Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Friday set out to change a decades-old rule which allows a U.S. president to abuse power in any number of ways without being held accountable.
In a Medium post titled “No President Is Above the Law,” the Massachusetts Democrat called on lawmakers to pass legislation that would allow for the indictment of a sitting president—a measure that would have allowed Special Counsel Robert Mueller to act on his decision not to exonerate President Donald Trump.
“Donald Trump believes that he can violate the law, and he believes that the role of the Department of Justice is to help him get away with it,” Warren wrote. “That’s not how our country is supposed to work.”
Warren’s newest proposal came two days after Mueller delivered a statement to the press about his report on Trump’s 2016 campaign and his alleged attempts to obstruct justice during Mueller’s two-year investigation. The special counsel reiterated that he was not confident that the president did not commit a crime, but pointed to a Watergate-era statute which prohibited him from bringing charges against Trump.
“Mueller’s statement made clear what those of us who have read his report already knew: He’s referring President Trump for impeachment, and it’s up to Congress to act,” wrote Warren. “But impeachment isn’t supposed to be the only way that a president can be held accountable for committing a crime. That’s why I’ve got a plan to make sure that no president is above the law.”
“Congress should make it clear that the president can be held accountable for violating the law, just like everyone else.”
—Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Under Warren’s plan, Congress would pass legislation clarifying that the Department of Justice (DOJ) can indict a sitting president. The new law would negate a determination made by the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel in 1973 that a criminal case against the president would be detrimental to the country, leaving Congress only with the option of impeaching a president in the case of criminal wrongdoing.
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