WASHINGTON, D.C., December 13, 2018 – In the latest edition of Yeomans Work, AFJ Senior Justice Fellow Bill Yeomans writes that President Trump may be only two quarters of economic contraction away from impeachment. In the wake of the Michael Cohen sentencing and with an incoming Democratic House set to investigate Trump’s actions, Yeomans notes that any softening in the economy might be the final straw for Republicans who have publicly supported Trump until now. Meanwhile, he writes, resignation and indictment — or the threat of it — remain two other ways that the Trump presidency could end before the expiration of his first term.
Yeomans writes that although Justice Department policy precludes indictment of a sitting president, a president can be indicted after leaving office. He adds that the statute of limitations may not have run out on some of Trump’s possible crimes if he leaves office in January 2021. Citing “the Agnew precedent,” in which Vice President Spiro Agnew made a deal with prosecutors that included his own resignation, Yeomans notes, “The presidency gives Trump powerful leverage to cut a deal with prosecutors who feel urgency to bring him to justice. He could trade his resignation for an agreement that might prevent his incarceration after he leaves office.”
At the same time, the incoming House leadership should begin in January by investigating all evidence of collusion, obstruction of justice, and campaign finance violations by Trump. But they should not rush to tee up articles of impeachment right away. “Movement toward impeachment must be a process based on hearings, depositions, and the collection of documents that will build on and complement Mueller’s efforts,” Yeomans says. “It must be a process that educates the public and develops an unassailable record.”
Yeomans Work focuses on the challenges to the justice system in the era of Trump. Bill Yeomans is available for media interviews. Contact Laurie Kinney, Communications Director, at [email protected] or 202-464-7367.