President Can Stop Mueller Investigation in Many Ways – Noted Expert
WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 31, 2017) – Now that President Trump’s new weapon to frustrate Special Counsel’s Mueller investigation – that of holding out the promise of a pardon to associates who refuse to be flipped – has been stymied by cooperation which could result in pardon-proof prosecutions by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Trump will have to return to his original plan to thwart Mueller’s investigation using a variety of possible techniques, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.
Banzhaf’s recent published legal analysis showed how Trump could not only pardon any individual threatened by Mueller for all crimes he may have committed without naming them, but that Trump could even issue a blanket pardon for anyone involved, following the precedents of similar blanket pardons issued by Presidents Andrew Johnson, Benjamin Harrison, and Jimmy Carter.
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Prof Banzhaf also played a significant role in the appointment of the original Special Prosecutor for Watergate.
Trump could move to end Mueller’s investigation in many ways.
He could direct Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to remove Mueller from office for some alleged “good cause,” which could be going beyond the scope of his authority.
Trump has also suggested that Mueller, and/or key members of his high powered investigatory team, should be disqualified because of alleged conflicts of interest.
Rosenstein can also stop Mueller, under the regulations, “for any investigative or prosecutorial step” that is “so inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices that it should not be pursued.”
If Rosenstein refuses to follow Trump’s orders in this regard, Trump can fire him (and perhaps also others in the chain of command), until he finds or appoints someone who is willing to do so, in a series of firings similar to the infamous Saturday Night Massacre.
Alternatively, Trump could argue that the Constitution gives him, as the person ultimately responsible for all prosecutions, the inherent power to fire Mueller himself, and that no mere regulation to the contrary can stand in his way. He might also simply have the regulation amended to serve his purposes.
In addition, Rosenstein might be ordered to limit the scope of the current investigation, one which now includes “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” and “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”
Indeed, it might even be argued that such powers, especially as Mueller may already be exercising them, are too broad to be entrusted to someone who, unlike previous special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, was not confirmed by the Senate.
JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH),
2000 H Street, NW, Wash, DC 20052, USA
(202) 994-7229 // (703) 527-8418
http://banzhaf.net/ jbanzhaf3ATgmail.com @profbanzhaf