White House counsel Emmet Flood derides Mueller report for failing to ‘comply’ with DOJ regulations – Washington Times
The criticism comes in an April 19 letter from White House counsel Emmet T. Flood, President Trump’s new point man for the Russia legal battles ahead. Mr. Flood also accused Mr. Mueller’s team of Democratic-donor prosecutors of being political and lashed out at former FBI Director James Comey.
It marked Mr. Flood’s first salvo against the Muller report and signals a tough White House stance against congressional Democrats who are reinvesting Russia and targeting President Trump’s businesses.
“The SCO Report suffers from an extraordinary legal defect: It quite deliberately fails to comply with the requirements of governing law,” Mr. Flood wrote to Attorney General William Barr in a hand-delivered letter.
Mr. Flood said 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,” said Mr. Flood, a veteran of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment.
Mr. Muller said he couldn’t conclude that “no criminal conduct occurred.” Mr. Flood said that is not a federal prosecutor’s job.
“In closing its investigation,” Mr. 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.”
“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.”
Conservatives believe Mr. Mueller’s staff leaked a letter to the news media in which the special counsel criticized Mr. Barr’s four-page outline of the final report. The leak came on the eve of Mr. Barr’s Senate testimony last Wednesday. Mr. Barr later released the entire 448-page report with relatively light redactions.
“With the release of the SCO Report, and despite all of the foregoing, the President has followed through on his consistent promise of transparency,” Mr. 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.”
“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,” Mr. 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.”
A Republican, Mr. Flood advised Mr. Clinton during impeachment and served as a special counsel to President George W. Bush.
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