Rudy Giuliani is adamant that Donald Trump is simply unable to be prosecuted while serving as President of the United States. In Giuliani’s mind, even if he shot FBI Director James Comey—which, for Trump, would put a swifter end to the Russia investigation than firing Comey—he’d merely be impeached, and would only then, as a citizen, feasibly face prosecution for his actions.
According to an interview with HuffPost, Giuliani claims that only impeachment could legally bring Trump down—and that any arguably warranted prosecution resulting from Comey’s investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia’s U.S. election interference would have to first shift Trump from the Presidency to the status of a civilian. To do so, using Giuliani’s wildly disconcerting example, Trump would first have to shoot Comey, to then be impeached, and then be prosecuted for his actions.
“In no case can he be subpoenaed or indicted,” said Giuliani. “I don’t know how you can indict while he’s in office. No matter what it is.” While this is a pretty bold and inaccurate statement, Giuliani’s follow-up is even more alarming. “If he shot James Comey, he’d be impeached the next day,” he said. “Impeach him, and then you can do whatever you want to do to him.”
Giuliani is quick to maintain that the President’s constitutional powers protect him from all kinds of criminal prosecution or indictment by the intelligence community, but he is, of course, wrong. This kind of terribly uneducated—or worse, purposefully inaccurate—rhetoric by Trump’s attorneys might get past the casual TV viewer between commercials, but not Norm Eisen, White House ethics lawyer for the Obama administration.
“A president could not be prosecuted for murder? Really?” Eisen said. “It is one of many absurd positions that follow from their argument. It is self-evidently wrong. The foundation of America is that no person is above the law. A president can under extreme circumstances be indicted, but we’re facing extreme circumstances.”
Giuliani’s statements arrive one day after The New York Times discovered that Trump’s lawyers argued the following notion to special counsel Robert Mueller: Trump couldn’t possibly obstruct justice, ever, because he can shut any investigation down, at anytime, anyway.
“He could, if he wished, terminated the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired,” Jay Sekulow and John Dowd wrote in a 20-page letter. Dowd, of course, exited the President’s legal team only to be replaced by Giuliani. Oddly enough, that same letter includes an admission that Trump “dictated” a statement for his son, Donald Trump Jr., to release, which regarded a 2016 Trump Tower meeting between top-tier Trump campaign officials and Russian individuals linked to Russia’s spy agencies.
“In this investigation, the crimes are really silly,” said Giuliani, adding that firing Comey in 2017 can’t possibly be an obstruction of justice, since Trump has the right to fire anyone, anytime, for any reason. “This is pure harassment, engineered by the Democrats.”