DES MOINES — A former U.S. attorney from Marion was among the hundreds of former federal prosecutors who signed a letter laying out their belief that special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings would have produced obstruction of justice charges for anyone other than the president.
“We believe there is ample evidence set out in the Mueller report that if it has been any other individual would support multiple felony charges for obstruction,” Kevin Techau, former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, said Tuesday.
Mueller did not recommend obstruction charges, and it is the legal opinion of the Department of Justice that sitting presidents cannot be indicted.
Techau, who served during the Obama administration, joined more than 450 former prosecutors in signing what was referred to as a “DOJ Alumni Statement” that was posted on Medium, a blogging platform.
“It’s not political,” Techau said, pointing out the signers served under Republican and Democratic presidents dating back to the Eisenhower administration. “There were many who signed on who served at the pleasure of Republican presidents at much higher levels than I did.”
Techau said he signed the letter out of a belief that “it’s important for everyday people to understand that, if you believe in the rule of law, there’s enough evidence to support obstruction charges.”
The letter also offers a second opinion on statements by Attorney General William Barr that the Mueller report was a “total exoneration” of President Donald Trump. According to Barr, the evidence Mueller uncovered was “not sufficient” to establish that Trump committed a crime.
“We disagree with that,” Techau said. “There are some very serious things that happened that the public should know.”
It’s his belief that the Department of Justice position that a sitting president cannot be indicted “makes sense on the surface.”
However, Techau said it can be argued that in exercising the authority given him under Article II of the Constitution, Trump “was acting more for his own benefit than for the public at large.”
For Techau, who now practices with Smith Mill & Schrock, the letter “is just another source of information for people to consider. They can use the information or not.”
As far as he knows, there is no “next step” planned by the letter’s signers.
“I believe it stands by itself,” he said. “We just feel like it’s important to get word out that there is more than one opinion on how this has been handled.”
He noted that the letter from former Justice officials is not unique.
“Other letters have been put together over the past two years regarding other aspects” of the investigation, said Techau, who said was unaware of any other Iowans who signed the letter. “It happens on other issues.”