U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler began his questioning of Robert Mueller during his hearing last week by asking whether he was familiar with the expired independent counsel statute under which Kenneth Starr was appointed – an irrelevant question, since that is not the statute under which Mueller was operating. He asked the question to point out that Attorney General Janet Reno stated that there is a presumption of innocence and that privacy should be valued when a final report is issued. He went on to quote that “unfairly airing a target’s dirty laundry” should be avoided. Reschenthaler equates obstruction of justice and possible coordination with Russia in their sweeping and systematic interference in our democracy as dirty laundry. While he did not dispute any of the findings of the report, he bemoaned the fact that Mueller compiled a report of the very worst information gathered against the president of the United States. Reschenthaler’s main concern is that this information was made public to the American people. He made no mention of his concern about Russia interfering in our democracy. He made no mention of what he plans to do so that this does not continue to happen. He made no mention of what the “very worst information” revealed about President Trump’s attempts to obstruct justice. Reschenthaler claims that Mueller left out exculpatory information and evidence favorable to the president. As my representative, I’ve asked Rescenthaler to please share with me the exculpatory information and evidence that is favorable to the president to which he referred.
Reschenthaler used the remainder of his time to expound on his legal career, mentioning how many terrorists he prosecuted in a Baghdad courtroom. He stated that he is well-versed in the American legal system, yet he stated that Mueller made a decision not to prosecute the president. Perhaps Reschenthaler should familiarize himself with the long-standing Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel policy, which states that a sitting president cannot be charged with a federal crime.
Finally, Reschenthaler dramatically stated that drafting and publication of this report without an indictment flies in the face of American justice and is un-American. With that I agree. It is un-American for anyone to be above the law, including the president. Trump should be indicted if guilty of crimes. What is also un-American is Republicans like Reschenthaler continually defending Trump’s behavior no matter how abhorrent and continuing to allow Russia or any country to interfere with our democracy.
The letter-writer is recording secretary of the Washington County Democratic Committee.