Donald Trump could shoot someone in the middle of New York’s Fifth Avenue and skirt criminal charges as long as he’s president, Trump’s attorney told a federal appeals court on Wednesday.
William Consovoy, who is representing Trump in a dispute over the president’s tax returns, told U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin that Trump could not be indicted if he shot someone.
“Nothing could be done? That’s your position?” Chin asked Consovoy.
“That is correct. That is correct,” Consovoy responded.
The “Fifth Avenue” example is a reference to Trump’s declaration in January 2016 that he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” without losing any voters.
Rudy Giuliani, who serves as Trump’s personal attorney, told HuffPost last year that Trump couldn’t be indicted even if he shot former FBI Director James Comey.
“I don’t know how you can indict while he’s in office. No matter what it is,” Giuliani said. “If he shot James Comey, he’d be impeached the next day. Impeach him, and then you can do whatever you want to do to him.”
The three judges on the panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit appeared skeptical that Trump could block District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office from accessing Trump’s tax returns through a subpoena, The New York Times reported.
The Justice Department’s longstanding position is that federal prosecutors cannot indict a sitting president, an issue that impacted Robert Mueller’s special counsel report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mueller said in May that because a president “cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office” that charging Trump with a crime was “not an option we could consider.”
When Mueller testified before the House Judiciary Committee in July, a number of Republicans argued that ― because federal prosecutors couldn’t indict Trump ― that Mueller and federal authorities never should have investigated Trump’s conduct in the first place.
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