Civics Class: Grand Juries

Little Kremlin-on-the-Potomac

Putin Rides Again
(credit: The Art of Buddy McCue via Scissorhead B-4)

Our Civics lesson today is on Grand Juries, and this should give us a bit of hope in the (likely?) event that The Russian Usurper decides to machinate a way to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating the Little Kremlin-on-the-Potomac.

Take it away, Tiger Beat:

Trump Can Fire Mueller, But Not a Grand Jury

“The president can’t shut down the Russia investigation, even if he gets rid of the special counsel.”

And then they go on to tell us the legal stuff to back up this assertion:

“We ordinarily think of a grand jury as a “decider of fact,” similar to a trial jury. But a grand jury is actually an investigatory body independent of the prosecutor. The grand jury here could continue its work even past the potential dismissal of Mueller and his entire staff, and indeed could draft indictments of senior White House officials or key staff of the 2016 Trump campaign.

“Trump can fire Mueller, but he can’t fire the grand jury.

“Under the federal rules of criminal procedure, a grand jury is empaneled by a judge and can be discharged only by that judge (or another judge, in case the empaneling judge is removed from the case or is no longer on the bench). Ordinarily, a judge’s decision to discharge a grand jury is ministerial, because the prosecutor defines the grand jury’s “scope of work” – the prosecutor asks the grand jury to issue indictments on particular charges, and the grand jury either does so or doesn’t (though it almost always does, in run-of-the-mill cases). When the grand jury has decided on the charges proposed by the prosecutor, the judge discharges the grand jury.”

Judge Beryl Howell would become the star of  the Little Kremlin-on-the-Potomac investigation , and could order the grand jury to continue working, even without a Special Counsel. And one should note that Judge Howell was appointed by the Kenyan Usurper, er, President Obama.

A term comes up in the Politico piece I had not heard fore, Runaway Grand Jury:

“If she permits the grand jury to continue, she will hardly be acting without precedent. When America’s founders wrote the Constitution, and for 150 years thereafter, it was not uncommon for so-called runaway grand juries to go beyond the prosecutor’s “instructions” in issuing indictments. These runaway grand juries became virtually extinct after the 1930s, when a new law required a prosecutor’s signature before an indictment can be issued.

“A runaway jury in the modern era, in a case with these stakes, would put us in uncharted territory. But again: Nothing in the Constitution, or in any statute or rule, would prevent that grand jury from continuing to work or from issuing a report detailing its findings. The requirement that indictments bear a prosecutor’s signature would prevent the grand jury from issuing indictments on its own – but it would be legally possible, albeit wholly unorthodox, for a federal prosecutor other than Mueller (say, any of the nation’s 93 United States attorneys, whether motivated by conscience or ambition) to sign and file an indictment prepared by Howell’s grand jury.”

So a grand jury could issue a report on its findings and prepare an indictment(s) and then find one U.S. attorney to sign them. This could be a move  that launches a public career. I bet there is at least on U.S. attorney chomping at the bit.

So once again, I am left with nothing but admiration for Mueller. He really is playing Chess while Comrade Stupid is playing checkers. Add to this Grand Jury gambit that he is working with NY and NJ AGs, and he is making a bulletproof case. Someone will be prosecuted.


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5 Responses to Civics Class: Grand Juries

  1. Karla says:

    “Someone will be prosecuted.”
    The hope for that helps me go on every day when the pResident keeps up his horrible actions.


  2. Dennis Cole says:

    The reason he’s kept Eric Schniederman (New York’s AG) in the loop is because it’s likely Trump commited crimes in that state. And crimes commited at the state level are NOT eligible for Presidential Pardon. If the right hand don’t get ya then the left one will.


  3. osirisopto says:

    We can all predict what the R’s response to this will be given their packed courts, and chants of “Lock Her Up” being a winning campaign slogan.

    The only question is at which point will they indict their political opponents?

    A) When their polls are up?
    B) When they are down?
    C) Two weeks before voters go to the polls, á la James Comey.


  4. Retiredeng says:

    One teeny tiny nit pick. Stupid is playing Go Fish. Not Checkers.

    Liked by 2 people

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