The former special counsel’s testimony is not ultimately important for any bombshells or revelations but for initiating the long-belated creation of an Article I record of the president’s conduct.
David Priess is the Chief Operating Officer of the Lawfare Institute. He is a writer and speaker on the presidency, national security, and intelligence. He served during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations as a CIA officer, intelligence briefer, and as a State Department desk officer. His new book, "How To Get Rid of a President: History’s Guide to Removing Unpopular, Unable, or Unfit Chief Executives," conveys the stories of the many ways American presidents have left office. He is also the author of “The President’s Book of Secrets,” the first book about the top secret President’s Daily Brief and its recipients.
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A new Lawfare Institute e-book, "Reflections on the Mueller Report," is now available on Kindle.
Reactions to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s public appearance on Wednesday morning came swiftly, arriving on cable TV panels and social media platforms even before he finished his brief statement.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has concluded his investigation, and many questions remain. Chief among them is what animated Mueller’s decision not to reach a conclusion on possible obstruction of justice by the president. Why did he choose to follow Department of Justice policy prohibiting the indictment of a sitting president? Would he have indicted the president without that policy? Why did he seemingly leave it to Congress—and, perhaps inadvertently, to Attorney General William Barr—to make a final judgment on the president’s conduct?
Earlier this week, CIA Director Gina Haspel, FBI Director Christopher Wray, NSA Director Paul Nakasone, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Robert Ashley and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testified in an open hearing to the Senate intelligence committee about global threats to U.S. national security.
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Before Donald Trump secured the Republican Party nomination in the summer of 2016, Lawfare and others hosted articles expressing concern about the potential impact of a Trump presidency on national-security and law-enforcement institutions—often focusing on the dilemma of whether o