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The President Isn’t Too Important to be Indicted

Throughout American history, progressives, conservatives and others have read into the U.S. Constitution things they have wanted to be in there but just aren’t. Some of those “others” have included unelected bureaucrats.

Recently, with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign and the Justice Department’s Southern District of New York’s companion investigation into the Trump camp’s alleged illegal payoff of two women during that same campaign, the question of whether a sitting president can be indicted has once again surfaced (the previous times were Richard Nixon in the early 1970s and Bill Clinton around the turn of the millennium).

In both 1973 and 2000, the Justice Department issued policy decrees that a sitting president couldn’t be indicted. What might the Constitution’s framers say about this bureaucratic proclamation?

Ivan Eland is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at the Independent Institute. Dr. Eland is a graduate of Iowa State University and received an M.B.A. in applied economics and Ph.D. in national security policy from George Washington University. He spent 15 years working for Congress on national security issues, including stints as an investigator for the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Principal Defense Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office.

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