Schiff: DOJ should re-examine guidance

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) says the Department of Justice should re-examine the guidance that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

Posted: Dec 13, 2018 4:47 PM
Updated: Dec 13, 2018 5:02 PM

Rep. Adam Schiff argued Wednesday that the Department of Justice "needs to re-examine" the Office of Legal Counsel's opinion that a sitting US president should not be indicted.

"I think the Justice Department needs to re-examine that OLC opinion, the Office of Legal Counsel opinion, that you cannot indict a sitting president under circumstances in which the failure to do so may mean that person escapes justice," Schiff said Wednesday in an interview on CNN's "Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

Schiff, the likely incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN there should be an exception to the Office of Legal Counsel's opinion if a president leaves office and "can no longer be brought to justice."

"I don't think that the Justice Department ought to take the position -- and it's certainly not one that would be required in any way by the Constitution -- that a president merely by being in office can be above the law ... by waiting out the statute of limitations," Schiff told CNN.

That a sitting president cannot be indicted has been the position of the Office of Legal Counsel since the Nixon administration and was reaffirmed in the Clinton administration, but it has never been tested in court.

The office's guidance, issued in 2000, says: "The indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions."

It had been an open question whether, if investigators found potentially criminal evidence against President Donald Trump, special counsel Robert Mueller's team would try to challenge those Justice Department guidelines.

Schiff told CNN it's "very likely" that Mueller will adhere to the guidance. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told CNN in May that Mueller's team had conveyed to Trump's lawyers that it has concluded it cannot indict a sitting president.

Schiff's comments came the same day that Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison. Cohen had pleaded guilty to nine criminal counts, including two campaign finance violations tied to hush money paid to women who alleged affairs with Trump, which Cohen says he made at Trump's behest.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CNN Wednesday that he'll be asking the Office of Legal Counsel "for an opinion that in effect retracts its prior opinion indicating that the president cannot be indicted."

"I believe very strongly that the president, himself, can be indicted," the Connecticut Democrat said in an interview on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32078

Reported Deaths: 2004
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9268539
Lake3320168
Cass15826
Allen130966
St. Joseph120534
Hendricks113067
Hamilton111592
Johnson1086104
Elkhart105728
Madison58258
Porter49021
Bartholomew48133
Clark46138
LaPorte41522
Tippecanoe3753
Jackson3671
Howard36519
Delaware35735
Hancock32127
Shelby31521
Floyd31438
Boone28835
Morgan26224
Vanderburgh2482
Montgomery23117
White2268
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Grant19121
Noble18921
Harrison18721
Dubois1852
Greene16724
Warrick16426
Dearborn16421
Henry1619
Monroe16011
Vigo1477
Lawrence14423
Miami1391
Putnam1337
Jennings1274
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Kosciusko941
Carroll922
Daviess8216
Steuben802
Marshall761
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne715
Fayette684
LaGrange602
Jasper581
Washington521
Fulton471
Rush452
Jay440
Randolph433
Jefferson411
Whitley402
Pulaski390
Clay391
Owen341
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
DeKalb311
Perry260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton251
Benton250
Wells240
Crawford230
Blackford211
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Spencer171
Posey170
Parke170
Gibson142
Ohio130
Warren121
Adams121
Vermillion90
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0154
West Lafayette
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 72°
Kokomo
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 71°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Williamsport
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 72°
Crawfordsville
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 65°
Frankfort
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 70°
Delphi
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 69°
Monticello
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 69°
Logansport
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Some more storms ahead....
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events