Donald Trump’s latest indictment “could put a foundational American legal theory to the test: that no one is above the law,” writes Michael Wilner in an op-ed for the Miami Herald.
Trump was indicted on Tuesday on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempting to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights. According to Wilner, Special Counsel Jack Smith’s case against the former president “could set a historic legal precedent on presidential power.”
Speaking to the Herald, Bowdoin College professor of government Andrew Rudalevige said that the U.S. government has “never quite tested that no person is above the law, to this degree.”
“It’s a harder case to bring and to prove, but also one that goes more fundamentally to the basic worry over whether former President Trump adheres to democratic principles,” he said.
While the Justice Department contends that sitting presidents are immune from prosecution, legal experts aren’t so sure.
“A grand jury named Nixon an unindicted co-conspirator for his activities as president related to the Watergate scandal, exposing him to charges after he left office,” writes Wilner. “Gerald Ford’s decision to pardon him was predicated on an assumption that Nixon faced criminal exposure after leaving office. And in 1997, during the Clinton administration, the Supreme Court ruled that a sitting president is not immune from civil lawsuits over activity unrelated to the duties of the presidency.”
Read the full op-ed at the Miami Herald.