I want to set the record straight on a couple of issues that have been under media scrutiny as of late.
The president’s power to pardon is absolute. It is in the Constitution. There are NO exemptions listed. This included the power to pardon himself. They are not always given as an exoneration. Just because you are pardoned does not mean you were guilty of something. Ford pardoned Nixon on crimes he MIGHT have committed.
Now, for the sake of argument, let’s say the president pardons himself. This does not mean Congress cannot still impeach him. Impeachment is not a criminal process; it is a political process. Sure, the Constitution says “high crimes and misdemeanors,” but it is intentionally vague, meaning other reasons can be read into it. The power to pardon is explicit.
As the attorney general, the director of the FBI, a special prosecutor—hell, the entire Justice Department are under the Executive Branch of the federal government—the president can legally fire any one. So, there would be no legal implications; however, there would be political, which is why I pointed out that impeachment was a political remedy.
While there are no laws on the books regarding a special prosecutor, there are regulations. One is 28 CFR 600.4, which states that the attorney general, or in this case deputy attorney general, “provide a special counsel specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated.” Then, you have 28 CFR 600.1, which, in this case, the deputy attorney general has to determine that there is a crime. Neither has been done, yet the regulation makes clear the matter must be a criminal investigation. However, and I have pointed this out in the past, there is no underlying crime. You have an investigation looking for a crime and that is NOT how it is supposed to work.
You must remember the letter from the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, appointing Mueller refers to former FBI Director James Comey’s March 20 testimony, which described a counterintelligence investigation—not a criminal investigation. Remember, during a period of time, Comey had told Trump already and Congress three different times that Trump was not a target of a criminal investigation.
So, how does the president rein in the special prosecutor legally and without setting off the political impeachment? Why should he be reined in? First, the special counsel is supposed to hold all of his cards close to the vest. He’s not supposed to tell anybody anything. However, you have been reading that his people are starting to leak. Why? Because everybody he has hired is either an Obama or Clinton donor, or both. This is the team of people investigating Trump. The people investigating the Russia-Trump connection are nothing more than Clinton-DNC donors.
It is all out there on the public record. Now, they are trying to get access to something that not even John Podesta and Hillary Clinton could get their hands on. They are trying an end run for Trump’s tax returns. The thinking is: Trump’s tax returns hold the key to getting rid of him in any number of ways. They are trying to look into things that happened long before—years before—he entered the political arena.
So again I ask, how does the president rein in the special prosecutor? The way to rein Mueller in is to simply have Rosenstein, who’s the deputy attorney general, establish some parameters based on existing law. Rosenstein would tell the special counsel what crimes he is permitted to investigate.
Then, after the deputy attorney general tells the special counsel what crimes he is permitted to investigate, that establishes the parameters. Now, if in the investigation of that specific crime, other crimes are found, the special counsel cannot, by statute, investigate them. He has to go back to the deputy attorney general and get permission. He has to take the evidence that he’s found of additional crimes outside the original crime parameter, go to Rosenstein and say, “I found this crime and this crime. I want permission to go there and investigate.” It probably would be granted, but he just cannot go off on his own.
The irony here is all the laws and regulations that have already been broken to see IF any crime has been committed. Again, no one has enunciated the crime committed. All we have are seven months of open-ended leaks and allegations that are not provable, that do not even have named sources behind them. There is no evidence any evidence of actual tampering with votes or collusion or obstruction.
The firing of James Comey is what has led there to a special counsel. But, there was no crime. If you want to understand why Trump would be frustrated with the attorney general, you are looking at it and can you blame him?
This is what I say. What say you?