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Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Standard member vivify
    rain
    23 May '17 14:04
    It's about this excerpt from Forbes:

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/insider/2016/11/09/can-a-president-trump-be-prosecuted-based-upon-allegations-of-past-misconduct/#57cb8040491b

    No clear legal answer exists to the question of whether a sitting President can be indicted and prosecuted. The Attorney General’s Office of Legal Counsel has considered this issue in depth twice in the past half-century – in 1973, in connection with President Richard Nixon’s role in Watergate, and again in 2000, after President Bill Clinton was acquitted of impeachment charges. On both occasions, federal lawyers in the Attorney General’s office apparently determined that the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President was impermissible and unconstitutional because it would undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions.

    The United States Constitution provides only for impeachment and is silent on the issue of whether federal officials can be criminally prosecuted while holding office. As a result, analysists are forced to comb through fragments of debates held during the constitutional conventions to discern the Framers’ intent with regard to this issue. In 1973 and 2000, lawyers in the Attorney General’s Office determined because of the singularly unique duties and demands of the position, a President cannot be called upon to answer the demands of another branch of government – in this case the judicial branch – in the same manner as all other individuals. They concluded as a matter of policy that a President cannot both serve as the nation’s chief executive and defend criminal charges.

    For sure, the President is not above the law. He is accountable for any misconduct that occurs before, during, and after service to the country. When in service, however, he occupies a unique position within our constitutional order. According to the memorandum written by the Office of Legal Counsel in 1973, a criminal trial empowering a jury of twelve individuals to, in effect, overturn a national mandate as expressed through the election of a President through a guilty verdict is unacceptable. Instead, as written in that memorandum, the decision to terminate the service of a President “is more fittingly handled by the Congress than by a jury, and such congressional power is founded in the Constitution” through the impeachment process.
  2. Standard member vivify
    rain
    23 May '17 14:06 / 1 edit
    Does the above mean that as long as the President's party controls the Houses of Congress, that it's potentially impossible for a sitting president to be charged with anything?
  3. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    23 May '17 18:07
    Originally posted by vivify
    Does the above mean that as long as the President's party controls the Houses of Congress, that it's potentially impossible for a sitting president to be charged with anything?
    Although it's unclear because it's never been tested, nothing explicit in the Constitution prevents a sitting President from being criminal prosecuted. Whether the courts might disallow it on practical grounds is another matter. If Donald Trump really does shoot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue, I see no constitutional reason that New York State couldn't indict him.

    Moreover, I disagree with your implied premise that no Congress would ever impeach a member of the majority party. I predict that if a smoking gun is found that clearly shows that Trump knew of collusion with Russian to hack the DNC before the election and participated (or at least tacitly allowed) his officials to work with Russia, they will impeach him.
  4. Standard member vivify
    rain
    23 May '17 18:26 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sh76
    Although it's unclear because it's never been tested, nothing explicit in the Constitution prevents a sitting President from being criminal prosecuted. Whether the courts might disallow it on practical grounds is another matter. If Donald Trump really does shoot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue, I see no constitutional reason that New York State couldn't ind ...[text shortened]... icipated (or at least tacitly allowed) his officials to work with Russia, they will impeach him.
    Thanks for your input.

    Regarding Congress impeaching Trump, don't forget that this is the same GOP that tried to remove the Office of Congressional Ethics earlier this year, and also blocked an ethical investigation just two days ago. Clearly, running this administration ethically is not something the GOP is interested in.
  5. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    23 May '17 20:14
    Originally posted by vivify
    Thanks for your input.

    Regarding Congress impeaching Trump, don't forget that this is the same GOP that tried to remove the Office of Congressional Ethics earlier this year, and also blocked an ethical investigation just two days ago. Clearly, running this administration ethically is not something the GOP is interested in.
    Politicians protect their best chances of keeping their jobs, first and foremost. If Trump's approval rating crashes through 30% (which is might if it's proven that he colluded with Russia before the election), members of Congress will turn on him rather than go down with his ship.
  6. Standard member vivify
    rain
    23 May '17 22:43
    Originally posted by sh76
    Politicians protect their best chances of keeping their jobs, first and foremost. If Trump's approval rating crashes through 30% (which is might if it's proven that he colluded with Russia before the election), members of Congress will turn on him rather than go down with his ship.
    What if Trump' s approval rating doesn't drop below that?

    Remember, people have been declaring the end of his political career ever since he called Mexicans rapists. Trump has a fanatical base that won't turn on him, and is surrounding by Republicans who won't say a negative word about him. He also has the undying support of Fox News, which tries to sweep any negativity about Trump under the rug.

    If the GOP believes getting rid of him would be worse for their political future, Congress won't do a thing to Trump, no matter what the investigation reveals.