Accordingly, based on the analysis above, we were not persuaded by the argument that the President has blanket constitutional immunity to engage in acts that would corruptly obstruct justice through the exercise of otherwise-valid Article II powers. 109‘ 3. Ascertaining Whether the President Violated the Obstruction Statutes Would Not Chill his Performance of his Article II Duties Applying the obstruction statutes to the President’s ofﬁcial conduct would involve determining as a factual matter whether he engaged in an obstructive act, whether the act had a nexus to ofﬁcial proceedings, and whether he was motivated by corrupt intent. But applying those standards to the President’s ofﬁcial conduct should not hinder his ability to perform his Article II duties. Cf Nixon v. Fitzgerald, 457 US. at 752-753 & n.32 (taking into account chilling effect on the President in adopting a constitutional rule of presidential immunity from private civil damages action based on ofﬁcial duties). Several safeguards would prevent a chilling effect: the existence of settled legal standards, the presumption of regularity in prosecutorial actions, and the existence of evidentiaryslimitations on probing the President’s motives. And historical experience conﬁrms that no impermissible chill should exist. a. As an initial matter, the term “corruptly” sets a demanding standard. It requires a concrete showing that a person acted with an intent to obtain an “improper advantage for [him]self or someone else, inconsistent with ofﬁcial duty and the rights of others.” BALLENTINE’S LAW DICTIONARY 276 (3d ed. 1969); see United States v. Pasha, 797 F.3d 1 122, 1132 (DC. Cir. 2015); Aguilar, 515 U.S. at 616 (Scalia, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part). That standard parallels the President’s constitutional obligation to ensure the faithful execution of the laws. And virtually everything that the President does in, the routine conduct of ofﬁce will have a clear governmental purpose and will not be contrary to his ofﬁcial duty. Accordingly, the President has no reason to be chilled in those actions because, in virtually all instances, there will be no credible basis for suspecting a corrupt personal motive. That point is illustrated by examples of conduct that would and would not satisfy the stringent corrupt-motive standard. Direct or indirect action by the President to end a criminal investigation into his own or his family members’ conduct to protect against personal embarrassment or legal liability would constitute a core example of corruptly motivated conduct. So too would action to halt an enforcement proceeding that directly and adversely affected the President’s ﬁnancial interests for the purpose of protecting those interests. In those examples, “’9‘ A possible remedy through impeachment for abuses of power would not substitute for potential criminal liability after a President leaves ofﬁce. Impeachment would remove a President from ofﬁce, but would not address the underlying culpability of the conduct or serve the usual purposes of the criminal law. Indeed, the Impeachment Judgment Clause recognizes that criminal law plays an independent role in addressing an ofﬁcial’s conduct, distinct from the political remedy of impeachment. See US. CONST. ART. I, § 3, cl. 7. Impeachment is also a drastic and rarely invoked remedy, and Congress is not restricted to relying only on impeachment, rather than making criminal law applicable to a former President, as OLC has recognized. A Sitting President is Amenabilz’ty to Indictment and Criminal Prosecution, 24 Op. O.L.C. at 255 (“Recognizing an immunity from prosecution for a sitting President would not preclude such prosecution once the President’s term is over or he is otherwise removed from ofﬁce by resignation or impeachment”). 1nn
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