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Fri Apr 12, 2019, 08:48 AM


Obstructing Justice Under Federal Jurisdiction:

Obstruction of justice is defined by federal statute as any "interference with the orderly administration of law and justice" and governed by 18 U.S.C. §§ 1501-1521. Federal code identifies more than 20 specific types of obstruction, including "Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees" (18 U.S.C. § 1505)

What Might Be Blacked Out of Mueller's Trump-Russia Report?
April 11, 2019, at 7:05 a.m.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Attorney General William Barr has pledged to release next week Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. election and contacts between Moscow and President Donald Trump's campaign, albeit with color-coded redactions, accompanied by notes explaining the grounds for withholding information. It is unclear how much will be blacked out.

While congressional Democrats have demanded the release of the full report with nothing blacked out, as well as the underlying evidence Mueller collected, Barr has said he will redact four categories of sensitive information.

According to a March 24 letter Barr sent to lawmakers, Mueller's nearly 400-page report presents evidence on both sides of the question of whether Trump engaged in obstruction of justice, and while it "does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

Trump enlists conservative allies as he resists Democrats’ push for Mueller report, tax returns

By John Wagner April 8
President Trump went on Twitter Monday morning... as he continued to air grievances about efforts of congressional Democrats to obtain the full special counsel report and his tax returns.

Treasury department won't meet deadline to release Trump's tax returns...

The treasury department declined to hand over Trump’s tax returns before a deadline set in a request from the House ways and means committee chairman, Richard Neal. In a letter, Secretary Steve Mnuchin said his department was still deciding whether to comply, and seeking support from the justice department.

Obstruction of justice, in United States jurisdictions, is a process crime, consisting of obstructing prosecutors or other (usually government) officials. Common law jurisdictions other than the United States tend to use the wider offense of perverting the course of justice.

Obstruction also applies to overt coercion of court or government officials via the means of threats or actual physical harm, and also applying to deliberate sedition against a court official to undermine the appearance of legitimate authority.

Take Trump’s Tweet-Threat to Democrats Seriously
No, Mr. President, attempting to intimidate your opponents to avoid subpoenas is not a “game.”
By Noah Feldman
November 7, 2018, 9:52 AM MST

"President Donald Trump has defined it in a tweet, threatening a criminal investigation of Democrats if the House Democratic majority uses its powers to investigate him."

Tweet by Donald J. Trump:

If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level. Two can play that game!

"Oversight and investigation therefore are not a “game,” as Trump says. They are core features of what keeps democracy from dissolving into corruption."

Citing the Trump tweet, the news article reports that Trump is "overtly threatening to go after the Democrats if and only if they try to investigate him. That’s an explicit distortion of partisanship in the interests of personal self-preservation.

"Democrats in the House now have subpoena power to use in investigating Trump... And he is taking steps to prevent the Democrats’ investigation power from harming him." In Trump’s plan, "the way to defend yourself is simply to threaten the other side," according to the news article. Also, Trump "wants to expend on his opponents’ supposed wrongdoings, even if they are completely invented."

Elements of an Obstruction of Justice Charge:
There was a pending federal judicial proceeding;
The defendant knew of the proceeding; and...
The defendant had corrupt intent to interfere with or attempted to interfere with the proceeding.

Trump rejects giving Dems tax returns, citing audit
BY BRETT SAMUELS - 04/10/19 10:05 AM EDT

Trump has insisted he will not voluntarily give up his returns. He has cited an ongoing audit, the same reason he gave when he broke with years of precedent and declined to release his returns during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump on Wednesday echoed the argument of his allies, who have pushed back against the Democratic request, suggesting the issue was litigated during the 2016 election and "frankly, the people don’t care."

Other ways an individual may commit this offense include, but are not limited to, the following acts:

>Influencing or injuring an officer or juror generally (18 U.S.C. § 1503)
>Obstruction of criminal investigations (18 U.S.C. § 1510)
>Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant (18 U.S.C. § 1512)
>Retaliating against a witness, victim, or an informant (18 U.S.C. § 1513)
>Destruction of corporate audit records (18 U.S.C. § 1520)
>The crime can take any number of forms, whether it's bribery, tampering with evidence, lying to investigators, abusing one's power, or some other act intended to impede a criminal investigation.

Partial Timeline of Trump and Obstruction of Justice: Key Dates and Events

What are the three scenarios that prosecutors, members of Congress, and the public could consider under the heading of obstruction of justice?

>First, any attempts to unlawfully have FBI Director James Comey drop the investigations of Michael Flynn

>Second, any attempts to unlawfully interfere with FBI or congressional investigations into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 election

>Third, any attempts to unlawfully interfere with the FBI or congressional investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election (having nothing to do with any alleged Trump campaign collusion)

The federal obstruction of justice statute is written broadly and focuses more on the effect (or intended effect) of a particular action rather than the specific act itself. Therefore, seemingly innocuous acts could be construed as criminal activity if they have the intended effect of impeding justice.

more timeline of OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE, by Trump, at this link:

Trump Can’t Help Obstructing Justice. Who Will Stop Him?

The president abuses his office and views the Justice Department as a tool to punish his political enemies and give his allies a free pass.
By Renato Mariotti
Mr. Mariotti is a former federal prosecutor.

Remember, Robert Mueller, the special counsel, was appointed just last May in the wake of significant critical public reaction to his firing of James Comey, the F.B.I. director, who reportedly offered no assurances about curtailing the Russia investigation generally or specifically taking it easy on Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser.

Since then, Mr. Trump has increasingly obstructed the special counsel’s investigation in plain view, in the process politicizing both the Justice Department and F.B.I. It is no longer news when the president — the head of the executive branch — maligns the F.B.I., calls on the Justice Department to investigate his political enemies or teases pardons to try to influence potential witnesses against him.

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