Former Federal Prosecutor: "The President Did Obstruct Justice, It's Just He Can't Be Charged With It Now"


Jennifer Rodgers, a former federal prosecutor who is now a legal analyst for CNN, told network anchor Brooke Baldwin on Monday that the "obstruction case against the president is an easily chargeable and easily provable case that would have been brought against anyone else."

Rodgers was one of nearly 400 former federal prosecutors who signed a letter reiterating that the Mueller report would have resulted in obstruction of justice charges for Trump, if not for DOJ regulations saying you can not indict a sitting president.

Rodgers said you "should know the takeaway is contrary to what the Attorney General is saying. This is an obstruction case. The president did obstruct justice. It’s just that he can’t be charged with it now."

"He can be charged after his term is over. He can be impeached by Congress because of it," she added. "But those crimes happened."

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN: A major breaking development involving the Mueller report from people who read the report with their own expert eyes. Nearly 400 former federal prosecutors have all signed this letter saying were it not for a policy not to indict a sitting president, President Trump would have been charged with obstruction of justice. Their letter outlines three specific categories of behavior the president committed, as detailed in the report.

-- The president's efforts to fire Mueller and to falsify evidence about that effort.

-- The president's efforts to limit the scope of Mueller's investigation to exclude his conduct.

-- The president's efforts to prevent witnesses from cooperating with investigators.

Joining me now, one of the people who signed the statement, CNN legal analyst Jennifer Rogers, a former federal prosecutor and a lecturer at Columbia law school. Why did you sign the letter?

JENNIFER ROGERS: I signed the letter because I want people to know what the Mueller report found. No one is reading it. All they're hearing is headlines and what Bill Barr says. This obstruction case is an easily chargeable and easily provable case that would have been brought against anyone else. That's what I think people should know.

BALDWIN: How did the letter come to you?

ROGERS: I got it from a former colleague from the Southern District of New York. It started making its way around through people who used to work at the Department of Justice. Now that it's public, I think a lot more people who hadn't had a chance to hear about it before will probably sign on.

BALDWIN: Who is signing the letter? Left, right, center, all of the above?

ROGERS: Everybody. I mean, certainly probably more Democrats than Republicans, I would say. But people who worked across all administrations, I think I read that it started Eisenhower, actually, and all the way up to very recent former federal prosecutors. Certainly, some prominent Republican names are in there.

BALDWIN: What do you want out of this?

ROGERS: I want people to understand what's going on. 440-some pages. Few people are going to sit down and absorb all of that. They should know the takeaway is contrary to what the attorney general is saying. This is an obstruction case. Anyone else would have been charged. The president did obstruct justice. It is just that he can't be charged with it now. He can be charged after his term is over. He could be impeached by Congress, but those crimes happened.

BALDWIN: I guess you want to educate the American public. It's a lot of complications that I'm going to guess not everyone has read, but do you want more than that?

ROGERS: Well, I want him to be held accountable.

BALDWIN: What does that mean?

ROGERS: I would like to see Congress investigate impeachment. I think they'll find high crimes and misdemeanors there. And if he leaves office in 2020 I would like to see him charged, actually. This is an easily provable case. The statute of limitations will run if he wins. If he doesn't, he should be charged and I think he will be charged.

BALDWIN: If Mueller testifies, do you think he would hint at this in his testimony?

ROGERS: It's hard to say. He's such a cipher in that way. I think what he will do and why his testimony would be valuable is again, people aren't really reading his report and absorbing it. He can get out there in the public eye and kind of soundbitey little snippets of information, what his report says. So the people can hear from his own mouth, here's what we found. We found an obstruction case on this count and this count. He won't reach the conclusions. He'll tell us what the conduct was and what it means in terms of legally available charges.

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