Statement from co-founders and additional members of Checks & Balances:
The release of the Special Counsel’s report is a significant milestone in the civic life of the country. As attorneys who believe in the Constitution, the rule of law, and the importance of truth, we believe the report raises issues that all Americans, and especially those in public life — regardless of political affiliation — must consider seriously.
We are grateful for the service of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the team of prosecutors and investigators who worked tirelessly for 22 months to conduct the most important national security investigation in a generation: the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, whether any Americans were part of those activities, and related matters. The Special Counsel team conducted itself professionally and in the highest traditions of the Justice Department.
The Special Counsel’s extensive investigation revealed, and the report released April 18th further confirmed, that there was a persistent effort by the Russian government to affect the 2016 U.S. election. U.S. intelligence community officials have continued to state publicly that these efforts continued through the 2018 midterm elections and remain a threat. Free and fair elections, without foreign interference, are at the heart of a healthy democracy. We call on the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General to ensure that the agencies under their guidance, supervision and direction have their full support and resources to address the ongoing national security threat presented by foreign interference in U.S. democratic institutions and processes. We call on Congress to conduct robust, bipartisan oversight to ensure that the threats posed by ongoing foreign malign activities are addressed as matters of the highest priority as we increasingly near the 2020 election.
The report further revealed a pattern of behavior that is starkly inconsistent with the President’s constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” The Special Counsel’s investigation was conducted lawfully, and under longstanding Attorney General guidelines. The facts contained in the report reveal that the President engaged in persistent conduct intended to derail, undermine and obstruct ongoing federal investigations. In light of the longstanding Department of Justice legal opinion that a sitting President cannot be indicted, we view it as irrelevant whether there is a prosecutorial recommendation that the crime of obstruction has been committed. Instead, we believe that the President’s conduct demonstrates a flagrant disregard for the rule of law — a disregard that is in direct conflict with his constitutional responsibilities, including his commitment under oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Information in the report also reveals that the President is willing to abuse presidential authority to pressure or remove Senate-confirmed officials for purposes that undermine lawful functioning of government and to direct subordinates to falsify the record on matters he knew were or likely were under investigation. The report’s details add to an existing body of information already in the public domain documenting the President’s violations of his oath, including but not limited to his denigration of the free press, verbal attacks on members of the judiciary, encouragement of law enforcement officers to violate the law, and incessant lying to the American people. We believe the framers of the Constitution would have viewed the totality of this conduct as evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors. Accordingly, Congress, which carries its own constitutional oversight responsibilities, should conduct further investigation.
Jonathan H. Adler
Donald B. Ayer
John B. Bellinger, III
George T. Conway, III
Carrie F. Cordero
Stuart M. Gerson
Peter D. Keisler
Marisa C. Maleck
Alan Charles Raul
Each of us speaks and acts solely in our individual capacities, and our views should not be attributed to any organization we may be affiliated with.