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Kamala Harris would bring criminal charges against Trump if elected

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California senator and presidential candidate Kamala Harris said in a recent interview with NPR that the Department of Justice under her hypothetical administration “would have no choice” but to bring criminal charges for obstruction of justice against President Donald Trump.

“I mean look, people might, you know, question why I became a prosecutor. Well, I’ll tell you one of the reasons — I believe there should be accountability. Everyone should be held accountable, and the president is not above the law,” Harris, who previously served as California’s attorney general and the district attorney for San Francisco, explained to NPR.

On April 18, the Department of Justice released a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report from his nearly two-year-long investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump obstructed justice.

On the issue of obstruction, the Mueller report said that, in many cases, Trump failed in his efforts to impede the Mueller probe and other federal investigations because his own aides chose not to follow through with his requests.

Read more: Nixon’s ex-White House counsel John Dean laid out 6 striking parallels between the Mueller report and the Watergate investigation

The Mueller report listed 11 separate instances the special counsel examined for possible obstruction by Trump. Those include his firing of FBI Director James Comey in May 2017, his attempts to fire Mueller himself, who was appointed after Comey’s dismissal, and signaling that he would be open to pardoning former aides Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen.

The report said, however, that the office could not come to a “traditional prosecutorial decision” as to whether Trump obstructed justice, citing “difficult issues of law in fact,” citing prevailing DOJ policy which advises that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

Harris’ comments come as a fervor for impeaching Trump is surging among House Democrats. While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is approaching the topic of impeachment with caution, 60 members of her caucus have gone on the record as supporting an impeachment inquiry

The push for impeachment has only intensified as the Trump administration ramped up its stonewalling of Congress’ attempts to investigate Trump since the report’s release, including ordering former White House aides like Hope Hicks, former White House counsel Don McGahn, and his chief of staff Annie Donaldson not to comply with congressional subpoenas.

Read more: Here are all the congressional Democrats and 2020 presidential candidates who want to impeach Trump

In a surprise May 29 press conference at the DOJ, Mueller announced his formal resignation and re-iterated the report’s conclusions, saying, “if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”

Harris told NPR that “we should believe Bob Mueller when he tells us essentially that the only reason an indictment was not returned is because of a memo in the Department of Justice that suggests you cannot indict a sitting president, adding that she’d seen “prosecution of cases on much less evidence.”

While Harris’ call to indict Trump may energize Democrats who want to see legal action taken against the president, some commentators said Harris’ remarks were “inappropriate.”

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