House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) believe that it’s possible Special Counsel Robert Mueller could indict President Donald Trump despite Department of Justice guidelines that say otherwise.
According to the guideline issued in 2000, “the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions.”
Of course, the question of whether or not a president can be indicted and prosecuted while still in office is more important than ever before as the investigations against Trump stack up and he has already been named an unindicted co-conspirator for coordinating and directing campaign finance felonies.
But Pelosi, who has been serving in the House since 1987, disagrees with the DOJ guidelines.
During an interview on the TODAY Show as she prepares to take over the gavel in the House, host Savannah Guthrie asked her a question about it.
“Do you believe the special counsel should honor and observe the DOJ guidance that states a sitting president cannot be indicted?” she asked.
“I do not think that that is conclusive,” Pelosi replied. “No, I do not. I think that that is an open discussion. I think that is an open discussion in terms of the law.”
Pelosi went on to caution Democrats to wait for Mueller’s anticipated final Russia investigation report before they decide whether or not to impeach.
“We have to wait and see what happens with the Mueller report,” Pelosi said. “We shouldn’t be impeaching for a political reason, and we shouldn’t avoid impeachment for a political reason.”
Here’s the video via YouTube.
“Do you believe the special counsel should honor and observe the DOJ guidance that states a sitting president cannot be indicted?” –@savannahguthrie
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 3, 2019
In fact, while the DOJ guidelines from 2000 say that a sitting president cannot be indicted, two memos prepared by Special Counsels during the Clinton and Nixon eras say otherwise.
The first being a memo written by Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski during the Watergate scandal saying that a president can and should be indicted or prosecuted for crimes committed.
“The modern nature of the Presidency necessitates massive public exposure of the President’s actions through the media,” Jaworski wrote. “A bar to prosecution on the grounds of such publicity effectively would immunize all future Presidents for their actions, however criminal.
Similarly, the Starr memo that was written in 1998 also concluded that a sitting president can be indicted and is not above the law.
If being president protects Trump from an indictment and/or prosecution, then he could truly get away with murder and any high crime he wants to commit while in office. That makes absolutely no sense in a nation where the rule of law is supposed to apply equally to everyone. If anything, the president should be held to a higher standard, and it certainly appears that Pelosi is prepared to hold Trump accountable even if the Justice Department refuses to do so if Mueller releases a damning report.
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