Jared Golden’s “Unity of the country must come first” is a misleading and superficial piece of writing that does not properly address the full ramifications of the Mueller report. The most glaring weakness in the op-ed is Rep. Golden’s glossing over of the entire second volume of the report, which investigates whether the President committed obstruction of justice against the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and later the Special Counsel’s investigation.

If the last two impeachment proceedings of the modern era are any example, obstruction of justice does constitute an impeachable offense. Page 97, Volume II of the report details how the President’s efforts to get the Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the Special Counsel’s investigation to future election interference meet the three criteria for the crime of obstruction of justice: (1) an obstructive act that (2) was a nexus to an official proceeding (e.g. a grand jury investigation), committed with (3) corrupt intent. First, as stated on page 97, “the President’s directives indicate that Sessions was being instructed to tell the Special Counsel to end the existing investigation into the President and his campaign, with the Special Counsel being permitted to ‘move forward with investigating election meddling for future elections.” This would have been an obstructive act because it would have clearly limited the scope of the investigation. Second, again from page 97, “by the time of the President’s initial one-on-one meeting with Lewandowski on June 19, 2017, the existence of a grand jury investigation supervised by the Special Counsel was public knowledge”. Because a grand jury is an official proceeding, this is evidence of a nexus to an official proceeding. Third, again from page 97 on the question of corrupt intent, there is “Substantial evidence…that the President ‘s effort to have Sessions limit the scope of the Special Counsel’s investigation to future election interference was intended to prevent further investigative scrutiny of the President’s and his campaign’s conduct.”

When Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) walked through these three requirements during Robert Mueller’s Congressional testimony in the exact same manner that I have here, he stated the belief that “a reasonable person could conclude that at least three crimes of obstruction of justice by the President occurred,” referring to acts detailed later in the report involving former White House Counsel Don McGahn.

I’m the Chairman of the Phillips Planning Board. Like Rep. Golden, I took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. If he can look at all of this evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors and wave it away with paragraph upon paragraph of abstract pabulum about “national unity”, then he clearly didn’t mean it.

Peter Bourgelais, Phillips

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