If you want to know why Donald Trump sticks with his criminal defense team, even though they’re the most bumbling lawyers on the planet, I can give it to you in one example. We all know by now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller doesn’t speak to the public about his ongoing investigations. It’s how prosecutors are supposed to carry themselves. It’s also opened the door for Trump’s lawyers to sell the public on a rather absurd lie – and sell it they have.
Rudy Giuliani has claimed in interviews that Robert Mueller has privately admitted to him that he knows he can’t indict a sitting president. Rudy is lying. Even if Mueller did feel this way, which is doubtful, he would never admit to his opponent that he can’t use his own most powerful weapon. But Rudy knows that he can tell any lie he wants about the investigation, and Mueller is not going to simply grab the first microphone and call him out for it. Trump’s former attorney John Dowd has also made the same false claim about Mueller.
Sure enough, Giuliani has managed to sell large chunks of the public – including quite a few people in the Resistance – on this lie. Part of it is that the mainstream media tends to simply print Rudy’s lies while not always pointing out that they’re lies. It’s led to the general belief out that that Robert Mueller actually said he knows he can’t indict a sitting president. Rudy is a blustering buffoon, but look at what he’s pulled off here.
So what’s the real story? In the distant past, the Department of Justice did issue the opinion that a sitting president can’t be indicted. But the DOJ doesn’t make law, so this opinion isn’t binding. Because no prosecutor has ever even tried it, there is no established precedent in the court system. In reality, Robert Mueller can have a grand jury indict Donald Trump tomorrow if he wanted to. Trump would challenge its validity in court, and the Supreme Court would end up deciding. Will that happen? We don’t know what Mueller will do. But his consistent aggression makes clear that he didn’t take this job just to file a report about Trump’s crimes and go home.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report