Special counsel Robert Mueller could have a tough time making an obstruction of justice case stick against PresidentTrump, according to legal analysts, who said he will have to overcome a number of “unique hurdles” — not the least of which is a decades-old Justice Department ruling that a sitting president can’t be charged.
Analysts say it will be up to Mr. Mueller to decide whether to accept the long-standing opinion of the Office of Legal Counsel, which ruled in 1973 and again in 2000 that a president has immunity from criminal prosecution.
It’s also not clear that FBI investigations count as “proceedings” that could be obstructed under one of the legal statutes that might be cited in an obstruction case, according to a legal memo prepared last month by the Congressional Research Service.
“Courts have not reached consensus on whether an FBI investigation meets this standard,” the report says of 18 U.S.C. 1505, which applies generally to obstruction of administrative proceedings.