Rachel Maddow explained how the Southern District of New York could indict and prosecute Trump for felony obstruction of justice while he is president.
Rachel Maddow laid out why the SDNY could prosecute Trump
What Mr. Whitaker did after this was unclear. There is no evidence he took any direct steps to intervene in the Manhattan investigation. He did tell associates that the justice department that prosecutors in New York required quote adult supervision.
So as I mentioned, we’ll have more tonight but this is potentially trouble for Matt Whitaker who is no longer acting attorney general but staying at the Justice Department now that the new attorney general William Barr has been sworn in. This is potentially trouble for Whitaker if his adult supervision comment means he did try to influence that prosecution in New York at the behest of the White House. It’s also trouble for Whitaker obviously if he did lie about those interactions under oath to Congress. It’s also potentially trouble for the President if he was going after a federal criminal case, right? If he was trying to hand pick a prosecutor to try to protect himself. That’s the kind of thing that theoretically could be prosecuted as a felony obstruction charge against a defendant even potentially against a defendant who is a president if the Southern District of New York was in fact inclined to try to pursue something like that.
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) February 20, 2019
There Is No Law Saying That Trump Can’t Be Prosecuted
There is a Justice Department guideline saying that a sitting president can’t be indicted or prosecuted, but there it is unsettled law as to whether this is the case. If Trump was indicted and there was an attempt to prosecute him, the case would certainly end up before the Supreme Court, because since no has ever tried to prosecute a sitting president, no one knows if Trump could be indicted and prosecuted while in office.
If the SDNY wanted to try, and they are the prosecutors that have come the closest to indicting Trump, it would set up a round of legal challenges, and doom Trump’s reelection campaign. It is not a given that Trump would win in court. This scenario proves that Trump’s greatest personal legal jeopardy isn’t in the Mueller investigation, but the Southern District of New York.
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