Bob Mueller got it right — now it's up to Congress to begin the impeachment process

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal MORE is the true man of progressive convictions and principles. He believes in due process of law — even for people who have done such evil they don’t deserve it.

The problem is, when it comes to Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE, we progressives find it inconvenient to apply our core due process principles. But we don’t need to choose between due process and Congress doing its duty, as Robert Mueller properly implied is the next step.  

When prosecutors hold press conferences after an indictment, they fundamentally compromise due process. They omit telling the public that an indictment is meaningless — a one-sided presentation to a grand jury with no cross-examination, no counter-point evidence. It’s no joke when prosecutors joke that they could indict a ham sandwich if they wanted. They could. 


It is therefore no accident that in the United States, according to the last report of the Department of Justice, in 2012 the conviction rate in U.S. federal courts was 93 percent. Don’t tell me that 93 percent of those convicted by judges or juries were guilty. 

The percentage of black people in U.S. prisons is about 38 percent of the total population — more than three times the percentage of blacks in the U.S. population. Don’t tell me that is because poor black people are three times more criminal than white people.

Remember the 1994 crime bill, which in part compromised justice and contributed to today’s mass incarceration of people of color. And re-read what should be to progressives the stirring words from the Mueller report on the importance of strict adherence to due process principles:

[We] determined not to apply an approach that could potentially result in a judgment that the President committed crimes. … Fairness [read: “due process”] concerns counseled against potentially reaching that judgment when no charges can be brought. The ordinary means of an individual to respond to an accusation is through a speedy and public trial, with all the [due process] procedural protections that surround a criminal case. An individual who believes he was wrongly accused can use that process to seek to clear his name. In contrast, a prosecutor’s judgment that crimes were committed but that no charges will be brought affords no such adversarial opportunity for public-name-clearing before an impartial adjudicator. [italics added]

These words clearly prove that Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFeehery: Impeachment fever bad for Democratic governing vision Trump awards Yankees legend Mariano Rivera the Medal of Freedom Supreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration MORE lied when he claimed that the Justice Department policy against indicting a sitting president had no impact on Mueller’s refusal to make a finding of obstruction of justice. Mueller wrote precisely the opposite — and Barr knew it. 


And, of course, Trump willfully lied — surprise! — when he claimed that Mueller had “exonerated” him. Again, Mueller stated exactly the opposite — and Trump and the White House lying machinery know it.

[I]f we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment. … Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime [add: because to do so would violate due process principles], it does not exonerate him.’ (italics added)

And his refusal on Wednesday to state legal conclusions on the overwhelming evidence of obstruction of justice in his report, Mueller was simply adhering to due process principles. He properly passed the baton to where it belongs: the impeachment and removal power uniquely possessed under our Constitution by the U.S. Congress.

Now it is time for Congress to do its constitutional duty and begin the impeachment investigatory process, which means every subpoena must be honored, and would be enforced by the U.S. Supreme Court, I believe, by a 9-0 margin. 

If the Republican Senate doesn’t convict with two-thirds vote, then so be it. If it turns out to be bad politics, then so be it. (I happen to disagree with that — the factual evidence according to all the polls is that most Americans already suspect Trump committed obstruction, even if they don’t like the idea of a long impeachment process.)


And here’s why, with all due respect to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPence says it's 'vital' for Congress to pass US-Mexico-Canada trade deal The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to California Obama, Bush among those paying tribute to Cokie Roberts: 'A trailblazing figure' MORE (D-Calif.):

If this Congress doesn’t even begin the impeachment process given the facts found and documented by Robert Mueller — Trump committing obstruction of justice — much less all the other evidence of impeachable offenses (betraying America by attacking our intelligence agencies, while standing next to Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinFeehery: Impeachment fever bad for Democratic governing vision Taliban travels to Moscow after Trump declares talks dead Russians tune out Vladimir Putin MORE and saying he believed him over these agencies when Putin lied and denied what Mueller found to be his pro-Trump intervention in the 2016 election, a de facto act of war against the United States; open refusal of lawful congressional subpoenas and other clear congressional mandates; writing personal checks as president in 2017 to reimburse the illegal hush money scheme that prosecutors found he directed a few days before the election; and defying congressional subpoenas and clear statutory mandates on turning over tax returns, just to name a few) ... if, given this overwhelming evidence already virtually beyond dispute, Congress doesn’t at least begin an impeachment process, then when will it ever?  

To hell with worrying about politics. Our constitutional system of three co-equal branches of government is imperiled. House Democrats must being the impeachment process. Today. 

Davis served as special counsel to former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonRNC spokeswoman on 2020 GOP primary cancellations: 'This is not abnormal' Booker dismisses early surveys: 'If you're polling ahead right now, you should worry' Words matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump MORE (1996-98). He represents former Trump personal attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenNew York attorneys subpoena eight years of Trump tax returns: report Eric Holder says Trump is subject to prosecution after leaving office Aggrieved Trump rips Dems for 'sad' impeachment effort MORE. He is co-founder of the law firm of Davis Goldberg & Galper and the strategic media and crisis management firm Trident DMG. He authored “Crisis Tales: Five Rules for Coping with Crises in Business, Politics and Life" (Scribner 2018). He can be followed on Twitter @LannyDavis.