The Corner

Law & the Courts

Chairman Nadler’s Cynical Argument

Representative Jerry Nadler (D, N.Y.) arrives for a House Democratic Caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., November 28, 2018. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Today in the New York Times, House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler writes an op-ed demanding the full release of the entire Mueller report by tomorrow. He never quite gets around to mentioning what’s holding up the release of the Mueller report, which is the need to remove information related to grand jury deliberations or other ongoing investigations that have been referred to other offices.

As noted in one of last week’s Morning Jolts, there are good reasons why prosecutors generally don’t release grand jury information. In his letter to Congress, Attorney General William Barr specifically cited Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e), which provides that government attorneys and the jurors themselves, among others, “must not disclose a matter occurring before the grand jury.” Barr didn’t make this rule up, it’s not obscure or optional, and Nadler knows darn well about its importance. Barr stated in a letter to Nadler and the judiciary committee that the special counsel’s office is assisting in identifying portions that are grand-jury testimony or relate to ongoing investigations or prosecutions.

But because the Democrats prefer a narrative of a sinister cover-up, Nadler just averts his eyes and pretends the rules on grand jury testimony don’t exist.

Late last week we heard that Mueller’s report is more than 300 pages. Barr thinks he’ll have the redactions finished by the middle of this month. Maybe that strikes you as too much time, or too little time, or maybe it seems just right. But if Barr had done as Nadler seems to want, and skipped the redaction process entirely, he would be violating federal law and perhaps lousing up other investigations and prosecutions of other federal law enforcement offices. (No doubt some House Democrats would probably want Barr removed from office for recklessly releasing grand-jury information.) The guys who claim to be standing for the rule of law are demanding that the law be violated.

Separately, Nadler asks, “[Barr] declined to charge the president with obstruction in part because there was no underlying crime to obstruct. Did he discuss that conclusion with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — who, while a federal prosecutor, routinely charged individuals with obstruction without charging the underlying crime?”

Right in Barr’s letter, it says:

After reviewing the Special Counsel’s final report on these issues; consulting with Department officials, including the Office of Legal Counsel; and applying the principles of federal prosecution that guide our charging decisions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.

Nadler closes his op-ed with a perfectly cynical statement that “if President Trump’s behavior wasn’t criminal, then perhaps it should have been.” Nadler is demanding the immediate release of the report . . . and he’s already decided what he concludes from its findings.

Most Popular

Elections

Kamala Harris Runs for Queen

I’m going to let you in on a secret about the 2020 presidential contest: Unless unforeseen circumstances lead to a true wave election, the legislative stakes will be extremely low. The odds are heavily stacked against Democrats’ retaking the Senate, and that means that even if a Democrat wins the White House, ... Read More
Energy & Environment

The Climate Trap for Democrats

The more the climate debate changes, the more it stays the same. Polls show that the public is worried about climate change, but that doesn’t mean that it is any more ready to bear any burden or pay any price to combat it. If President Donald Trump claws his way to victory again in Pennsylvania and the ... Read More
Culture

What We’ve Learned about Jussie Smollett

It’s been a few weeks since March 26, when all charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and the actor declared that his version of events had been proven correct. How’s that going? Smollett’s celebrity defenders have gone quiet. His publicists and lawyers are dodging reporters. The @StandwithJussie ... Read More
Politics & Policy

But Why Is Guatemala Hungry?

I really, really don’t want to be on the “Nicolas Kristof Wrote Something Dumb” beat, but, Jiminy Cricket! Kristof has taken a trip to Guatemala, with a young woman from Arizona State University in tow. “My annual win-a-trip journey,” he writes. Reporting from Guatemala, he discovers that many ... Read More
White House

Sarah Sanders to Resign at End of June

Sarah Huckabee Sanders will resign from her position as White House press secretary at the end of the month, President Trump announced on Twitter Thursday afternoon. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1139263782142787585 Sanders, the daughter of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, succeeded Sean ... Read More
Politics & Policy

On Painting Air Force One

And so it has come to this. Two oil tankers were just attacked in the Gulf of Oman, presumably by Iran. The United States and China are facing off in a confrontation that is about far more than trade. The southern border remains anarchic and uncontrolled. And Congress is asking: “Can I get the icon in ... Read More