President Trump is heading to a Florida court room Tuesday to be indicted by a federal grand jury over his handling of classified documents that were found at his Mar-a-Lago home. An ABC News poll found that 48% of Americans believe Trump should be charged, but Trump has maintained that he is innocent of the charges and will run in 2024, even if convicted.
How serious are the charges the 45th President faces, and can he still run if he is indicted, or even convicted? Anna Cominsky, a professor of law at New York Law School appeared on 710 WOR’s Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning program to break down the charges and their ramifications in simple terms, starting with the allegations.
“It’s not just that Mr. Trump is alleged to have these documents,” Cominsky explained to Berman and Riedel. “It’s that he is alleged to have willfully retained them, which means that he purposely kept them, that he was not returning them when he needed to return them. And then, the other allegations are that, in addition to willfully retaining them, that he- again, allegedly- made an effort to conceal the documents from lawful authorities, and so, that’s really where you see the difference from ‘oh, whoops, these got mixed in with my family photos and I didn’t mean to have them’ with now having an indictment stemming from them.”
As to the issue of whether Trump can still run for a second term if indicted and convicted, Cominsky stated the Constitution says he could, in fact, do so. “The Constitution actually has very few requirements with respect to what qualifications someone must possess to be able to run for and become president if they are ultimately voted in, and they’re very simple. The person has to be a natural-born citizen, they have to be at least 35 years old, and they have to have resided in the United States for a certain period of time, and Mr. Trump qualifies, under the Constitution. So, being indicted does not disqualify him. Even if he is convicted, that doesn’t disqualify him and in fact, even if he was in prison, that wouldn’t disqualify him.”
And, if convicted, could Trump actually pardon himself? Cominsky added simply, “You could imagine the issues that may arise because, with respect to the federal case, Mr. Trump would have the ability, at least theoretically, to tell the Department of Justice that they have to drop the case.”
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