By Hans von Spakovsky | May 9, 2018
Those who claim that President Donald Trump is guilty of obstructing justice because he fired James Comey or because he asked Comey if he could go easy on Michael Flynn are way off base. And so is Robert Mueller if he is actually conducting such an investigation.
What none of these critics seem to understand is that under our Constitution, the executive power of the federal government is fully vested in the president. That includes the responsibility to ensure that “the Laws be faithfully executed.”
In other words, the president is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, not the attorney general or any of the other lawyers who work inside the Department of Justice, including special counsels appointed under Department of Justice regulations.
The doctrine of prosecutorial discretion, long recognized by the courts, holds that government prosecutors have almost unlimited authority to decide whether or not the facts and circumstances of a particular case warrant the opening of a criminal investigation and the prosecution of any individual.
Thus, the ultimate authority to decide whether to conduct an investigation and prosecution under federal law rests with the president. It doesn’t rest with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, or special counsel Robert Mueller.
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