While President Trump’s handpicked fixer, Attorney General William Barr, read the Mueller report and unsurprisingly concluded that his new boss was exonerated of any wrongdoing, others who have read even only the redacted version of the 448-page opus have come to a very different conclusion.
Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates is someone whose background as a senior official in the Justice Department — and as a major character in one of the episodes characterized by many as an example of Trump’s obstruction of justice — gives her a unique perspective on the Mueller report’s conclusions.
In an appearance on NBC‘s Meet The Press this morning, Yates questioned the decision by Mueller not to reach a conclusion about whether the president’s actions which his team’s inquiry uncovered constituted an indictable case of obstruction of justice, thereby throwing the decision into Barr’s less than unbiased hands.
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“I’ve been a prosecutor for nearly 30 years, and I can tell you I’ve personally prosecuted obstruction cases on far, far less evidence than this,” Yates told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“I believe if he were not the president of the United States, he would likely be indicted on obstruction,” she further added.
Yates mentioned Trump’s ordering White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Special Counsel Mueller — and then when McGahn refused to do so, ordering him to lie about being asked — as an unrefutable indication of obstruction of justice.
Yates herself is no stranger to refusing orders from this president, who famously fired the then acting Attorney General after she refused to have the Justice Department defend in federal court Trump’s initial travel ban against visitors from a number of Muslim-majority countries due to her belief that the order was unconstitutional.
Her intransigence on the issue was later proved justified when federal courts blocked the president’s executive order on the grounds that Yates had already highlighted.
You can watch a clip of Sally Yates’ appearance on NBC’s Meet The Press in the video below.
EXCLUSIVE: Former U.S. Dep Attorney Gen Sally Yates says, "I've personally prosecuted obstruction (of justice) cases on far, far less evidence than this"@SallyQYates: "If he were not the president of the united states, he would likely be indicted on obstruction" pic.twitter.com/h4EMNKe2dc
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) April 28, 2019
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Original reporting by Chris Mills Rodrigo at The Hill.