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) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE on Monday, saying it was a “massive dereliction” of duty to not draw a conclusion on whether President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally 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 BarrBill BarrGOP lawmaker calls for Justice Dept. to probe international court Barr pulls over to thank pro-police rally in Virginia Trump: Yates either lying or grossly incompetent MORE and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinFBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Sally Yates to testify as part of GOP probe into Russia investigation Graham releases newly declassified documents on Russia probe 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. LewandowskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - Mask mandates, restrictions issued as COVID-19 spreads Trump shakes up campaign leadership, demotes Parscale Trump World boils over as campaign hits skids MORE during which Trump insisted that his aide tell then-Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Tuberville breaks DC self-quarantine policy to campaign 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.