Fact Check: Kamala Harris Falsely Claims Memo Only Reason Trump Wasn’t Indicted

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - JULY 31: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) (R) speaks during the Democratic Presidential Debate at the Fox Theatre July 31, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. 20 Democratic presidential candidates were split into two groups of 10 to take part in the debate sponsored by CNN held …
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Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) falsely claimed during Wednesday night’s contentious Democrat debatethat the Office of Legal Counsel’s memo is the only reason President Trump was not indicted for obstruction of justice.

“Just last month, you said if you were elected president, your Justice Department would ‘have no choice and should go forward with obstruction of justice charges against President Trump,'” Don Lemon said.

“Why is it OK for you to advocate the Justice Department to prosecute somebody but President Trump –not him?” he asked.

Harris claimed that she would “never direct the Justice Department to do whatever it believes it should do” and pivoted, bringing up former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recent testimony.

“We all watched his testimony. I read the report. There are ten clear incidents of obstruction of justice by this president, and he needs to be held accountable. I’ve seen people go to prison for far less,” she said before claiming that the OLC’s memo was the only reason that Trump was not indicted for obstruction of justice.

“The reality of it is we have a person in the White House right now who has been shielded by a memo in the United States Department of Justice that says a sitting president cannot be indicted,” Harris declared.

“I believe the American people are right to say there should be consequence and accountability for everyone – and no one is above the law – including the President of the United States,” she added.

Harris’s claim – that Trump was not indicted because of the OLC memo and the OLC memo alone – was debunked by Robert Mueller himself during last week’s hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.

The fake news could be attributed to Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), who asked Mueller during the hearing, “And I’d like to ask you the reason, again, that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of OLC opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?”

“That is correct,” Mueller stated.

However, Mueller corrected the record that same day. Emphasis added:

I want to add one correction to my testimony this morning. I wanted to go back to one thing that was said this morning by Mr. Lieu. It was said, and I quote, “you didn’t charge the president because of the OLC opinion.” That is not the correct way to say it. As we say in the report and as I said in the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.

Despite that, Harris’s campaign pounced on Mueller’s original quote:

Harris’s campaign eventually deleted the post, but it remains unclear why she repeated the false talking point on stage Wednesday night.


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