Sometimes it can be hard to keep in mind just how many simultaneous investigations there are into not just Donald Trump or his campaign for the presidency, but into his family and essentially all of his holdings and anything associated with his presidency — the Trump Organization, Trump Foundation, Trump Inaugural Committee, Trump Transition Team — as America waits for a final analysis from the unredacted Mueller report and word on what the next step might be in these unprecedented times.
But one of the most disappointing aspects of waiting for the Mueller probe to wrap up was the fact that the Department of Justice, the government entity under which Mueller’s team was authorized to work, has basically declared as not necessarily a legal position but an ethical one that they cannot or will not indict a sitting President.
That feels like sour news for those hoping to see Trump himself in shackles for the same crimes that his associates — many of whom are already in jail — have also committed.
In fact, Trump has almost proudly relied on that sense of security, the feeling that he can do anything he wants with impunity, because Mueller’s investigation only concerned crimes potentially committed during his presidency, and that would make him immune from indictment under DOJ rules.
But a recent Politico article reminds us that Mueller isn’t the one looking into all of those Trump entities, and a former prosecutor who worked on the infamous case of Richard Nixon — the closest thing America has to a precedent for this presidency — says that the investigators outside Mueller’s team, like US Attorneys for the Southern District of New York, are not bound by any such restrictions.
Jon Sale, who not only worked on Watergate but actually worked in the Southern District himself as a prosecutor, told Politico:
I’m thoroughly convinced the SDNY will make its own evaluation. They will not say that’s a department policy. They’re obviously looking at the president, and I wouldn’t rule out that they could decide you can indict a sitting president.”
That’s because the SDNY has jurisdiction over aspects of investigating Trump for which he cannot invoke executive privilege. That could be a disaster for Donald Trump.
Featured image via screen capture