Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections is like a Rorschach test. It tells us more about the observer than it does about the president.
Defenders of President Donald Trump are apt to see wrongdoing on the part of former FBI director James Comey and now that of Mueller. The president’s critics are more likely to interpret the same events as displaying corrupt motives and a cover-up of a conspiracy with the Russians to meddle in the 2016 presidential elections.
But the investigation, which has already generated several guilty pleas from several top Trump-campaign operatives, has raised two questions about the president’s legal exposure. Does the federal obstruction law cover official acts of the president? If the answer is yes, is there enough evidence to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the president acted corruptly when he asked Comey to “go easy on” former national-security adviser Michael Flynn, or when he fired Comey?
Saikrishna Prakash & John Yoo, Can the President Obstruct Justice?, National Review (December 15, 2017).