John Ratcliffe is a United States Representative representing the Fourth District of Texas since 2015. He is a former prosecutor, which may or may not help in his new job. He has also been picked by President Donald Trump to serve as the Director of National Intelligence. President Trump announced on July 28, 2019, that he has nominated Ratcliffe to replace Dan Coats in the position.
I first took notice of Ratcliffe during his questioning of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller during the congressional testimony. This is how Brooke Singman of Fox News reported the situation. During the five minutes that Ratcliffe was allowed to question Mueller, he asked Mueller to identify the Justice Department policy that sets “forth a legal standard that an investigated person is not exonerated if their innocence from criminal conduct is not conclusively determined.” This references Mueller’s report that says the investigation did not exonerate Trump.
Ratcliffe: “Can you give an example other than Donald Trump where the Justice Department determined an investigated person was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined?”
Mueller: “I cannot but this is a unique situation.”
Ratcliffe: “Okay, well you can’t – time is short, I got five minutes, let’s leave it at you can’t find it because – I’ll tell you why, it doesn’t exist.
The special counsel’s job didn’t say you were to determine Trump’s innocence or to exonerate him. It’s not in documents, it’s not in the Office of Legal Counsel opinion, any justice manual…
Respectfully it was not the special counsel’s job to conclusively determine Trump’s innocence because the bedrock principle of our justice system is a presumption of innocence – everyone is entitled to it, including a sitting president, and because of a presumption of innocence, a prosecutor never, ever needs to determine it. … You wrote 180 pages about decisions that weren’t reached, about potential crimes that weren’t charged or decided.
[The obstruction section of the report] was not authorized under the law to be written – it was written under a legal standard that does not exist at the Justice Department.
I agree with Chairman Nadler this morning when he said Donald Trump is not above the law. But he damn sure should not be below the law which is where Volume II of this report puts him.
Apparently, President Trump was already considering Ratcliffe as his next intelligence chief. However, I am sure that this exchange did not detract from anything else Ratcliffe had said or done. This argument with Mueller focused attention on Ratcliffe and showed that he knows the law and how it is supposed to work.
Ratcliffe highlighted the fact that a person is considered innocent if there is not enough evidence to convict him. Mueller said, “We concluded that we would not reach a determination
one way or another about whether the president committed a crime. That is the office’s final position.” If the investigation could not determine that Trump had committed a crime, Mueller should not have written the report as though Trump were guilty. The report could have been much shorter if it had simply said, “We did not find enough evidence to convict the President.”