President Donald Trump attacked reporters Wednesday for asking if he’s concerned about being indicted once he leaves office. The reporters had good reasons for asking the questions if Trump had listened carefully to Robert Mueller’s comments on the topic.
In the first hearing about obstruction of justice, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) brought up examples of obstruction of justice.
“I’d like to ask you, the reason again, that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of OLC opinion [stating] that you cannot indict a sitting president?” Lieu asked.
In the second portion of the hearings, Mueller clarified his statement, saying it wasn’t that he “didn’t” but that he “couldn’t.” Saying “didn’t” implies he wanted to. Where, saying “couldn’t,” is the more accurate take. As Mueller explained, over and over again, the OLC opinion prevents indictments of a sitting president.
When Mueller was asked again about whether Trump could be indicted after he leaves office, he said yes.
That is not to say Mueller will indict Trump, wants to indict Trump or anticipates anyone indicting Trump. Mueller is simply saying that looking at the OLC opinion, Trump cannot be indicted as president. After he is no longer president, he can be indicted, as the OLC opinion no longer applies.
Trump’s idea that he is in the clear is incorrect. Unless he wins the 2020 election, a prosecutor can indict. There was at least one question about that, because the statute of limitations would be up before Trump is out of office if he is elected to a second term. That would, in a sense, mean that the president is above the law, which flies in the face of the Constitution.
Here’s Rep. Mike Quigley asking that question below:
Trump unleashes yet another maddening scandal as he opens the door to Saudi Arabian interference
I don’t often talk about how mad I am. I don’t often talk about how mad I am, because talking often about how mad I am prevents me from speaking clearly and rationally. I want to speak clearly and rationally. There is so much need for speaking clearly and rationally amid the endless streams of waste and filth polluting our public discourse.
But I can’t speak clearly and rationally at the expense of morality. Morality often begins with a feeling. The Gospels tell us of Jesus looking on the poor—he could hear and smell their misery—and he was “moved with pity.” But another way of putting it, another way of translating ?????????????, is that the rabbi felt compassion “in his guts.
What the Trump impeachment inquiry means for the rest of the world
Once again, the United States is experiencing the profound drama of Presidential impeachment proceedings. But, dissimilar from the past, this time the implications for the rest of the world could be large.
Consider the two modern predecessors to today’s impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump’s attempt to persuade Ukraine’s government to begin a criminal investigation of one of his leading Democratic challengers, former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s son Hunter.
The first was the slow-brewing crisis that began with a midnight break-in at the Democratic National Committee’s offices at the Watergate Hotel in Washington in 1972. This impeachment went on for two years and consumed the American political system. It finally ended in President Richard Nixon’s resignation in August 1974. The second was the special counsel investigation of President William J. Clinton, who was impeached in the U.S. House of Representatives but acquitted by the Senate in 1999.
Cynicism may be the real threat to impeachment
Cynicism is to democratic politics what rust is to motor vehicles. Both are corrosive if left unchecked. Rust will destroy a vehicle, and cynicism, if it becomes endemic, will ultimately destroy democracy.
This thought struck me after some recent conversations with a few friends and acquaintances about the possible impeachment of President Trump. The cynical view of the process is that all politicians are corrupt in one way or another; they act based on self-interest and not in the public interest. In this view, Trump is no different; he is just doing what politicians do. This type of public cynicism may very well be the greatest impediment that Democrats face during the impeachment process. As David Brooks recently wrote in the New York Times, “it’s a lot harder to do impeachment in an age of cynicism, exhaustion and distrust” especially when Trump’s actions are viewed by many as “the kind of corruption that politicians of all stripes have been doing all along.”