George’s “Good-Bye Trump” Scenario
Charles and I are inching a bit closer together. However, once again I must differ with a point Charles raised.
Whether or not a sitting president can be brought to trial on criminal charges is often debated but it is not settled law. It has never been adjudicated. It came close in the Watergate scandal but, in United States vs Nixon, the Warren court decided that it could deny Nixon’s ability to use executive privilege without addressing the broader issue of whether or not criminal charges could be brought against him. This was an 8-0 decision.
The US Supreme Court has ruled that a sitting president can be sued for civil damages. This occurred as a result of the suit filed by Paula Jones against Bill Clinton and led to a large cash settlement with Jones.
Whether or not this is precident for bringing criminal charges is debatable.
While constitutional scholars differ on whether criminal charges can be brought against a sitting president, there is general agreement that such charges can be filed after impeachment or departure from office. This is what led Gerald Ford to pardon Nixon after he resigned.
Having been an activist in my opposition to Nixon, I followed United States vs Nixon quite closely. Excellent briefs on both sides of the issue of whether or not criminal charges can be brought were filed by James St Clair (Nixon’s lawyer) and Leon Jaworski (the Watergate Special Prosecutor). I am going to have to read these again.
Will it come to criminal charges being filed against the Orange Buffoon? Possibility. But my instincts favor a different scenario.
Namely, criminal charges are brought against one or more of Trump’s family members or close confidants. Either before or after trial, Trump’s unrestrained arrogance leads him to issue pardons. This pushes sufficient House GOP members to vote for impeachment. Trump resigns. Pence pardons Trump citing the Gerald Ford precedent. Trump’s pradons stand. No one serves a day in prison.