Prosecutors working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded last year that they had sufficient evidence to seek criminal charges against President Donald Trump for obstruction of justice over the president’s alleged pressuring of then FBI Director James Comey in February 2017 to shut down an FBI investigation of the president’s then national security adviser, Michael Flynn.Not a surprise.
Privately, the two prosecutors, who were then employed in the special counsel’s office, told other Justice Department officials that had it not been for the unique nature of the case—the investigation of a sitting president of the United States, and one who tried to use the powers of his office to thwart and even close down the special counsel’s investigation—they would have advocated that he face federal criminal charges. I learned of the conclusions of the two former Mueller prosecutors not by any leak, either from them personally or from the office of special counsel. Rather, the two prosecutors disclosed this information in then-confidential conversations with two other federal law enforcement officials, who subsequently recounted what they were told to me.
Independently of the Mueller report, confidential White House records that I have been able to review, as well as correspondence between the president’s attorneys and the special counsel already made public, demonstrate that the president and his attorneys considered Trump’s alleged attempt to shut down the Flynn inquiry to be the most direct threat to Trump’s presidency.
In the course of such cases, prosecutors and FBI agents working for Mueller often interacted with their peers in US attorneys’ offices around the country and in the DOJ’s Criminal Division and Public Integrity Section. Some of Mueller’s prosecutors, who had been detailed from other Justice Department offices, have since returned to their previous jobs or taken new positions in the department. The special counsel’s office was thus less sequestered than is generally believed.
It was against this backdrop that prosecutors working for the special counsel spoke to their peers in the Justice Department. That is how I learned what, in particular, the two Mueller prosecutors had to say about the Flynn investigation. Two people present during one such conversation provided me with detailed and consistent accounts of what the special counsel’s two prosecutors had said to them. A third person present corroborated that the conversation took place but declined to provide details of what was said.
One person who spoke to me reported grappling with the issue of what could be considered a breach of their colleagues’ confidence. But in part because of what they regarded as Attorney General Barr’s misrepresentations of the Mueller report, they believed it was important for the public and Congress to know what Mueller’s prosecutors had themselves privately concluded: that a charge of obstruction of justice was indeed merited by Trump’s actions in the Flynn matter.
Neither is Barr's blatantly corrupt behavior: He has been covering up for Republican criminals since Iran-Contra.