively demonstrated that volume II of the infamous Mueller report was not authorized and actually violated every principle and the most sacred traditions of prosecutors not offering extra prosecutorial analysis about crimes that aren’t charged. SMU Law School graduate Rep. John Ratcliffe, a republican from Texas explains.
Ratcliffe said “Good Morning director. Let me quickly summarize your opening statement this morning. You said in volume I, on the issue of conspiracy, the special counsel determined that the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government, its election interference activities and then in volume II, for reasons that you explain, the special counsel did not make a determination on whether there was an obstruction of justice crime committed by the President. Is that fair?” Mueller responded, “Yes sir.”
Ratcliffe said, “Alright, now in explaining the special counsel did not make what you called a traditional prosecution or declination decision, the report on the bottom of page two of volume II, reads as follows: The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. Now I read that correctly?” Mueller replies, “Yes.”
Ratcliffe said, “Alright, now your report, and today you said that all times the special counsel team operated under, was guided by, and followed Justice Department policies and principles. So which DOJ policy or principle sets forth a legal standard that an investigated person is not exonerated if their innocence from criminal conduct is not conclusively determined? Mueller said, "Can you repeat the last part of that question?”
Ratcliffe said, “Yeah, which DOJ policy or principle sets forth a legal standard that an investigated person is not exonerated if their innocence from criminal conduct is not conclusively determined? Where does that language come from director? Where is the DOJ policy that says that? Let me make it easier. Can you give me any example other than Donald Trump where the Justice Department determined that an investigated person was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined? ” Mueller said, “I cannot but this is a unique situation.”
Former FBI Director Mueller is unable to give Ratcliffe an example of an investigated person who was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined because no such person exists. In America, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty meaning you don’t need to be proven innocent to be exonerated from the crime. Ratcliffe affirms this presumption of innocence and then provides the setup to demonstrate how the director failed in his responsibility to provide prosecution declinations and decisions to the Attorney General with volume II of his report.
Ratcliffe said, “Ok, you can’t. Time is short. I’ve got five minutes. Let’s just leave it at you can’t find it because I’ll tell you why. It doesn’t exist. In the special counsel job, no where does it say that you were to conclusively determine Donald Trump’s innocence or that the special counsel report should determine whether or not to exonerate him. It's not in any of the documents. Its not in your appointment order. It's not in the special counsel regulations. It's not in the OLC (Office of Legal Counsel) opinion. Its not in the Justice manual and it's not in the principles of federal prosecution. No where do those words appear together because, respectfully, respectfully director, it was not the special counsel’s job to conclusively determine Donald Trump’s innocence or to exonerate him because the bedrock principle of our justice system is a presumption of innocence. It exists for everyone. Everyone is entitled to it including sitting presidents. And because there is a presumption of innocence, prosecutors never ever need to conclusively determine it.”
Ratcliffe said,, “Now director, the special counsel applied this inverted burden of proof that I can’t find and you said doesn’t exist anywhere in the department policies and you used it to write a report and the very first line of your report. The very first line of your report says, as you read this morning, it authorizes the special counsel to provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution declination and decisions reached by the special counsel. That’s the very first words of your report right?” Mueller said “That’s right.”
And finally Ratcliffe points out how the director failed to follow the special counsel regulations and instead produced an unauthorized volume II that offered extra prosecutorial analysis about crimes that the president was not charged with.
Ratcliffe said, “Here’s the problem director. The special counsel didn’t do that. On volume I you did. On volume II, with respect to potential obstruction of justice, the special counsel made neither a prosecution decision or a declination decision. You made no decision. You told us this morning and in your report, you made no determination. So respectfully director, you didn’t follow the special counsel regulations. It clearly says: Write a confidential report about decisions reached. No where in here does it say, 'Write a report about decisions that weren’t reached. You wrote 180 pages, 180 pages about decisions that weren’t reached, about potential crimes that weren’t charged or decided. And respectfully, respectfully by doing that you managed to violate every principle and the most sacred of traditions about prosecutors not offering extra prosecutorial analysis about crimes that aren’t charged. So Americans need to know this as they listen to the Democrats and socialists on the other side of the aisle as they do dramatic readings from this report that volume II of this report was not authorized, under the law, to be written. It was written to a legal standard that does not exist at the Justice Department. And it was written in violation of every DOJ principle about extra prosecutorial commentary. I agree with the chairman, this morning, when he said that Donald Trump is not above the law. He’s not. But he damn sure should not be below the law, which is where volume II of this report puts it.”
Includes reporting from HouseJudiciary.gov.