Sunday, June 11, 2017

Can Robert Mueller Really Hold Trump Accountable?

The Nation | George Zorick

One of the biggest stars of Thursday’s blockbuster Senate Intelligence Committee hearing was a man who wasn’t there: Robert Mueller, a former FBI director who is now serving as special counsel overseeing investigations into the Trump campaign’s potential dealings with Russian officials.

James Comey testified that he leaked memos of his conversations with President Donald Trump specifically “because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.” Comey said he turned over all of those memos to Mueller once he was appointed. The memos infamously outline how Trump pressured Comey with demands for loyalty and a request to drop an investigation into former national-security adviser Michael Flynn. 

In any case, the momentum of this scandal has clearly shifted towards Mueller. It is more likely than not that he is investigating the president of the United States. If Mueller is indeed is looking into whether Trump—or any members of his administration—obstructed justice in the process of firing Comey, what powers does Mueller have to make this inquiry, and what can he do with the results?

The answers are complicated, but will be critical to understand over the coming months. The short answer is that Mueller has extraordinary powers to investigate, subpoena, and prosecute wrongdoing—but there are still several ways Trump can shut Mueller down.

More at The Nation

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