Today’s hearings revealed again how two bedrock American legal principles have been terribly abused in the Mueller investigation’s final report on Russian election interference. The first principle is innocent until proven guilty, known in the legal profession as the presumption of innocence.
After being essentially cleared in the first half of the report on colluding with Russia (Democrats won’t let go of the dead horse, but Mueller did) the special counsel jumped tracks in the second half and took away Trump’s presumption of innocence.
Prosecutor Mueller and his team laid out in 200-plus pages of detailed evidence the supposed obstruction of justice. Yet Mueller declined to recommend charges, but then made the shockingly unprofessional statement that he could not “exonerate” Trump, and that if he could he would. That was just prosecutorial malfeasance of a very high order, and certainly gives the appearance of a political setup for Democrats to launch impeachment.
Now, some of you will say, but he’s the president! It’s different! That brings me to the second bedrock American legal principle under assault: equality under the law.
If everyone is equal under the law, which I should hope everyone on the left and right agrees with, then why is this President and his family members not presumed innocent? Why is this President and his family members left with the pall of “not exonerated” when in every other single instance of American prosecution, it is simply and rightly “not sufficient evidence” for prosecution?
If your answer is, he’s the president! Or, this is too important! Then you don’t believe everyone is equal under the law. You believe Trump and his family are *less* equal under the law.
Remember, in this special counsel arrangement (I still contend a bad law), there is no other side presented. This is just a prosecutor’s report. In a normal courtroom, a full defense team would be breaking down the prosecution’s case and, very importantly, would be cross-examining witnesses. None of that has happened or is allowed to happen.
But Trump did obstruct justice, you may say, because Mueller couldn’t exonerate him! As previously noted, a prosecutor does not have the authority in the American legal system to “exonerate” anyone specifically because everyone is presumed innocent until *proven* guilty.
But further, Mueller admitted during his testimony that he had not been in any way obstructed. Congressman John Ratcliffe asked Mueller whether his investigation been curtailed, stopped, or hindered at any point. Mueller answered, “No.” Not even hindered? So, there was no obstruction.
Ratcliff also asked Mueller on my main point: “Can you give me an example other than Donald Trump where the Justice Department determined that an investigated person was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined?”
Mueller’s bone-chilling answer: “I cannot, but this is a unique situation.”
No, it’s not if we’re all equal under the law. Trump has not been provided a presumption of innocence, nor has he had his “day in court” to go after the prosecutors and cross-examine their witnesses, which means he has not been treated equally under the law. I realize this means nothing to the Trump-haters. But it should matter to regular Americans.
As bad as foreign interference is in our elections (and Russia alone has been doing it since the 1930s, and aggressively since the 1950s) undermining our own jurisprudence for political gain is worse.
In the realm of stating what is un-American, that could hardly fit better.
Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.
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