Former U.S. attorney Harry Litman told MSNBC on Wednesday that President Donald Trump is not protected against New York state charges of tax and other fraud -- and that if the New York district attorney brings charges, America will enter "untrod territory."
Litman said that while Michael Cohen's testimony implicates the president in a campaign finance violation, he's protected by Department of Justice guidelines that say you can't indict a sitting president.
"On the New York [attorney general] and [district attorney's] office, it wouldn't be campaign finance," Litman said. "But there are all kinds of parallel tax crimes, financial fraud crimes they could be working up."
"The AG's office would not be bringing a criminal indictment," he speculated. "With the New York DA, it would be completely untrod territory whether a state can indict a sitting president. My best guess is that the federal courts would decide that, no."
Litman said that a state suit would finally force the country to deal with the question of whether a president can be indicted at all, but that otherwise, "it's a hail Mary."
"Think of the possibility that any state at all could criminally indict the president of the United States," he said. "There's some real state-federal power issues there."
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