Reasons Mueller may not charge Trump with obstruction of justice

The Russia collusion investigation. Remember that? It's difficult at times because in an investigation with little or no evidence of wrongdoing, it's hard to keep the hysteria at fever pitch for very long.

Law professor Jonathan Turley writes in The Hill that the questions submitted by special counsel Robert Mueller to the Trump legal team are a clear sign that the prosecutor is not considering obstruction of justice charges despite months of confident predictions by the left that the president was a gone goose for firing former FBI Director James Comey.

Turley explains how the rampant, sometimes unbalanced speculation about Trump's potential legal troubles over the last two years has been misplaced:

For two years, the public has watched this figurative bomb beneath a table at the Oval Office, waiting (and, in some cases, openly praying) for it to explode. Their wait has been fueled by commentators who scream “Boom!” with every disclosure, great or small. Former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman and former Attorney General Eric Holder have categorically declared that Trump committed obstruction of justice. Others have cited his tweets as a compelling basis for an obstruction charge. University of Notre Dame professor Jimmy Gurulé even suggested it was obstruction for Trump to extend his “appreciation and greetings” to special counsel Mueller. Boom.

The claim of an impending explosion contrasts sharply with the actual scene unfolding in Washington. 

Turley explains why Trump has not committed any act that could be seen as "obstruction of justice":

While Trump has shown breathtakingly poor judgment in firing Comey and publicly attacking investigators, that is not obstruction. Moreover, Trump had independent grounds to fire Comey, including many of the reasons cited by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in his scathing criticism of Comey in 2017. Put simply, this is not what an “O” bomb looks like.

Another sign that the "O" bomb will not go off is Mueller himself conducting the investigation:

Another indicator is that, if Mueller were seriously investigating obstruction, Rosenstein should not be sitting at the table. For that matter, neither should Mueller. Mueller interviewed for Comey’s job after he was fired — making him a witness. Rosenstein has an even more direct and damaging conflict as someone involved in the firing and the controversy that followed. Indeed, Rosenstein recognized that “serious” allegations of a conflict exist but, inappropriately, he left the matter to Mueller: “Director Mueller ought to review that and make a determination of whether or not he believes it is within the scope of his investigation.”  

Then there are those written questions submitted to Trump's lawyers. What's in them that makes it clear Mueller is not considering an obstruction case against the president?

It is curious thing when there is an “O” bomb in plain sight but no one in the room seems to be focusing on it. Trump’s testimony is far more important on obstruction than collusion; his intent would be vital to making even a marginal obstruction case. However, Mueller is asking nary a word about obstruction in these questions.

It certainly is possible that Mueller either wants an interview on obstruction or nothing at all. In that case, the “Boom!” comes with a subpoena to the president to sit down for an interview. Existing law would favor Mueller in demanding such an interview, but he has not requested it. He has reportedly asked witnesses about obstruction but, if he were serious about an actual charge (either during or after Trump’s presidency), he would demand answers from Trump. Otherwise, obstruction issues would become just part of the narrative in a report.

What is the left going to do if Mueller doesn't accuse or charge Trump with anything? I don't think that's likely given the time and money Mueller has spent investigating Trump. But we've been treated these many months to commentary saying it's a certainty that Trump will go to jail for obstruction of justice. If Turley is right, when Mueller's report comes down and the president isn't charged, Mueller will go from being the left's best buddy to a figure to be reviled. 

The Russia collusion investigation. Remember that? It's difficult at times because in an investigation with little or no evidence of wrongdoing, it's hard to keep the hysteria at fever pitch for very long.

Law professor Jonathan Turley writes in The Hill that the questions submitted by special counsel Robert Mueller to the Trump legal team are a clear sign that the prosecutor is not considering obstruction of justice charges despite months of confident predictions by the left that the president was a gone goose for firing former FBI Director James Comey.

Turley explains how the rampant, sometimes unbalanced speculation about Trump's potential legal troubles over the last two years has been misplaced:

For two years, the public has watched this figurative bomb beneath a table at the Oval Office, waiting (and, in some cases, openly praying) for it to explode. Their wait has been fueled by commentators who scream “Boom!” with every disclosure, great or small. Former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman and former Attorney General Eric Holder have categorically declared that Trump committed obstruction of justice. Others have cited his tweets as a compelling basis for an obstruction charge. University of Notre Dame professor Jimmy Gurulé even suggested it was obstruction for Trump to extend his “appreciation and greetings” to special counsel Mueller. Boom.

The claim of an impending explosion contrasts sharply with the actual scene unfolding in Washington. 

Turley explains why Trump has not committed any act that could be seen as "obstruction of justice":

While Trump has shown breathtakingly poor judgment in firing Comey and publicly attacking investigators, that is not obstruction. Moreover, Trump had independent grounds to fire Comey, including many of the reasons cited by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in his scathing criticism of Comey in 2017. Put simply, this is not what an “O” bomb looks like.

Another sign that the "O" bomb will not go off is Mueller himself conducting the investigation:

Another indicator is that, if Mueller were seriously investigating obstruction, Rosenstein should not be sitting at the table. For that matter, neither should Mueller. Mueller interviewed for Comey’s job after he was fired — making him a witness. Rosenstein has an even more direct and damaging conflict as someone involved in the firing and the controversy that followed. Indeed, Rosenstein recognized that “serious” allegations of a conflict exist but, inappropriately, he left the matter to Mueller: “Director Mueller ought to review that and make a determination of whether or not he believes it is within the scope of his investigation.”  

Then there are those written questions submitted to Trump's lawyers. What's in them that makes it clear Mueller is not considering an obstruction case against the president?

It is curious thing when there is an “O” bomb in plain sight but no one in the room seems to be focusing on it. Trump’s testimony is far more important on obstruction than collusion; his intent would be vital to making even a marginal obstruction case. However, Mueller is asking nary a word about obstruction in these questions.

It certainly is possible that Mueller either wants an interview on obstruction or nothing at all. In that case, the “Boom!” comes with a subpoena to the president to sit down for an interview. Existing law would favor Mueller in demanding such an interview, but he has not requested it. He has reportedly asked witnesses about obstruction but, if he were serious about an actual charge (either during or after Trump’s presidency), he would demand answers from Trump. Otherwise, obstruction issues would become just part of the narrative in a report.

What is the left going to do if Mueller doesn't accuse or charge Trump with anything? I don't think that's likely given the time and money Mueller has spent investigating Trump. But we've been treated these many months to commentary saying it's a certainty that Trump will go to jail for obstruction of justice. If Turley is right, when Mueller's report comes down and the president isn't charged, Mueller will go from being the left's best buddy to a figure to be reviled.