The latest Washington Parlor game is investigating whether or not special counsel Robert Mueller is currently going to investigate Donald Trump for Obstruction of Justice in the Russia election meddling inquiry.
Mr. Trump’s Lawyer have denied that statement. Mr. President himself seemed to confirm it. Mr. Mueller isn’t talking. All this speculation misses the bigger question, however. What happens if Mr. Mueller not only is looking into possible criminal misdeeds by the president, but he ends it up by finding them?
Such a prospect open up a legal Pandora’s Box, but it’s one Mr. Mueller should probably be pondering. Here are some possible what – next scenarios if that smoking gun or guns turn up.
A report to Congress
The means of addressing presidential criminality given that it’s a path explored only three times in US history is through impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives followed by trial in the US Senate.
Impeachment requires a simply a majority vote, while it takes a two-thirds majority in the Senate to approve removal. If this is the course Mr. Mueller pursued, his investigation into the Mr. President may end with a report to the Justice Department, which could then be passed along to leaders in the Congress. There’s no legal requirement for it to ever to be made public.
Indictment and Trial
What if the Mr. Starr decided not to do with his investigation was seek a criminal indictment of the Mr. President. While conventional wisdom is that this option is foreclosed there are some differing views in the legal community. It’s silent on the subject of bringing criminal charges against a sitting President.
Those who think that a presidential indictment is impossible tend to point the impracticality of indicting someone who has the legal authority to pardon himself, as well as a passage in the constitution that states removal from office through impeachment doesn’t preclude criminal charges.
It wouldn’t take long for Mr. Trump’s opponents, for instance, to dust off old quotes from the Republican’s presidential campaign in which he warned of the dire prospects of Hillary Clinton assuming the presidency while the target of a criminal probe. They would certainly appreciate the irony, bitter though it may be.