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December 9, 2020 51 min

Part A of this subsection of Volume 2 provides legal background of the obstruction-of-justice statute most readily applicable to the Special Counsel's investigation: Section 1512(c)(2) of 18 U.S.C. Part B explores how constitutional tension is reconciled through separation-of-powers analysis when the President's official actions come into conflict with the prohibitions in the obstruction-of-justice statutes.

This episode covers pages 159-182 of Volume 2 from the "Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election."

III. Legal Defenses to the Application of Obstruction-of-Justice Statutes to the President (1:14)

A. Statutory Defenses to the Application of Obstruction-Of-Justice Provisions to the Conduct Under Investigation (3:27)

  • The Text of Section 1512(c)(2) Prohibits a Broad Range of Obstructive Acts (5:25)
  • Judicial Decisions Support a Broad Reading of Section 1512(c)(2) (8:45)
  • The Legislative History of Section 1512(c)(2) Does Not Justify Narrowing Its Text (12:58)
  • General Principles of Statutory Construction Do Not Suggest That Section 1512(c)(2) is Inapplicable to the Conduct in this Investigation (16:16)
  • Other Obstruction Statutes Might Apply to the Conduct in this Investigation (20:29)
  • B. Constitutional Defenses to Applying Obstruction-Of-Justice Statutes to Presidential Conduct (22:03)

  • The Requirement of a Clear Statement to Apply Statutes to Presidential Conduct Does Not Limit the Obstruction Statutes (23:49)
  • Separation-of-Powers Principles Support the Conclusion that Congress May Validly Prohibit Corrupt Obstructive Acts Carried Out Through the President's Official Powers (29:23)
  • Ascertaining Whether the President Violated the Obstruction Statutes Would Not Chill his Performance of his Article II Duties (43:53)

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