By: Hadassa Kalatizadeh
New York lawmakers are proposing new legislation to make it more difficult for President Trump to avoid state prosecution. As reported by the NY Post, the “No Citizen Is Above the Law” legislation, if passed, will apply to any sitting president accused of criminal activity now and in the future.
Under the current law, a sitting president has some immunity from arrest and prosecution, due to a 1973 Justice department memo and another from 2000, interpreting the US constitution. This can also save the president after his term ends, as the statute of limitations could expire in the meantime, prohibiting prosecutors from bringing criminal charges after the time limit.
The proposed bill would essentially stop the clock on the limitations period until the president leaves office, to keep it from expiring. “Donald Trump is trying to run out the clock on all these investigations. We want to make sure he doesn’t succeed in escaping accountability because the clock on the statute of limitations has run out,” said Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens), who introduced the bill along with Assemblyman Nick Perry (D-Brooklyn).
“Clearly the privileges of the Office of president were not intended to make the holder of the office above the law, and was not intended to empower a president with the ability to thwart and sabotage an active, legitimate investigation as New York prosecutors have accused the president of doing,” said Perry. He added that the extending the statute of limitations for the presidents’ full term will ensure that “he like every other New York citizen will be held to account for all crimes against the people and state of New York.”
As per the Post, some experts expect the bill to pass, being that Democrats currently control both the Assembly and Senate, and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo will probably agree as well. However, Ed Cox, a Trump campaign official in New York, was confident that the law would be struck down as unconstitutional. “It is aimed at one person — Donald Trump. You can’t do that,” said lawyer Cox. “They don’t like Donald Trump and what he stands for. It’s all political. He’s been too good a conservative,” Cox added.