Scores of former U.S. prosecutors and Justice Department political appointees have signed a letter arguing that President Donald Trump would be charged with obstruction of justice if he weren't president.
The extraordinary letter, published on May 6, came amid continuing struggles over the final report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Mueller's report, released last month, found no evidence that Trump or his associates sought to conspire with Russian officials to sway the 2016 vote. The report also did not conclusively determine that Trump committed criminal obstruction of justice.
However, a redacted version showed that Trump had tried to take control of the Russia probe and force Mueller's removal to stop him from investigating potential obstruction of justice.
The letter, signed by more than 430 former prosecutors as of May 6, said if Trump were not president, he would face multiple charges.
"Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice," wrote the former federal prosecutors, which included both Democrats and Republicans.
Under a Justice Department policy dating back to the early 1970s, U.S. presidents cannot be criminally charged while they are in office. A president could be charged after leaving office, however.
Trump has been linked to at least one other potential felony: the campaign finance violations that his longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has pleaded guilty to.
Prosecutors said Trump himself directed illegal payments orchestrated by Cohen to prevent a Playboy model and pornographic film star from going public with stories of their alleged affairs with Trump. Because of the timing of the alleged payments, they are considered campaign contributions, and not reporting them to federal elections officials is considered a felony.
Cohen also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a proposed Trump tower project in Russia that was being negotiated at the same time he was running for president.
Cohen reported to a federal prison on May 6 to begin serving a three-year sentence.