Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) argued that not prosecuting Trump would be precedent-setting and send the message that presidents are above the law.
Intelligence Committee Chairman Schiff said on CBS’s Face The Nation, “For four years the Justice Department took the position that you can’t indict a sitting president. If the department were to take the position that you can’t investigate or indict a former president, then the president becomes above the law. That’s a very dangerous idea that the founders would never have subscribed to. Even more dangerous in the case of Donald Trump. Donald Trump is someone who has shown when he’s not held accountable, he goes on to commit worse and worse abuses of power. I agree with judge Carter in California. I think there’s evidence the former president engaged in multiple violations of the law and that should be investigated.”
When Schiff was asked about the dangers of indicting a former a president in a deeply divided country, he answered, “ You know, it’s certainly not a step to be taken lightly at all. At the same time, immunizing a former president who has engaged in wrongdoing I would agree with the vice chair is more dangerous than anything else. And the decision not to move forward with an investigation or not to move forward with the prosecution because of someone’s political status or political influence or because they have a following, to me that is a far more dangerous thing to our constitution than following the evidence wherever it leads, including when it leads to a former president.”
Chairman Schiff was correct on both points. Not investigating Trump will send him the message that he can escalate his lawlessness with no consequences. After Trump got away with the Russia scandal, he tried to blackmail Ukraine into digging up dirt on Joe Biden.
The message will be that current and former presidents are above the law if Trump is not prosecuted. If a jury finds Trump not guilty, at least he would be held accountable and put through the justice system. Not prosecuting him sets up a country where some people are officially above the law, and that idea creates a much larger threat than any unrest that derives from prosecuting Trump.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association