WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former top Justice Department official Sally Yates said on Sunday that if Donald Trump were not president, he would have been indicted on obstruction charges in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Yates, a career federal prosecutor who rose to acting attorney general before Trump fired her in 2017 less than two weeks into his presidency, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” the Republican president was shielded by department guidelines that a sitting president should not be indicted.

“I’ve personally prosecuted obstruction cases on far, far less evidence than this,” Yates said. “And yes, I believe, if he were not the president of the United States, he would likely be indicted on obstruction.”

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11 thoughts on “Former U.S. deputy attorney general: If Trump was not president, he would be indicted

  1. Trump obviously believes that he … and his minions … are above the law. Worse yet, he continues even today to obstruct justice by bullying those who have been served subpoenas and demanding that they not testify. This is blatant abuse of power and if it is allowed to continue, if Congress does not arrest those who ignore the subpoena, then what we have is a dictatorship and a banana republic in an industrialized nation. The next few weeks will determine whether or not our Constitution can protect us from such abuse.

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    • Indeed. I think the constitution gave us two relevant safeguards against the dictatorship posed by Trump. The first, the legal system, has already failed. The second, the political system, is in the process of failing. Opposition Democrats are more concerned about getting reelected than they are about performing their constitutional duties. This shortsightedness not only relegates America’s fate to the last-ditch stand of the 2020 election, but it also ignores the possibility that an unleashed Trump might try to undermine or circumvent the 2020 election.

      An analogy to war might be illuminating here. One should never give up ground to the enemy without a sound strategic plan; else, retreat turns into rout. Once retreat falls back to the last line of defense, further retreat is impossible.

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  2. Very astute observations. I have long said that I fear Trump finding cause to ‘postpone’ the 2020 election. I have fears of leaving it to the next election to get Trump out of office. For one thing, the election is likely to be compromised, not only by Russian interference, but by gerrymandering, voter disenfranchisement, and voter apathy. For another, there are too many people in the pool, and where will those who support Bernie turn if Bernie is not the nominee? And third, the democratic party is not pulling together as they need to, but rather are indulging in in-fighting that does nobody any good. We need to present a united front, and frankly, the 2020 election is not going to be about who is the most qualified, or who has the best platform/ideology, but rather will be about who can beat Trump. Sigh. We are in a mess, my friend.

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    • Yes, it’s a mess alright. Assuming that we do have an untainted election in 2020, it’s important for political analysts to understand that each election is unique and that each is typified by a prevailing mood or theme. In 2008, it was an anti-Republican backlash triggered by the financial crash. In 2016, it was anti-establishment populist angst. In 2018, it was anti-Trump. The specific dynamics for 2020 haven’t emerged yet.

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      • Quite true. At this point, I suspect it will be all about defeating Trump, but with 18 months yet to go, who knows? Heck, by then Pelosi might be president! It’s gonna be a looonnnnggg year-and-a-half.

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