Rep. Jamie Raskin (D., Md.) said on Friday that President Donald Trump has committed at least one crime and could be prosecuted in the future.
“There was, perhaps, multiple crimes committed by this president,” Raskin told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. He added that the impeachment report includes “lots of factual evidence that could lead to prosecution of the president later.”
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Blitzer and Raskin also discussed the Republican defenses of President Trump during the impeachment process.
“The articles of impeachment cite high crimes and misdemeanors committed by the president. The Republicans argue, unlike Nixon and Bill Clinton, there was no actual crime committed by this president,” Blitzer said.
“The Republicans seem to be suggesting that there needs to be a statutory crime and prosecution before there’s a constitutional crime and impeachment,” Raskin said. “That is not at all the intent of the Framers and that’s not what has happened before. Bill Clinton had not been prosecuted before. Richard Nixon hadn’t been prosecuted before.”
The Democrat said that constitutional offenses are separate from crimes and argued that abuse of power and obstruction of Congress violate the Constitution.
During President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, Republicans charged that Clinton had committed and suborned perjury regarding his sexual relationship with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
The Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel’s guidelines have held that “the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions.”
Raskin criticized Republicans for trying to have it both ways on their impeachment defense. “You can never prosecute the president, you can’t indict the president while he’s in office, but you can’t impeach him either, because you haven’t prosecuted or indicted him yet,” he said. “I think everybody will see the phoniness of that argument.”
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