What is Obstruction of Justice? Should we repeal it now?

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Obstruction of justice - Wikipedia

Legal overview[edit]

Generally, obstruction charges are laid when it is discovered that a person questioned in an investigation, other than a suspect, has lied to the investigating officers. However, in most common law jurisdictions, the right to remain silent can be used to allow any person questioned by police merely to deny answering questions posed by an investigator without giving any reason for doing so. (In such a case, the investigators may subpoena the witness to give testimony under oath in court, though the witness may then exercise their rights, for example in the Fifth Amendment, if they believe their answer may serve to incriminate themselves.) If the person willfully and knowingly tried to protect a suspect (such as by providing a false alibi) or to hide from investigation of their own activities (such as to hide their involvement in another crime), this may leave them liable to prosecution. Obstruction charges can also be laid if a person alters, destroys, or conceals physical evidence.[1] Obstruction charges may also be laid in unique situations such as refusal to aid a police officer, escape through voluntary action of an officer and refusing to assist prison officers in arresting escaped convicts.

Obstruction can include crimes committed by judges, prosecutors, attorneys general, and elected officials in general. It is misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance in the conduct of the office. Most commonly it is prosecuted as a crime for perjury by a non governmental official primarily because of prosecutorial discretion.
Notable examples[edit]

  • Bill Clinton was impeached by the United States House of Representatives in 1998 for obstruction of justice charges based on allegations Clinton lied about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky in a sworn deposition in the Paula Jones lawsuit. This made Clinton only the second U.S. president to be impeached after Andrew Johnson. He was later acquitted by the Senate.
  • Richard Nixon was being investigated for obstruction of justice for his alleged role in the cover-up of the break-in at the Watergate hotel during his re-election campaign in 1972. Although it is unknown whether Nixon had foreknowledge of his re-election committee's "dirty tricks" campaign against Democratic presidential candidates that led to the break-in, he was aware of it after the fact and paid money to keep the participants quiet.
  • Former Vice-Presidential adviser I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice in March 2007 for his role in the investigation of a leak to reporters by Richard Armitage of the identity of a CIA agent, Valerie Plame. His prison sentence was commuted by President George W. Bush in July 2007, so that Libby was no longer required to serve a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence, but was still required to pay a $250,000 fine, be recorded as a convicted felon, obey probation terms, and be disbarred. Donald Trump pardoned Libby on April 13, 2018.
  • Conrad Black was convicted of obstruction of justice in July 2007[2] for removing 13 boxes containing financial records from his office in Toronto after they had been sealed by a court order, returning the boxes a few days later.
  • Barry Bonds was convicted of obstruction of justice on April 13, 2011 for his testimony in front of the grand jury during the BALCO steroid scandal.[3] The conviction was later overturned by an appellate court.[4]
  • In United States v. Binion, malingering (feigning illness) during a competency evaluation was held to be obstruction of justice and led to an enhanced sentence.[5]
Trump supporters acknowledge that Trump lies regularly. In Mueller's report, it details lies, as well as Trump's efforts against Mueller and others, including firing and replacing DOJ types with more friendly ones. Since ALL of that is not obstruction now, should that law be repealed? It's a real question. There is no point in a law that Republicans or Democrats get to selectively apply against the other team. And there is no point in a law that effects every day people, but wealthy or connected people, with stronger attorneys will never be subject to. The law should be the same for all of us.
 
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Obstruction of justice requires a crime that is being obstructed from seeing justice.

It's similar to "resisting arrest", you can't be arrested for resisting arrest if there was not first a crime for which the arrest was being resisted.
 
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Obstruction of justice - Wikipedia





Trump supporters acknowledge that Trump lies regularly. In Mueller's report, it details lies, as well as Trump's efforts against Mueller and others, including firing and replacing DOJ types with more friendly ones. Since ALL of that is not obstruction now, should that law be repealed? It's a real question. There is no point in a law that Republicans or Democrats get to selectively apply against the other team. And there is no point in a law that effects every day people, but wealthy or connected people, with stronger attorneys will never be subject to. The law should be the same for all of us.
It's a pretty standard/reasonable law. (Obstruction of Justice.)

If prosecutors (either state or federal) have ample evidence to support a conviction they should certainly pursue the case.

Am guessing charges have not yet been filed against Donald Trump because there is not sufficient evidence to make a conviction probable. That could change. (But the question does remain as to whether the government would have to wait until after Trump has left office before those charges could be filed.)





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Lunchboxxy

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It's a pretty standard/reasonable law. (Obstruction of Justice.)

If prosecutors (either state or federal) have ample evidence to support a conviction they should certainly pursue the case.

Am guessing charges have not yet been filed against Donald Trump because there is not sufficient evidence to make a conviction probable. That could change. (But the question does remain as to whether the government would have to wait until after Trump has left office before those charges could be filed.)

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That is incorrect. Charges have no been filed against Donald Trump because the DOJ policy is not to indict a sitting president. That is what mueller said in his report. That is why he referred the matter to congress. There is sufficient evidence that Trump obstructed justice and had corrupt intent. Congress are the only people who can do anything about it as long as DOJ policy stands

Here is what Mueller said when referring to congress

The conclusion that Congress may apply obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.
 
Jan 2019
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It's a pretty standard/reasonable law. (Obstruction of Justice.)

If prosecutors (either state or federal) have ample evidence to support a conviction they should certainly pursue the case.

Am guessing charges have not yet been filed against Donald Trump because there is not sufficient evidence to make a conviction probable. That could change. (But the question does remain as to whether the government would have to wait until after Trump has left office before those charges could be filed.)





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It is not "insufficient evidence". It is ZERO evidence! For one to obstruct, one needs to have a CRIME to hide in the 1st place! Since he committed NO crime whatsoever, was exonerated on "collusion", NOBODY in his campaign was even charged thusly, impossible to obstruct something that simply literally never existed. :cool:
 
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Feb 2010
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That is incorrect. Charges have no been filed against Donald Trump because the DOJ policy is not to indict a sitting president. That is what mueller said in his report. That is why he referred the matter to congress. There is sufficient evidence that Trump obstructed justice and had corrupt intent. Congress are the only people who can do anything about it as long as DOJ policy stands

Here is what Mueller said when referring to congress

Not seeing how your quote from the Mueller report validates your claim of Mueller's conclusions.

Am fine with him telling Congress to "have at it". But your "statement of fact" seems to imply that Mueller viewed himself as powerless. Don't believe that was the case.




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