Ex-GOP White House ethics attorney says Trump lawyers need to negotiate plea deal for him to resign from office
Special counsel Robert Mueller (left, via Wikimedia Commons) and former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani (right, via screengrab).

The former chief White House ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration said on MSNBC that President Donald Trump's defense lawyers need to negotiate a plea agreement.

Richard Painter is a law professor at the University of Minnesota and vice-chair of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

"You guys are starting to see that things are closing in, but are Republicans starting to see that things are closing in?" anchor Yasmin Vossoughian asked. "So far, what we have seen is Republicans have stood by the president and said he's done nothing wrong. At what point will the straw break the camel's back?"

"Publicly the Republicans, or many of them, are supporting the president," Painter replied. "This is a bad situation for the president."

"The president's lawyer got three years that he committed on behalf of the president, his client," he noted. "If the lawyer gets three years, how much time should the client get?"

"That doesn't even include whatever Bob Mueller comes up with respect to Russia and obstruction of justice and the crimes that were committed there," he continued.

"Donald Trump is in serious trouble. His lawyers ought to be telling him to negotiate a plea deal," Painter said.

"It's time to negotiate a comprehensive plea deal for Donald Trump," he concluded. "Include federal and state charges, reduced charges in return for his resignation."

"That's where the Republicans in Congress ought to be driving this -- toward a comprehensive plea deal for Donald Trump and his family members," Painter explained. "Get him out of White House, have him resign, plead guilty to lower charges and let's move on as a country."

"It's quite clear his goose is cooked here," he added.