p. 178 – 181

Ascertaining Whether the President Violated the Obstruction Statutes Would Not Chill his Performance of his Article II Duties

  1. “Several safeguards would prevent a chilling effect: the existence of settled legal standards, the presumption of regularity in prosecutorial actions, and the existence of evidentiary limitations on probing the President’s motives.”
  2. “The President has no reason to be chilled in those actions because, in virtually all instances , there will be no credible basis for suspecting a corrupt personal motive.”

“Chill” here means afraid or discouraged from performing his legal functions out of fear of sanction

“In sum, contrary to the position taken by the President’s counsel, we concluded that, in light of the Supreme Court precedent governing separation-of-powers issues, we had a valid basis for investigating the conduct at issue in this report. In our view, the application of the obstruction statutes would not impermissibly burden the President’s performance of his Article II function to supervise prosecutorial conduct or to remove inferior law-enforcement officers. And the protection of the criminal justice system from corrupt acts by any person-including the President-accords with the fundamental principle of our government that ‘[n]o [person] in this country is so high that he is above the law.'”

 

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