This week, in his final act as Special Counsel, Robert Mueller publicly spelled out that Donald Trump committed felony obstruction of justice – while continuing to refuse to simply say that he thinks Trump committed the crime. Mueller also made clear that if he’s called to testify, he’ll continue to refuse to say whether he thinks Trump is guilty. But thanks to William Barr’s big mouth, Adam Schiff has a new strategy for working around all of the above.
After Robert Mueller announced that he wasn’t willing to say whether Donald Trump is guilty because he’s not allowed to indict Trump anyway, William Barr told a CBS News interviewer that he felt Mueller did have the right to state that Trump is guilty. This was obviously an attempt on Barr’s part at justifying his own decision to falsely declare Trump’s innocence while releasing a fictional summary of the Mueller report.
At the time Barr said this, Palmer Report explained that Barr’s words could blow back on him, though we weren’t clear on precisely how that would go. But because Barr has given the green light to DOJ prosecutors to take public stances on Trump’s guilt, Adam Schiff is looking to convince the federal prosecutors at the SDNY to go ahead and announce that Trump is guilty. He tweeted this: “If Barr thinks Mueller could have accused Trump of a crime, then SDNY prosecutors should stop being coy about “Individual 1” and announce whether Trump should be charged with campaign finance fraud.”
Will this work? That depends on whether the feds at the SDNY are willing to stick their necks out by accusing Donald Trump of a crime, and using Barr’s flub as an excuse, knowing full well that Trump could respond by trying to illegally fire them. To be clear, the SDNY can’t actually indict Trump while he’s in office. But by merely announcing that Trump should be indicted, the SDNY could go a long way toward shaping public opinion – and making the impeachment process easier.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report