Mueller Report Page 389 of 448

Text Translation

relevant in a criminal trial would cut deeply into the guarantee of due process of law and gravely
impair the basic function of the courts.” 407 U.S. at 712. As Nixon illustrates, the need to
safeguard judicial integrity is a compelling constitutional interest. See id. at 709 (noting that the
denial of full disclosure of the facts surrounding relevant presidential communications threatens
“[t]he very integrity of the judicial system and public confidence in the system”).

iii. Finally, the grand jury cannot achieve its constitutional purpose absent protection from
corrupt acts. Serious federal criminal charges generally reach the Article III courts based on an
indictment issued by a grand jury. Cobbledick v. United States, 309 U.S. 323, 327 (1940) (“The
Constitution itself makes the grand jury a part of the judicial process”). And the grand jury’s
function is enshrined in the Fifth Amendment. U.S. CONST. AMEND. V. (“[n]o person shall be held
to answer” for a serious crime “unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury”). “[T]he
Whole theory of [the grand jury’s] function is that it belongs to no branch of the institutional
govemment, serving as a kind of buffer or referee between the Government and the people,”
United States v. Williams, 504 U.S. 36, 47 (1992), “pledged to indict no one because of prejudice
and to free no one because of special favor.” Costello v. United States, 350 U.S. 359, 362 (1956).
If the grand jury were not protected against. corrupt interference from all persons, its function as
an independent charging body would be thwarted. And an impartial grand jury investigation to
determine whether probable cause exists to indict is vital to the criminal justice process.

* * =l=

The final step in the constitutional balancing process is to assess whether the separation-
of-powers doctrine permits Congress to take action within its constitutional authority
notwithstanding the potential impact on Article 11 functions. See Administrator of General
Services, 433 U.S. at 443; see also Morrison, 487 U.S. at 691-693, 695-696; United States v. Nixon,
418 U.S. at 711-712. In the case of the obstruction-of-justice statutes, our assessment of the
weighing of interests leads us to conclude that Congress has the authority to impose the limited
restrictions contained in those statutes on the President’s official conduct to protect the integrity
of important functions of other branches of government.

A general ban on corrupt action does not unduly intrude on the President’s responsibility
to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” U.S. CONST. ART ll, §§ 3.1090 To the contrary,
the concept of “faithful execution” connotes the use of power in the interest of the public, not in
the office holder’s personal interests. See 1 Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English
Language 763 (1755) (“faithfully” def. 3: “[w]ith strict adherence to duty and allegiance”). And
immunizing the President from the generally applicable criminal prohibition against corrupt
obstruction of official proceedings would seriously impair Congress’s power to enact laws “to
promote objectives within [its] constitutional authority,” Administrator, of General Services, 433
U.S. at 425—i.e., protecting the integrity of its own proceedings and the proceedings of Article III
courts and grand juries.

“’90 As noted above, the President’s selection and removal of principal executive officers may have
a unique constitutional status.


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