CNN Wildly Speculates About Trump Being Indicted Under New President in 2021

June 8th, 2019 2:42 PM

When I appeared on Fox on Friday morning, we talked about how the "news" is too often wild speculation about Trump's doom. This was my latest example: on Thursday afternoon, Curtis Houck told me about CNN's Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin, as the host asked legal analyst Renato Mariotti to explain an article he wrote for Politico magazine gleefully exploring "How Trump Could Be Prosecuted After the White House," arguing that "winning the election might be Trump’s best path to avoid being charged with a felony." 

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BALDWIN: So, Renato, if we take Speaker Pelosi at her word, it assumes, number one, that he doesn't get reelected in 2020, and, number two, that a prosecutor would indict him on the evidence in the Mueller report or perhaps other ongoing investigations. And so you wrote this piece in Politico about what that could look like. How might this play out?

MARIOTTI: Well, what I would expect is a Democratic president, if -- I assume he or she would leave that to the attorney general. There's a pretty broad consensus amongst federal prosecutors, former federal prosecutors that you have highly prosecutable evidence in the Mueller report of obstruction of justice.

Sally Yates, for example, who might be the next attorney general, said publicly that she thought Trump would be indicted if he was not president. So what I would expect is an indictment, at least a three- count indictment for obstruction of justice for Trump trying to fire Mueller, trying to limit the scope of the investigation, and then trying to get the former White House counsel to create a false record.

I think those three are very, very strong charges. Notably, McGahn told Trump it would be obstruction of justice beforehand, or it could be obstruction of justice. And he went ahead and did it anyway. And that's about a strong evidence as you can get, if your lawyer tells you...

BALDWIN: You don't think some president -- I have had other former federal prosecutors sit up here and say no way. If someone else gets elected, they're a Democrat. They just don't want to walk down that path. It will just be over. You don't see it that way?

MARIOTTI: Well, that's a political judgment. I would say, as a legal matter, I think, yes, it's clear.

BALDWIN: Got you. I got you.

MARIOTTI: But the question is, would -- well, let me ask you this. Would what Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren or any of them want to say -- order their attorney general not to prosecute?

BALDWIN: I take your point. I take your point.

CNN's Gloria Borger added she didn't know what a President Biden might do, he might say "the country needs to move past this, which is what Gerald Ford did in pardoning Nixon." She added "My legal question would be, what about a statute of limitations on a lot of these things?" 

Mariotti replied "Exactly. That's why this election matters so much to President Trump. The statute of limitations would run if he gets reelected. It would not run if he if he loses, so he's all in on this reelection bid. A lot is riding on it."