CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin: It's a 'Virtual Certainty' Trump Would Be Indicted Were He Not President

CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin: It's a 'Virtual Certainty' Trump Would Be Indicted Were He Not President

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin made the stupefying claim Tuesday night that President Donald Trump almost certainly would have been indicted today along with the case against his former attorney Michael Cohen — were he not president of the United States.


Earlier in the day, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight federal charges, including three campaign finance violations. He said he was directed to engage in those violations by the "candidate" — which could only be Trump himself.

"This is the first time since Watergate — and perhaps even before Watergate — that a federal criminal guilty plea has taken place and the guilty person has said: 'I committed this crime with and for the president of the United States,'" he said on "Anderson Cooper 360" on Tuesday. "If this were any other person, given the evidence that was presented in court today, it seems to me a virtual certainty that Donald Trump would have been indicted and charged, too." 

He continued: "Remember: Who benefitted from this campaign finance violation? It wasn't Michael Cohen. The beneficiary was, according to Michael Cohen, the person who directed and then helped cover up this illegal campaign contribution. This brings this criminal case to the door of the Oval Office like nothing we have seen before in this investigation."

"But Jeff, obviously, you know, a sitting president, according to precedent, not law, can't be indicted," said Cooper in response. "When the president leaves office, is this something charges could be pursued against him for?"

"It could, I think," Toobin said. "I don't think the statute of limitations will have run. You know, that could be a long way off. There are a lot of things that may change in the interim, but the Justice Department policy — and as you point out, it's a policy, not a law. it's not part of the Constitution — says no criminal charges against a president while he is president. This issue may arise when the president leaves office, but all of that, I think, is down the road."

Watch the clip below:

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.