Attorney General and Muller

I believe this question has a factual answer but if mods deem it more appropriate for another forum, so bit.

Is there anything stopping the Acting AG (or actual AG) from ordering Muller to tell them everything he has and then picking up the phone and turning that information over to Trump?

If not, I can see Whitaker doing just that and then resigning under the backlash that is sure to follow. Then Trump can then appoint a permanent AG who starts with a clean slate. You know, just like the mob whacks the hitman once his job is done.

Edit: He wouldn’t even have to resign, come to think of it. Simply stay until a new AG is confirmed.

IANAL but my understanding is no there is not. In fact there is nothing from stopping him telling Mueller to stop investigating the president, or just firing him.

In response, could Congress launch their own investigation independent of the Executive branch?

Both Houses of Congress have already been doing that (for certain definitions of doing that) from the beginning, and those investigations will continue into the new term in January.

So there has been a lot of talk about President Trump committing obstruction of justice for firing FBI Director Comey.

Could the AG or acting AG be guilty of obstruction of justice for firing Special Counsel Mueller? For leaking information to President Trump or his representatives?

I suspect the answer is that if the HoR chooses, it could impeach the President, AG or asst AG on Obstruction of Justice and let the Senate decide. Assuming a conviction then the investigation could be started up by whoever replaces the removed officer

That’s true, given that in am impeachment, the definition of the offense and the standard of proof is whatever Congress says it is. It’s important to remember that impeachment is not a criminal process and criminal procedure does not apply.

It is certainly possible that the AG could be guilty of (criminal) obstruction of justice for firing Mueller if one can prove that he did so with corrupt intent. Proving intent is always tricky.

Firing Mueller wouldn’t do anything to stop that then; if anything it might toss fuel on those fires I’d expect. At the very least it’s not as simple as, “Fire Mueller, now I’m in the clear!”

A lot of people suspect the idea is to not technically fire Mueller, but just hamstring him by cutting funding, to avoid the appearance of anything wrong. He only has to give his report to the AG, and the AG can refuse to release it. And, yeah, he just waits.

However, it is my understanding that the House, as part of its investigative powers, could simply subpoena Mueller and tell him to reveal what was in the report–or even possibly subpoena the report directly, and then release it. What I’m unsure of is how much it could be redacted.

There’s also going outside the law, but with Wikileaks compromised, I’m not sure how they’d get a leak out there properly. But some suspect that Mueller is continuing to use the indictments themselves to give the report, since they have to be released to the public. Only “ongoing investigations” can be redacted in those, AFAIK.

Precisely. The House intelligence committee has been happy so far to keep its “investigation” very superficial; that will change when the committee leadership changes hands after the new year. The Senate, though still controlled by the GOP, has been much more circumspect in their investigations, and is sitting on top of a truckload of classified testimony and sealed evidence, at least some of which they are keeping secret at the DOJ’s request.

As much as hardline GOP partisans in Congress have sought to lessen the impact of the investigations, and have been happy to stand around twiddling their thumbs while Mueller is bashed in the conservative press, the leadership has made it clear to the White House that doing anything to actually interfere with the investigation is a Big Red Line.

If a congressional committee subpoenaed Mueller, could the (acting) AG forbid him to testify, citing executive privilege?