We have a binary choice: John Katko either lied to the Post-Standard or he didn’t read the Mueller Report!

Robert Mueller introduces Volume II of his March 2019 Report describing limits of his investigation: (1) the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) says he is not permitted to indict a sitting president because it would undermine his ability to perform his constitutional role, (2) it is permissible to pursue a criminal investigation of the president, because he may be indicted after he leaves office, (3) “we determined not to apply an approach that could potentially result in a judgment that the President committed crimes,” because the President might not have a venue to right his name and (4) if we found that the President did not commit obstruction of justice, “we would so state,” but “we are unable to reach that judgment.” “Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

So, our 24th District congressman, John Katko, tells the Post-Standard he read the report, he had prosecuted obstruction of justice cases, and he knew Robert Mueller. Then, he concludes, incredibly, that “if Mueller had found clear cut evidence of obstruction he would have said so in the report.” He added that he knew Mueller and “he’s not a guy that would walk away from a fight.” That’s right after he read why Mr. Mueller explained why he could not do that under DOJ guidelines.

You’re thinking, maybe Mr. Katko doesn’t understand those things? Before he ran for Congress, John Katko was not a dentist. He was a lawyer, a government prosecutor, an employee of the United States Department of Justice. He knows the purpose of the OLC; he knows Mueller’s constraints, but he is unwilling to concede them. No, it's worse than that. Where Mueller says the report does not exonerate the president, Katko says it does. Unless he skipped the introduction or doesn’t remember the OLC, he was not truthful in his description of the Mueller Report to the paper.

Mr. Mueller did not have a binary choice. He was committed to following established DOJ rules and investigated the president but left the rest of the work to Congress. Mr. Katko depends on us not reading the report or not caring whether the president committed crimes of conspiracy or obstruction.

Mr. Katko should be ashamed.

Harris Lindenfeld


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