Yes, you read that headline correctly. One legal expert, who has a law degree from Oxford and another law degree from the London School of Economics, is weighing in on Donald Trump’s Russia scandal. Based on the available evidence and the direction he thinks things are now headed in, he believes that Special Counsel Robert Mueller may end up indicting Russian President Vladimir Putin.
That’s the argument from Brent Budowsky, a legal expert who has written a new op-ed about the matter for The Hill (link). He makes a compelling case that Robert Mueller has the legal grounds to convene a grand jury against Putin, and the evidence to bring an indictment against him. Putin has committed various major and quantifiable crimes against the United States as part of an attempt at interfering in the U.S. election on Donald Trump’s behalf. Budowsky is urging Mueller to name Putin as an unindicted co-conspirator instead – but the bottom line is why Mueller would go after Putin at all.
Palmer Report’s own take on the matter is this: short of a regime change, Russia obviously would not be willing to extradite its own president to stand trial in the United States. Mueller could try Putin in absentia, as a way of publicly laying out the case that Putin rigged the election in Trump’s favor and worked with members of the Trump campaign to do it. In so doing, Mueller would be trying Donald Trump by proxy.
There are a number of legal experts who believe Robert Mueller can indict Donald Trump while he’s still a sitting president. There are far fewer who believe Mueller can actually put a sitting U.S. president on trial, because the Constitution grants impeachment trial power to Congress. However, nothing says Mueller can’t put the president of Russia on trial, as a way of convincing the American public that Trump is overwhelmingly guilty and illegitimate thus helping to force Trump’s ouster.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report