“First of all, nothing at the Trump organization was ever done unless it was run through Mr. Trump.”

Michael Cohen


It began with admissions of criminal conduct by Michael Flynn, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos and now encompasses a growing number of people who have been members of Donald Trump’s inner circle, most notably including Allen Weisselberg, David Pecker, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort.

As Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s team and other state and federal prosecutors continue to unravel possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, illegal campaign payments designed to influence the 2016 election, subsequent obstruction of justice, possible violations of the emoluments clause, an investigation into the sources and uses of some $100 million of inauguration funds and other matters, the president finds himself increasingly exposed to potential legal jeopardy.

Despite the president’s comments to the contrary, conspiracy and collusion are prosecutable offences!

As a result of these investigations it is likely, President Trump will face one or more criminal indictments.

The issue then becomes whether a sitting president can be indicted and prosecuted. 

The Justice Department has a stated “policy”, “The indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions.” 

However, there are no constitutional prohibitions to such actions.  To the contrary, under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution, the president is obligated to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed”.  There are no exceptions for a sitting president.

The DOJ further argues any attempt to prosecute a president before they leave office would constitute an unworkable intrusion into the president’s core responsibilities; that the presidency is unique because the Executive Branch is led by a singular figure on call and on the job 24 hours a day, unlike Congress or the Judiciary.

A similar argument made by Justice Kavanaugh prior to his confirmation would, “Provide sitting presidents with a temporary deferral of civil suits and of criminal prosecutions and investigations."   

His opinion that, "If the president does something dastardly, the impeachment process is available,” is a naive and unrealistic restraint on a president’s power and behavior particularly in today’s highly partisan political climate.

While the Senate is limited under its impeachment powers to “removal from office” and “disqualification” to hold any future federal office, those removed from office through impeachment remain “liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law.”

Clearly, the Framers were concerned about the possibility a corrupt politician might contrive to win the presidency by means of treason, bribery, fraud or other criminal means.  It would be foolish to assume they would have created a system under which a criminally corrupt president could be immunized from trial while serving as president.

Such an immunization policy could not possibly be in accord with our Constitution.  If any attorney general were to direct their subordinates not to pursue the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president, regardless of the evidence against him, it would subvert the way our Constitution makes good on its promise that, under our system of government, no one is above the law.

As for the Justice Department’s and Kavanaugh’s contention that a president is far too busy to have to be concerned with defending themselves from prosecution, consider;

  • If Trump were impeached by the House, he would necessarily mount a massive, time-consuming defense to stave off a Senate conviction.
  • Any president who spends an inordinate number of days on partisan politics, including post-election campaign-style events, fundraisers and making some forty campaign rallies for Senate candidates in the months just before mid-term elections certainly has time to respond to an indictment.

If becoming the target of an investigation or having to defend oneself in a criminal case affects a president’s ability to carry out their duties, they should resign or temporarily step aside until the matters in question are resolved or when they can reliably resume their responsibilities. 

We are a nation of laws in which no individual, president or average citizen, can or should be immune from full and timely accountability for criminal or civil actions they commit in violation of federal or state laws.  To grant even temporary immunity can only serve to embolden a president to stray from or stretch the limits of their enumerated powers or even commit crimes for which their fellow citizens would face swift justice.

There must be no Free Passes or Get Out-of-Jail Cards for any elected official! 

Theodore Roosevelt admonished, “No man is above the law and no man is below it: nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it.”