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 TrumpRouhani says Iran will never seek nuclear weapons Trump downplays seriousness of injuries in Iran attack after US soldiers treated for concussions Trump says Bloomberg is 'wasting his money' on 2020 campaign 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) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay 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 BarrWilliam Pelham BarrThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Barr wrote 2018 memo contradicting Trump's claim that abuse of power is not impeachable Brent Budowsky: McConnell, Roberts and Trump on trial MORE has said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinRosenstein says he authorized release of Strzok-Page texts Journalist alleging Obama administration spied on her seeks to reopen case Rosenstein on his time in Trump administration: 'We got all the big issues right' 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) WeldWeld says Trump wants reporters to 'roam free' in Iran, but not US Trump primary challengers left off Wisconsin ballot Bannon: 'We need the Republican establishment on board' to reelect Trump 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.