White House counsel hits Mueller report as unlawful; Comey leaks ‘should frighten’

by WorldTribune Staff, May 5, 2019

President Donald Trump’s new point man on the Russia probe slammed the Mueller report for its failure to comply with the “requirements of governing law.”

White House counsel Emmet T. Flood said the report reads more like a law student’s exam paper and he also was highly critical of former FBI Director James Comey for leaking to The New York Times his memos on his meetings with Trump with the aim of causing a special counsel appointment.

White House counsel Emmet T. Flood

“Not so long ago, the idea that a law enforcement official might provide the press with confidential governmental information for the proclaimed purpose of prompting a criminal investigation of an identified individual would have troubled Americans of all political persuasions,” Flood said. “That the head of our country’s top law enforcement agency has actually done so to the President of the United States should frighten every friend of individual liberty.”

Flood is going on the offensive for the Trump administration as congressional Democrats are reinvesting in the Russia probe.

“The SCO Report suffers from an extraordinary legal defect: It quite deliberately fails to comply with the requirements of governing law,” Flood wrote to Attorney General William Barr in a hand-delivered letter.

Flood noted that Justice Department regulation calls for the special counsel to do one of two tasks: prosecute or decline.

“The SCO instead produced a prosecutorial curiosity — part ‘truth commission’ report and part law school exam paper,” Flood said.

In his report, Muller said he couldn’t conclude that “no criminal conduct occurred.” Flood said that is not a federal prosecutor’s job.

“In closing its investigation,” Flood said, quoting the regulation, “the SCO had only one job to ‘provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel.’ Yet the one thing the SCO was obligated to do is the very thing the SCO — intentionally and unapologetically — refused to do.”

Flood said Mueller’s staff politicized the report when they wrote they couldn’t “exonerate” Trump.

“The SCO’s inverted-proof standard and ‘exoneration’ statements can be understood only as political statements, issuing from persons (federal prosecutors) who in our system of government are rightly expected never to be political in the performance of their duties,” he said. “The inverted burden of proof knowingly embedded in the SCO’s conclusion shows that the Special Counsel and his staff failed in their duty to act as prosecutors and only as prosecutors.”

Flood noted that Trump made his entire White House staff available for Mueller’s questions.

“With the release of the SCO Report, and despite all of the foregoing, the President has followed through on his consistent promise of transparency,” Flood said. “He encouraged every White House staffer to cooperate fully with the SCO and, so far as we are aware, all have done so. Voluntary interviewees included the Counsel to the President, two Chiefs of Staff, the Press Secretary and numerous others. In addition, approximately 1.4 million pages of documents were provided to the SCO.”

Flood said that the White House could invoke executive privilege in dealing with Democrats’ continued demands for witnesses and documents.

Flood was a partner in the high-powered Williams & Connolly law firm before taking the temporary post of acting-White House counsel in 2018 with the departure of Don McGahn, Rowan Scarborough reported for The Washington Times.

Flood also advised President Bill Clinton during impeachment and served as a special counsel to President George W. Bush.

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