Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been building his case against Trump for the better part of a year now. It’s highly speculated that Mueller has potentially already got him for at least a few felonies.
The list continues to grow but — based on the indictments so far as well as the specialists Mueller’s brought on board — obstruction of justice, money laundering, and conspiracy against the U.S. are seemingly all on the table at the moment. The question is how?
Because we’ve never really dealt with a situation like this with a sitting president, there’s a lot of speculation about what exactly will happen from here.
Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal is the closest thing we have to a precedent, but Watergate did not allege collusion with a foreign government. A hostile foreign government, at that.
Legal experts have long been arguing over whether Mueller can even indict Trump while he’s in office, and whether it’s possible to put him on trial while he’s still in office. The judicial system will have the final say, but there are still many way to make Trump’s life quite difficult. Perhaps even the way Trump fears the most: financially.
Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School was asked if Mueller could seize Trump’s assets while he’s still in office. Please see his response tweeted below:
I’ve not yet explored this, but I’d welcome those who are expert in RICO and other avenues for prosecuting corrupt organizations and freezing their assets to RT and explain. Even if a sitting POTUS were held unindictable, an open Q, his nest of companies could be a sitting duck. https://t.co/ts2hHY0wVR
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) January 27, 2018
As for the broader question of whether Donald Trump can be sued while in office, another familiar face from the Harvard yard argued emphatically in 1994 that No Man in This Country . . . Is Above the Law. In his essay, George Conway (husband of Kellyanne Conway) methodically dismembered then-president Bill Clinton’s argument that presidents should be considered immune from litigation that could distract from their official duties.