Lock Him Up? Trump's misconduct in office could lead to criminal prosecution.

AuthorBlum, Bill
PositionPresident Donald Trump - Essay

A part from the somewhat comical 1872 arrest of President Ulysses S. Grant by a District of Columbia police officer for driving his carriage through the streets of Georgetown at an excessive speed, no American President has ever been charged with committing a crime. Grant was taken to a local police station, where he paid a fine, and was released.

In 1974, Richard Nixon came perilously close to prosecution when a federal grand jury named him as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Watergate cover-up. Nixon was later preemptively pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford, for all Watergate-related federal crimes.

But what about Donald Trump? Should the man considered by many to be the most corrupt chief executive in our nation's history be held accountable, either under federal or New York State law, for what appears to be a lifetime of crime?

Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner, now a legal analyst with NBC and MSNBC, offers an unequivocal answer.

"Trump's career as President has been criminal from start to finish," Kirschner says. "I, for one, could prove a variety of [his] crimes in my sleep if given the opportunity"

According to Kirschner, an indictment against Trump might start with the charge of "conspiracy to defraud the United States," as set forth in Section 371 of Title 18 of the United States Code. This statute, which he notes "has the beauty of being listed on the Department of Justice website," stipulates that conspiracies are considered complete when one or more of the co-conspirators takes an "overt act" to further the objectives of the conspiracy. In Trump's world, he explains, "The number of conspiracies is practically endless."

Trump's presidential conspiracies may have commenced during the 2016 election campaign, when he allegedly instructed Michael Cohen, his former attorney and personal fixer, to pay hush money to two women--pornstar Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal--with whom he had extramarital affairs. In 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to making the Daniels and McDougal payoffs in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act. Harkening back to Nixon, the complaint lodged against Cohen treated Trump, dubbed "Individual-1," as the instigator of the plan.

The conspiracy continued after the election into the summer of 2017, Kirschner says, because Trump reimbursed Cohen for fronting the money to Daniels and McDougal after he became President, thus impairing the functions of the Federal Election...

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