As progressives debate the wisdom of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s statement yesterday that impeaching President Trump is “not worth it,” those who have the patience to endure another 679 days of his presidency — and believe that the nation can survive that long intact — can take heart from the comments made by Representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, to reporters today at a breakfast organized by The Christian Science Monitor.
Making the assumption that Trump’s own Justice Department won’t revise its current legal opinion that a sitting president can’t be indicted, Congressman Schiff said that the president should be indicted as soon as he leaves the office over his involvement in the campaign finance law violations and bank fraud alleged by his prison-bound former personal attorney Michael Cohen in his testimony before Congress.
“It’s very difficult to make the argument that the person who was directed and was coordinated should go to jail but the person who did the directing and did the coordinating should not,” The Hill reports Schiff as telling the press at the event.
According to Rep. Schiff, enough evidence has already been presented that “militates very strongly in favor of indicting the president when he is out of office.”
While progressive Democrats are divided between their ardent desire to see Trump removed from office (and face justice as soon as humanly possible) and Speaker Pelosi’s political calculus that President Trump remaining in office will propel a Democratic victory across the board in 2020, Congressman Schiff’s remarks provide some solace that there will be a light at the end of the long and perilous tunnel.
The Intelligence Committee chairman himself does not think that the current Justice Department guidelines on a presidential indictment are correct since they can allow a president to escape the possibility of punishment for crimes that may creep outside the statute of limitations during an extended term.
“The Justice Department policy against the indictment is the wrong policy particularly … when there is any risk that the statute of limitations may allow a president to escape justice,” Rep. Schiff said.
While the thought of a second term for the current felonious president sends shudders down the spines of a plurality of Americans, it is not an unimaginable scenario if an electorate divided by a strong independent third party candidate fails to give the Democratic candidate enough electoral votes to seal a victory over Trump.
Hopefully, however, Trump will be held to account for his criminal conduct eventually and the nightmare of a second term will remain in the realm of fever dreams. With Schiff in charge of the House Intelligence Committee, we can be reassured that no avenue of investigation into the president’s conduct will remain unpursued
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Original reporting by Justin Wise at The Hill.