The former acting Solicitor General of the United States predicted President Donald Trump would face impeachment proceedings during a Thursday appearance on MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour” with Brian Williams.
Neal Katyal is a professor at Georgetown Law.
“I’ve taught the criminal law course about 20 times and I think what I teach my students is the technical legal term for how the president is feeling right now is wigging out,” Katyal joked.
Katyal explained the rule-of-thumb math that shows Trump could be looking at nine years in prison after his underling received three.
“I heard someone say yesterday, if this is the only thing they ever have on him, this could be big enough to be [the] ballgame, as this person put it. Do you concur with that?” Williams asked. “And as a general rule, do you think there is too much talk at this stage of impeachment in the media every day?”
“Look, I think the president is right to be worried and your reporting suggests that he is about impeachment,” Katyal replied. “I think he’s got both indictment concerns and impeachment concerns — these are really serious things.”
He then explained how Trump’s defense against indictment could actually be making impeachment inevitable.
“If the president is going to say what he keeps saying, which is a sitting president can’t be indicted, every scholar who takes that view — including the two Justice Department memos that say that — also say if you can’t indict, then you have to launch the impeachment proceedings in the case of a serious allegation of something because that’s the only way to indict, which is impeach first, remove from office and then indict,” he explained.
Katyal asked viewers to imagine the position in which Trump is boxing-in Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY).
“The argument that you can’t indict a sitting president is actually a set up for Congressman Nadler — who’s running the Judiciary Committee — to say ‘I’ve got to look at impeachment.’ Nadler has said time and again he doesn’t want to do it unless he really has to.”
“But these Trump arguments — which are like, ‘I’m above the law because I’m the sitting president — I think they’re going to force Nadler’s hand,” he continued.
“I am convinced there will be an impeachment inquiry by the House of Representatives in the new Congress,” Katyal predicted. “I don’t see how it can be anything else at this point, given all the serious accusations against the president and his constant lying in trying to defend himself.”