In his latest op-ed for Slate, Professor Frank Bowman discusses the options that special counsel Robert Mueller has if during his investigation into any coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign he finds any legal wrongdoing on the part of the president of the United States.
Mueller’s appointment empowers him to prosecute any crimes discovered in the course of the investigation. However, Mueller is a special counsel, not an independent counsel. He is subject to the chain of command and policies of the Department of Justice, whereby federal prosecutors may not indict a sitting president.
Professor Bowman writes, “Even a felony conviction would not eject the president. Only impeachment performs that trick. So, if Mueller concludes that Trump did commit a crime and he wants Congress to know about it, he needs a way to present his conclusions to Congress.”
Professor Bowman suggests two ways to do that: “First, Mueller could prepare a report and recommendation that Trump be indicted after he leaves office and trust that Congress would find means of obtaining the report. Alternatively, Mueller could recommend immediate indictment, fully expecting rejection of that recommendation, and rely on the technicalities of the DOJ’s own rules to ensure transmission of his recommendation and reasons to Congress.”
This article also appears on the blog Impeachable Offenses, where Professor Bowman posted a follow-up “More on Mueller’s Endgame: Unindicted Co-Conspirators & Other Stuff.”
On February 2, Politico quoted Professor Bowman in an article discussing Mueller’s options for an indictment.