Now that Donald Trump’s ongoing and escalating crime spree while in office has dragged the United States into previously uncharted depths of crisis, the legal and constitutional precedent is becoming less clear than ever. Some procedural questions were just being broached during the Watergate constitutional crisis when Richard Nixon ended it all by resigning – and now those questions are back in play. Congressman Adam Schiff is putting something on the table that holds nothing back.
Schiff, who has past experience as a prosecutor, just said the following: “My view is there’s no legal prohibition on prosecuting a President of the United States.” Watch the video clip for yourself (link), which was posted by the producer of The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell:
Schiff: "My view is there's no legal prohibition on prosecuting a President of the United States." pic.twitter.com/p89xxnUOHR
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 23, 2017
From the remainder of the video, it’s clear that Adam Schiff is referring to Donald Trump’s crimes in office such as witness intimidation and obstruction of justice, which he’s committed in the name of trying to derail the investigation into his Russia scandal. Up to now the popular view has been that a sitting President can’t be prosecuted by anyone but Congress, in the form of the impeachment process. But Schiff seems to be alluding to something else entirely.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t go into detail, perhaps instead choosing to hold the specifics of his strategy close to the vest until he’s in position to put them into place. The general agreement is that a sitting President can’t be arrested by the executive branch, or sentenced by the judicial branch. But it sounds a lot like Schiff may be talking about trying to indict Trump and prosecute him for his crimes in the court system in order to help demonstrate his guilt to the public. So just what does Adam Schiff, former prosecutor and current House Intel Committee ranking member have up his sleeve? Stay tuned, because Schiff chooses his words carefully, yet he just pointed to something big.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report