On Thursday, the Senate’s most senior Republican made a stunning statement, suggesting that Donald Trump can indeed face criminal charges after he leaves office, regardless of whether or not Special Counsel Robert Mueller decides to indict him while in office.
CNN’s Manu Raju reportedly questioned Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) regarding the possibility of charges being pursued against Trump following reports that former New York City Mayor and current Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani stated that Mueller should adhere to Justice Department policy which allegedly prohibits indicting a sitting president.
Raju reported, via Twitter, that Hatch suggested Trump could “maybe” face criminal indictment after leaving office. However, the senator was quick to state that he did not “personally” support that action.
“Maybe afterwards. My personal belief is there should not even be an attempt – whoever is president,” Hatch said.
Orrin Hatch, most senior Republican in Senate, said this to me about whether Trump can be indicted: “Maybe afterwards. My personal belief is there should not even be an attempt – whoever is president ….an indictment would just be an attempt to “mess things” up with a president
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 17, 2018
Before Hatch’s ominous remark, numerous Republicans spoke both openly and anonymously about the possibility of Trump’s impeachment as a result of Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia which led to unlawful foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election.
But now we could be seeing the start of an escalation of the severity of consequences some GOP lawmakers now believe Trump could be facing as a result of the Russia investigation. For a senior Republican senator to suggest that a sitting Republican president could be subject to criminal prosecution shows how seriously high-ranking Republican leadership is taking the inquiry Trump often characterizes as a partisan “witch hunt.”
Right now, Republicans face a critical midterm election that threatens their grip on power in Washington, and with more and more negative revelations about Trump and those who serve under him coming to light, it’s not inconceivable that GOP leadership are seriously considering “Plan B.” Now whether that plan involves Vice President Mike Pence or a primary challenger in 2020 is anyone’s guess, but one thing is certain — things are not looking good for Donald Trump.