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 1:57 PM
Updated: Dec 13, 2018 2:02 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."

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 246550

Reported Deaths: 6265
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1077923457
Riverside18720465
San Diego15207377
Orange15065354
San Bernardino13152265
Imperial6824100
Alameda6384138
Fresno562677
Kern493977
Santa Clara4750159
Tulare4521133
San Joaquin429855
San Francisco371950
Sacramento355969
San Mateo3376108
Contra Costa332678
Santa Barbara326129
Ventura324047
Kings258332
Marin244619
Stanislaus239144
Monterey174815
Solano147625
Sonoma12299
Merced120811
Placer75411
San Luis Obispo6752
Yolo58324
Madera5665
Santa Cruz4103
Napa3444
San Benito2572
Lassen2340
Butte2063
El Dorado2060
Sutter2063
Humboldt1384
Shasta1354
Nevada1231
Glenn1220
Yuba1031
Tehama881
Lake850
Mendocino850
Colusa700
Calaveras530
Del Norte511
Tuolumne430
Mono411
Inyo321
Siskiyou310
Mariposa271
Amador260
Plumas110
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 73°
Oroville
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 74°
Paradise
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 73°
Chester
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 69°
Red Bluff
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 75°
Willows
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 73°
Mostly sunny skies and slightly cooler temperatures are expected for your Friday. We'll be mostly sunny and a little warmer through your 4th of July weekend.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events