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WMU Cooley Law School Constitutional attorney looks at Mueller Report through a legal lens

Devin Schindler photo
Western Michigan University
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The Justice Department has released a redacted version of Special counsel Robert Mueller's report into Russian meddling in the 2016 Presidential election. WGVU talks with Constitutional attorney who has read the 448 page report.

“There is this tremendous sense particularly among the more conservative press, that this document somehow exonerates the president. Well, nothing could be further from the truth.”

Devin Schindler is professor of Constitutional Law and Assistant Dean at Western Michigan University’s Cooley Law School. He explains the report points to allegations of campaign finance violations and findings of “multiple links between Trump campaign officials and individuals tied to the Russian government and in some of those instances the campaign was receptive to the work being done by the Russians.”

“By my count there were over 100 connections between Russian operatives and the Trump campaign designed and intended to sway the election to President Trump and away from Hilary Clinton.”

The Special Counsel could not prove conspiracy or a quid pro quo; this for that. Schindler explains while the campaign and Russians were pulling in the same direction, the “quid”, the “quo” could not be established.

On the matter of Obstruction of Justice? “I find interesting at the very end of the second volume the discussion of Michael Cohen and of President Trump’s efforts to, how shall I say it, encourage Michael Cohen to be less than forthcoming. Again, not enough evidence to show pure obstruction, but certainly if you read those pages the president comes off not well.”

The report finds the president’s aids resisted following his orders to derail the investigation.

“Mueller made no findings, and specifically said, ‘We are unable to reach the judgment of whether or not the president committed Obstruction of Justice. This report however does not conclude the president committed a crime it also does not exonerate him. The point of this is this particular report, if read objectively, remains a millstone around the president’s neck in terms of his conduct, his behavior throughout the electoral cycle and beyond.”

Patrick Center, WGVU News.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.