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Mueller may not indict Trump, but the president still isn’t above the law

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President Trump has nothing to worry about with Robert Mueller’s investigation, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday, because the special counsel won’t charge the president with any crimes. The most Mueller can and will do under Justice Department policy, according to Giuliani, is publish a report.

“All they get to do is write a report,” Giuliani said. “They can’t indict. At least they acknowledged that to us after some battling, they acknowledged that to us.”

But why can’t the special counsel, whose investigation is entering its second year, indict the president?

The answer dates back to the Nixon administration, when punishments were defined for presidents accused of wrongdoing. Nearly 50 years of Justice Department legal analysis has found that impeachment, not criminal prosecution, is the most serious punishment possible for sitting presidents. Only once a president is impeached or otherwise removed from office can he or she face criminal charges.

Justice Department lawyers have addressed this question four main times: first during the federal extortion investigation of Vice President Spiro Agnew, then during the Watergate scandal of President Richard Nixon, then most recently during President Bill Clinton’s tenure. With the exception of the Watergate prosecutors, department officials agreed that a sitting president couldn’t be indicted.

President Trump has nothing to worry about with Robert Mueller’s investigation, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday, because the special counsel won’t charge the president with any crimes. The most Mueller can and will do under Justice Department policy, according to Giuliani, is publish a report.

“All they get to do is write a report,” Giuliani said. “They can’t indict. At least they acknowledged that to us after some battling, they acknowledged that to us.”

But why can’t the special counsel, whose investigation is entering its second year, indict the president?

The answer dates back to the Nixon administration, when punishments were defined for presidents accused of wrongdoing. Nearly 50 years of Justice Department legal analysis has found that impeachment, not criminal prosecution, is the most serious punishment possible for sitting presidents. Only once a president is impeached or otherwise removed from office can he or she face criminal charges.

Justice Department lawyers have addressed this question four main times: first during the federal extortion investigation of Vice President Spiro Agnew, then during the Watergate scandal of President Richard Nixon, then most recently during President Bill Clinton’s tenure. With the exception of the

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https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/evkne4/mueller-may-not-indict-trump-but-the-president-still-isnt-above-the-law

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