MSNBC's Rachel Maddow argues we shouldn't only focus on impeachment — indicting Trump is still a possibility

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow argues we shouldn't only focus on impeachment — indicting Trump is still a possibility
MSNBC

With Democrats back in control of the Hosue of Representatives, impeachment of Donald Trump remains a significant challenge — but it is suddenly a real possibility.


But MSNBC's Rachel Maddow argued Thursday night that we should not discount the possibility of the Trump getting indicted for the crimes in which he has been implicated, despite the well-known Justice Department guidance that says a sitting president is immune from such proceedings.

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the new chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said last month during an appearance on Maddow's show that an indictment is still a possibility. And Thursday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that it is still an open question whether Trump could be indicted — and she emphasized that he could certainly be indicted after leaving office.

"To my mind, that means: Don't give up on the possibility of the potential indictment by prosecutors or the special counsel," she said. "Don't necessarily only focus on the possibility of impeachment by Jerry Nadler's Judiciary Committee. Leave your mind open to the possibility of indictment as well."

Maddow also seemed to suggest that this might be a matter the Democrats might pursue as a "matter of policy" — but this potentiality is necessarily dead on arrival. The only "policy" answer to the question of indicting a president would be a constitutional amendment, and no one thinks that's a real possibility — certainly not before the 2020 election.

In reality, it's not up to Democrats whether Trump gets indicted. Only those in the Justice Department, or possibly in state attorneys general offices, can push indictments, not lawmakers.

The most plausible scenario for prosecutors moving to officially indict Trump would come, as former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal has explained, by an indictment that is subsequently sealed or the has the trial put on hold as long as the president is in office. This would avoid one of the most vexing challenges of bringing charges against a president: coping with have the commander-in-chief endure a trial or even held in a jail cell.

Watch the clip below:

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