President Donald J. Trump might be indicted for obstruction of justice as early as this spring, according to at least two attorneys representing key Trump associates, reports Politico. The attorneys’ clients are involved in the Russia probe.
There has been speculation for some time now that Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey to derail the investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russia constituted obstruction of justice. The case was made even stronger when Trump himself admitted that he fired Comey to make the Russia probe go away.
While the attorneys didn’t tell Politico that they have knowledge of what Mueller is specifically planning to do, they did say that their legal expertise and experience paired with their interactions with Mueller’s team lead them to their conclusion. It’s a stunning revelation and offers an insight into how quickly the Mueller probe is proceeding. The special counsel is singleminded in pursuing the truth, and it could spell disaster for Trump.
“If I were a betting man, I’d bet against the president,” one lawyer told Politico. The same attorney expects it could be as early this spring. “If he’s going to do it, I think he’ll do it in the spring. I don’t think he wants to be accused of trying to influence the election that dramatically,” he explained.
The second attorney said Mueller may bring an indictment against Trump even if the historically unprecedented act leads to a constitutional crisis or legal logjam. There is still much debate over whether a sitting president can be indicted, with some experts arguing that no one is above the law and others that allowing a presidential indictment is unconstitutional and throws off the balance of powers.
“It’s entirely possible that Mueller may go that route on the theory that, as an open question, it should be for the courts to decide. Even if the indictment is dismissed, it puts maximum pressure on Congress to treat this with the independence and intellectual honesty that it will never, ever get,” the attorney explained.
In other words, Mueller might bring the indictment against Trump once he has sufficient evidence not because he thinks it will be successful, but because it might prompt an impeachment to force a criminal president out of the White House. While the first is preferred, and Trump almost certainly belongs behind bars, the second would also be acceptable.
Spring cleaning is on the way.