Lawyers for Good Government: Congress and the American people must prevent interference with the Special Counsel investigation
As an organization of more than 125,000 attorneys across the country, we (Lawyers for Good Government) are deeply concerned by recent reports that President Trump is considering firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and/or Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
If President Trump fires Rosenstein or Mueller, or takes other actions to obstruct their investigation, Congress and the American people must take immediate action to protect the rule of law and preserve our democracy.
As lawyers, we have sworn to uphold the rule of law, a key ideal on which American democracy is based. Upholding this ideal means that no one - not even the most powerful individual in our government - is above the law.
Any attempt by President Trump to interfere with or terminate the Special Counsel’s investigation would be contrary to the rule of law. It must be strongly opposed by Congress and by the American people.
If we allow the rule of law to break down, we risk becoming an autocracy (a country governed by one person with absolute power) instead of a democracy.
America was never meant to be, nor can it be allowed to become, an autocracy.
This week, we learned that President Trump considered firing Robert Mueller in December of 2017, after bank records relating to a bank Trump had used for his businesses were reportedly subpoenaed. Also this week, following a referral by Mueller, the F.B.I. searched the offices and residence of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s private attorney (who is now himself under criminal investigation).
As reported, President Trump was incensed by these actions, mischaracterizing the lawful investigation as a “witch hunt.” He has decided, in response, not to speak with Mueller or his team to further the investigation.
The President’s emotional responses, however, have no bearing on the legitimacy of the investigation. His concerns about potential harm to himself and his associates are not a legitimate reason to terminate an investigation into a suspected attack on our nation’s electoral system.
While President Trump seems to believe he is above the law, he is not.
There is no legitimate reason to fire Mueller or Rosenstein, or to interfere with the investigation.
A few so-called “legal experts” have recently claimed that the President has the right to fire Mueller and/or interfere with the investigation for any reason.
They’re wrong. When it comes to obstruction of justice, motives matter.
Under DOJ regulations, only the Attorney General (or, since the Attorney General has recused himself, the Deputy Attorney General) can fire a special counsel. Even in that case, the special counsel may only be fired for good cause - and there is no evidence of any such “good cause.”
Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein has rightly indicated that he won’t fire Mueller without good cause, leading to speculation that Trump may fire Rosenstein just to replace him with someone who would fire Mueller.
President Trump cannot be allowed to fire Rosenstein (or Mueller) solely to protect the President’s personal interests. Allowing the President to abuse his authority in this way would be an immediate threat to our democracy.
The future of our democracy is at stake. Each of us must fight to protect it.
We urge every American to:
- Demand that your members of Congress protect the Special Counsel’s office, including preserving its files and staff and ensuring it receives the full cooperation of federal government law enforcement.
- Demand that Congress create a modern-day version of the Senate Select Watergate Committee to investigate all matters involved in the Russia scandals as well as the President’s alleged abuse of power and obstruction of justice.
- Demand bipartisan hearings in the House Judiciary Committee on obstruction of justice and abuse of power.
- Peacefully assemble to support our government and the investigation. Visit this page to find an event near you.
Lawyers for Good Government (“L4GG”) is an organization of more than 125,000 lawyers, formed in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. Our mission is to protect and strengthen democratic institutions, resist abuse of power, and defend the rights of those who suffer in the absence of good government. To learn more or to support our work, visit www.lawyersforgoodgovernment.org.