Regarding the May 17 news article “Giuliani: Mueller says a sitting president can’t be indicted”:
It is critical to avoid oversimplifying the issue of whether a sitting president can be indicted. While Rudolph W. Giuliani, a lawyer for President Trump, may have said Mr. Trump cannot be indicted, the Justice Department’s 2000 opinion “A Sitting President’s Amenability to Indictment and Criminal Prosecution” is hardly dispositive on the issue of presidential immunity from criminal prosecution. It merely expresses an opinion that a sitting president cannot constitutionally be indicted or tried because such an indictment would undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its functions. That should not be confused with settled law.
In Clinton v. Jones (1997), the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the argument by then-President Bill Clinton’s attorneys that a civil trial would unduly impair a president’s ability to carry out his duties.
Clearly, the special counsel can indict Mr. Trump. If he did, it would depart from Justice’s existing guidance, leaving the ultimate resolution of such an indictment to the courts. Historically, the Supreme Court has affirmed the principle that no one is above the law, suggesting a foundation upon which the court might uphold the constitutionality of an indictment of a president. Until the court settles this issue, Justice’s legal opinion does not represent settled law or a definitive legal boundary.
Holly Stallworth, Silver Spring