ofﬁcial power is being used for the purpose of protecting the President’s personal interests. In contrast, the President’s actions to serve political or policy interests would not qualify as corrupt. The President’s role as head of the government necessarily requires him to take into account political factors in making policy decisions that affect law—enforcement actions and proceedings. For instance, the President’s decision to curtail a law—enforcement investigation to avoid international friction would not implicate the obstruction-of-justice statutes. The criminal law does not seek to regulate the consideration of such political or policy factors in the conduct of government. And when legitimate interests animate the President’s conduct, those interests will almost invariably be readily identiﬁable based on objective factors. Because the President’s conduct in those instances will obviously fall outside the zone of obstruction law, no chilling concern should arise. b. There is also no reason to believe that investigations, let alone prosecutions, would occur except in highly unusual circumstances when a credible factual basis exists to believe that obstruction occurred. Prosecutorial action enjoys a presumption of regularity: absent “clear evidence to the contrary, courts presume that [prosecutors] have properly discharged their ofﬁcial duties.” Armstrong, 517 U.S. at 464 (quoting United States v. Chemical Foundation, Inc, 272 U.S. 1, 14‘15 (l926)). The presumption of prosecutorial regularity would provide even greater protection to the President than exists in routine cases given the prominence and sensitivity of any matter involving the President and the likelihood that such matters will be subject to thorough and careful review at the most senior levels of the Department of Justice. Under OLC’s opinion that a sitting President is entitled to immunity from indictment, only a successor Administration would be able to prosecute a former President. But that consideration does not suggest that a President would have any basis for fearing abusive investigations or prosecutions after leaving ofﬁce. There are “obvious political checks” against initiating a baseless investigation or prosecution of a former President. See Administrator of General Services, 433 U.S. at 448 (considering political checks in separation-of-powers analysis). And the Attorney General holds “the power to conduct the criminal litigation of the United States Government,” United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. at 694 (citing 28 U.S.C. § 516), which provides a strong institutional safeguard against politicized investigations or prosecutions. “392 ‘09?“ Similar institutional safeguards protect Department of Justice ofﬁcers and line prosecutors against unfounded investigations into prosecutorial acts. Prosecutors are generally barred from participating in matters implicating their personal interests, see 28 C.F.R. § 45.2, and are instructed not to be inﬂuenced by their “own professional or personal circumstances,” Justice Manual § 9-27.260, so prosecutors would not frequently be in a position to take action that could be perceived as corrupt and personally motivated. And if such cases arise, criminal investigation would be conducted by responsible ofﬁcials at the Department of Justice, who can be presumed to refrain from pursuing an investigation absent a credible factual basis. Those facts distinguish the criminal context from the common-law rule of prosecutcrial immunity, which protects against the threat of suit by “a defendant [who] often will transform his resentment at being prosecuted into the ascription of improper and malicious actions.” Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 425 (1976). As the Supreme Court has noted, the existence of civil immunity does not justify criminal immunity. See O’Shea v. Littleton, 414 U.S. 488, 503 (1974) (“Whatever may be the case with respect to civil liability generally, . . . we have never held that the performance of the duties of judicial, legislative, or executive ofﬁcers, requires or contemplates the immunization of otherwise criminal deprivation of constitutional rights”) (citations omitted). if!“
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