Clinton lawyer: Mueller's failure to draw conclusion on obstruction a 'massive dereliction' of duty

Clinton lawyer: Mueller's failure to draw conclusion on obstruction a 'massive dereliction' of duty
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The lawyer who represented President Clinton during the Kenneth Starr investigation tore into special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE on Monday, saying it was a “massive dereliction” of duty to not draw a conclusion on whether President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE obstructed justice.

David Kendall, who currently represents the Clintons, penned an op-ed for The Washington Post to criticize Mueller’s conclusions after the nearly 22-month investigation. 

“The failure to draw any conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice was a massive dereliction of the special counsel’s duty, and the report’s explanation of this failure is both incoherent and illogical,” Kendall wrote.

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Trump claimed “complete and total exoneration” after the Justice Department released the redacted report, but Kendall said that was “made possible by a massive flinch.”

Mueller failed to follow Justice Department regulations, which say a special counsel ‘shall provide’ the attorney general a confidential report ‘explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel.’ The special counsel is not authorized to bypass the required binary decision; he must decide to prosecute or not,” the attorney wrote.

Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election noted that the special counsel’s office was unable to “conclusively determine” that no criminal conduct occurred in regards to obstruction of justice. Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrTrump blasts Mueller, decries 'witch hunt' at 2020 launch Trump blasts Mueller, decries 'witch hunt' at 2020 launch Cummings requests interview with Census official over new allegations on citizenship question MORE and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinTrump blasts Mueller, decries 'witch hunt' at 2020 launch Trump blasts Mueller, decries 'witch hunt' at 2020 launch Trump: I didn't fire Mueller since firings 'didn't work out too well' for Nixon MORE ultimately declined to pursue charges.

The Mueller report also cited several possible instances of obstruction of justice that the special counsel investigated, noting that the report “does not exonerate" Trump. 

Kendall pointed to one of those instances, writing that it presented a more clear illustration of obstruction of justice than the actions of former President Nixon during the Watergate scandal. 

The report points to Trump’s June 2017 meeting with former aide Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiMichael Caputo eyes congressional bid Clinton lawyer: Mueller's failure to draw conclusion on obstruction a 'massive dereliction' of duty Mueller's facts vs Trump's spin MORE during which Trump insisted that his aide tell then-Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump to kick off bid for second term in Florida The Hill's Morning Report - Trump to kick off bid for second term in Florida Sarah Sanders to leave White House MORE to “unrecuse” himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation.

“Trump allegedly directed Lewandowski to instruct Sessions to declare that Sessions knew ‘for a fact’ that ‘there were no Russians involved with the campaign’ because he ‘was there,’” Kendall wrote of the report. “And Trump ordered Lewandowski to direct Sessions to explain that Trump should not be subjected to an investigation ‘because he hasn’t done anything wrong.’”

Lewandowski declined to make those requests to Sessions and passed them off to a current White House aide who also declined, Kendall noted.

“This is not a hard case. The conduct is more aggravated than that recorded on the ‘smoking gun’ tape: Nixon’s 1972 direction that the CIA director tell the FBI that the Watergate investigation involved important national security matters and should not be pursued,” Kendall noted.