Can Mueller Arrest Trump?

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating President Donald Trump since the day after his inauguration in January 2017. The special counsel has reportedly indicted more than 20 individuals, including top Trump administration officials, and has filed charges against four companies. More importantly, Mueller has obtained several guilty pleas from Trump associates. 

The indictment of 13 Russians in February 2018 gave rise to speculation that Trump might eventually face prison time. The president has denied any wrongdoing, saying there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia. Nevertheless, Mueller continues to investigate Trump and his administration, and the president himself has openly attacked Mueller in recent months.

Can Mueller Indict Trump?

There is no question that Mueller can indict Trump. The special counsel has submitted an extensive brief to the court, in which he outlines the nature of his investigation and legal grounds for issuing charges against the president. 

Indicting Trump is not a foregone conclusion, however. Mueller must convince a federal judge that there is sufficient evidence to issue an indictment. This is a high legal bar. It is not sufficient for the special counsel to simply allege that the president has committed a crime. Rather, Mueller needs to prove it.

In theory, anyone associated with Trump’s campaign could be charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. This is a very broad allegation and could include even individuals who did not participate in the campaign. It is also possible that the special counsel could bring charges against Trump himself, based on the findings of Mueller’s investigation. 

Will Trump Be Arrested?

If Mueller arrests Trump, it will not be the first time that a serving president has faced charges. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all had to deal with the federal government’s legal system. 

Clinton was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice after his testimony in the Jones v. Clinton case. He was found not guilty, but the jury that judged his testimony did not consist entirely of federal employees. 

Bush was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice in the prosecution of Vice President Abd al-Basir al-Rajhi. This occurred during the administration of President George W. Bush, and not only did Bush have to testify in court, but he also saw many of his aides and aides testify against him. As with the other two presidents, neither Bush nor Trump have been convicted of a crime, but the special counsel has made it clear to the White House that it is a legal possibility. 

Obama was also investigated by Mueller. The special counsel obtained an indictment against several of Obama’s aides and associates, but the president himself was not a target of the investigation. (Obama was ultimately acquitted of all charges in his criminal case after a long and divisive trial.) 

Arresting Trump is one of the highest priorities of the special counsel’s office. The possibility that the president may have committed a crime remains a serious one. Nevertheless, the special counsel still has a long list of Trump associates and campaign officials to investigate. Furthermore, the investigation continues to grow, and more people may be charged in the coming months. 

What Will Happen To The Trump Administration?

After Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, the special counsel began investigating the president and his administration. Trump has openly attacked the investigation, calling it a “witch hunt.” Nevertheless, the evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia continues to mount. 

Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI and is now cooperating with Mueller’s investigation. Flynn’s plea deal puts him at odds with his former boss, the president. If Flynn testifies against Trump, the odds of the president’s imprisonment rise dramatically. 

Flynn’s guilty plea was just one of several indications that the Trump administration is deeply embroiled in the Russia investigation. Prosecutors have also sought to revoke the security clearance of Kevin McAleenan, the former head of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Another top Trump official, Rob Porter, was accused of domestic abuse by his two ex-wives. Several other White House aides have had their clearances temporarily revoked by the White House security clearance committee. This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as legal woes go for Trump and his administration.

Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani has suggested that the president may fire Mueller or order the special counsel’s staff to hide evidence. These suggestions are hardly reassuring for those who consider themselves the president’s allies or members of his administration. 

What Will Happen To Trump Himself?

If Trump’s legal troubles continue to mount, the president himself could face charges. In fact, the special counsel submitted a sentencing memorandum to the court in December 2018, in which he argued for a significant prison sentence for the president. The memorandum described several actions that Trump had taken as president that could be considered crimes. These included obstruction of justice, solicitation of campaign finance fraud, and conspiracy to defraud the United States. 

The memo does not conclude that the president should be charged with a crime. Rather, it is more of a status report, in which the special counsel lays out the evidence against Trump and his associates. The special counsel’s office is also seeking a court order that would bar the president from ever running for public office or appointing anyone to be his attorney. Regardless of whether you believe that Trump committed any crimes, the special counsel has an uphill battle in front of him. 

Could Mueller Testify About The Investigation?

The other topic of intense interest is the special counsel’s investigative strategy. It is clear that Mueller is seeking to indict Trump and his campaign, and several of the president’s most loyal aides. It is less clear whether or not Mueller will follow the evidence where it leads, or if he will choose to investigate others, such as Trump’s family members and close friends. 

Since assuming office, the president has openly attacked the investigation, saying it is a “witch hunt” and a “hoax.” In March 2018, the president tweeted: “The Mueller probe is a disaster for our country. Hopefully, our courts will see fit to give us a final verdict on this ridiculous hoax.” (Tweet: “The Mueller probe is a disaster for our country. Hopefully, our courts will see fit to give us a final verdict on this ridiculous hoax.”) 

Trump continues to claim that there was no collusion and that the investigation is a “witch hunt.” Nevertheless, the special counsel has indicted or pleaded guilty to charges against several of Trump’s closest associates. This includes four former campaign officials, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Cohen, and George Papadopoulos. (George Papadopoulos was the first person to be sentenced in Mueller’s investigation. He served 14 days of a two-week prison term in February 2018.)

In all likelihood, Trump will continue to attack Mueller in the coming months. The special counsel still has several more cases to bring against the president and his associates, and the prospect of prison time looms large for the president. Nevertheless, few people know the Mueller investigation like he does, and it is highly unlikely that Trump will be able to dismiss Mueller or silence him. (If anything, the opposite may happen, and Trump may end up thanking the special counsel for publicly accusing him of crimes.)