As the investigations into President Donald Trump multiply, the question continues to be asked: Can a sitting president be indicted while in office?
One former federal prosecutor says the answer is a resounding YES.
Seema Iyer was a guest on “AM Joy” Sunday morning, along with Paul Butler, who also served as a federal prosecutor, and she was asked by host Joy Reid:
“Insurance fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, tax evasion — is Donald Trump at risk of being prosecuted while a sitting president?”
Iyer didn’t hesitate to respond in the affirmative:
“One hundred and fifty percent, yes! The Justice Department regulations that govern [special counsel Robert] Mueller’s appointment say Mueller is allowed to deviate from policy in, quote/unquote, extraordinary circumstances.”
And Iyer also said we’ve reached “extraordinary circumstances” with Trump:
“Are we at extraordinary circumstances? Hello! I think we are here. The Southern District has its own venue to prosecute him for all these insurance fraud crimes, bank fraud, financial crimes. These also occurred between 2011 and 2013, way before he was candidate Trump.”
“Let’s assume Mueller obtained an indictment of the president or a subpoena for the president to testify before a grand jury. Trump would be able to appeal the indictment or subpoena all the way to the Supreme Court.
“The justices have never said whether the president can be indicted, nor whether the president can be subpoenaed for testimony. Only the Supreme Court can answer these constitutional questions definitively. The justices ruled in 1974 that President Richard Nixon could be subpoenaed for documents and tape recordings, but different legal standards apply for a subpoena seeking a witness’s live testimony before a grand jury.”
And even if the Supreme Court says a president cannot be indicted while in office, prosecutors can always obtain a sealed indictment and then unseal it the minute he leaves office, so the chances that Donald Trump will get off scot-free are virtually non-existent.
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