On Friday, writing for Business Insider, Camila DeChalus outlined an outlandish — but possible — scenario in which former President Donald Trump is charged with a crime, but Vladimir Putin's government steps in to prevent him from being prosecuted.
"Imagine this scenario: Former President Donald Trump boards his private plane and leaves the US to resume his international business dealings in Russia," wrote DeChalus. "The day after Trump lands in Moscow on a bright September afternoon, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announces a grand jury has formally indicted the former president on several criminal counts. Vance wants Trump to immediately return. But the US and Russia have no extradition treaty or formal process through which a wanted person is arrested. Since Trump would be on Russian soil in this scenario, he would be under no legal obligation to cooperate with the US government. Trump then could petition Russian President Vladimir Putin for political asylum."
This is a highly unlikely scenario on many levels, noted DeChalus — but it is legally possible.
"Trump hasn't formally announced plans to travel abroad this year and isn't known to have left the US since his term ended on January 20," said the report. "Nevertheless, Trump, like any other American citizen, is free to leave the US since he hasn't been charged with a crime ... The possibilities of where Trump could hide to avoid prosecution are plenty. There were more than 70 countries that did not have an extradition agreement with the US as of 2020. These countries included China, Belarus, Russia, Saudi Arabia — and Indonesia, where Trump's company is in the process of constructing new hotels and golf courses."
Trump was infamous for his close relationship with Putin, whose government worked to interfere in the presidential election in 2016 and 2020. So if Trump wanted to avoid extradition, Russia would be an obvious choice.
"Trump is under investigation in Washington, DC, New York City, New York state, and Fulton County, Georgia," noted the report. "Investigators in New York are looking into Trump's finances and his business dealings. In Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is investigating Trump's January 2 phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. During the call, Trump pressured him to 'find' votes to overturn the election results in the state that Biden won in the November presidential election. In Washington, prosecutors are also looking at the role Trump played in the January 6 riot at the US Capitol."
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