In questioning Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the members of the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees carry a broader responsibility than Mueller did in carrying out his investigation into Russian election interference. In examining the factual findings of his report, the House must consider whether as president, Donald Trump abused his power or violated his oath of office. The House should do so regardless of its plans or ultimate decision on whether to pursue impeachment. While the narrow questions of criminal law — concerning conspiracy, obstruction, etc. — were properly the organizing principles for the Special Counsel’s investigation, they should not be the main focus for the House’s inquiries. As constitutional law scholars Charles Black and Laurence Tribe have both observed about impeachment: The commission of crimes by the president is neither necessary nor sufficient; an observation that also applies in determining that the president engaged in misconduct.
The above excerpt was originally published in Just Security.
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