Former U.S. attorney Barbara McQuade said on Saturday that there is a possibility Donald Trump could be indicted and charged the day after he leaves office on January 21, 2021.
In an interview aired on MSNBC, McQuade said, “He could face charges when he leaves office because the reason behind that policy or opinion from the Department of Justice not to charge a sitting president is because it would be too distracting for the president to be dealing with defending himself while also leading the country.”
“Once he leaves office, of course, that problem no longer exists,” she said.
The former U.S. attorney added that the only issue would be the statute of limitations, which she believes could be avoided if Trump was charged on the day he leaves office in 2021 – if the eventual Democratic nominee defeats him.
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) February 23, 2019
He could face charges when he leaves office because the reason behind that policy or opinion from the Department of Justice not to charge a sitting president is because it would be too distracting for the president to be dealing with defending himself while also leading the country. Once he leaves office, of course, that problem no longer exists. The only problem there would be the statute of limitations. One could argue that it’s told during the time that you can’t charge him because he’s president, or the other thing that could happen is if he was charged on January 21st of 2021, the day he leaves office, anything that occurred on or after January 21, 2016, within five years of the statute of limitations, would be fair game, so that would include all those things that happened in the summer of 2016.
Everything hinges on the Mueller report
Given the consensus that Trump will not be indicted or charged as long as he is in the White House, that leaves only a political remedy: impeachment.
Questions of impeachment, of course, rely heavily on the highly anticipated Mueller report, which is expected to be released in the next few weeks.
As Andrew McCabe noted earlier in the week, the special counsel report will likely be detailed and damning. It could essentially jump-start the impeachment process.
Whether Mueller’s report makes the case for the president’s removal from office, or if voters simply vote him out in 2020, criminal charges could very likely be waiting for Donald Trump when his presidency ends.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.