Hundreds of former prosecutors say Trump would've been charged with obstruction if he weren't president

Hundreds of former federal prosecutors have signed a letter asserting President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries Tucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' Trump on Confederate flag: 'It's freedom of speech' MORE would have been charged with obstruction of justice if he didn't occupy the Oval Office.

In Monday's letter, former Department of Justice (DOJ) officials said the evidence of obstruction as laid out in 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’s report was enough to bring forward an obstruction charge.

Mueller declined to say in his 448-page report whether Trump should be charged with obstruction of justice. Attorney General William BarrBill BarrThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: DC's Bowser says protesters and nation were 'assaulted' in front of Lafayette Square last month; Brazil's Bolsonaro, noted virus skeptic, tests positive for COVID-19 FBI Director Wray warns of Chinese hacking, espionage threats against American companies Executing four white men won't erase death penalty racism MORE has said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinSupreme Court to hear dispute over Democrats' access to Mueller materials Republicans release newly declassified intelligence document on FBI source Steele GOP's Obama-era probes fuel Senate angst MORE determined there was insufficient evidence to bring forward such a charge.

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But the ex-prosecutors say they don’t believe there was a lack of evidence, and they point to Mueller’s findings that Trump ordered then-White House counsel Don McGahn to fire the special counsel and later draft documents asserting that Trump never made that request.

They cited other acts outlined in Mueller’s report, like Trump’s efforts to limit the scope of the special counsel’s investigation, as being substantial enough to support an obstruction charge.

The former DOJ employees said it "runs counter to logic and our experience" to examine the evidence and say that a prosecutor wouldn’t be able to get a conviction for obstruction of justice.

They argued that guidance issued by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) that states a sitting president cannot be indicted was the deciding factor in Mueller's decision not to bring forward an obstruction charge.

“As former federal prosecutors, we recognize that prosecuting obstruction of justice cases is critical because unchecked obstruction — which allows intentional interference with criminal investigations to go unpunished — puts our whole system of justice at risk,” the letter reads. “We believe strongly that, but for the OLC memo, the overwhelming weight of professional judgment would come down in favor of prosecution for the conduct outlined in the Mueller Report.”

The letter, first reported by The Washington Post, had almost 400 signatures as of Monday afternoon. It was organized by the group Protect Democracy.

Among the letter's notable signatories are former Massachusetts Gov. William WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldVermont governor, running for reelection, won't campaign or raise money The Hill's Campaign Report: Amash moves toward Libertarian presidential bid Libertarians view Amash as potential 2020 game changer for party MORE (R), who is challenging Trump for the GOP nomination in 2020, and Paul Rosenzweig, who was senior counsel to former independent counsel Ken Starr.

Democrats have criticized Barr over his decision to not charge Trump with obstruction of justice, accusing him of acting to protect the president.

Barr defended his actions during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, saying he and Rosenstein both agreed there was not enough evidence to sustain an obstruction charge.

The attorney general added that he was surprised Mueller had declined to make the decision on obstruction. Barr also revealed that he did not review the underlying evidence of Mueller’s report before deciding against the obstruction charge.