James Risen on Prosecuting the President and Why Press Needs to Fight Back

In the wake of President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen’s plea deal and former campaign manager Paul Manafort’s guilty verdict, many are advocating for Trump’s impeachment. We speak with The Intercept’s James Risen, who says lawmakers should indict Trump and prosecute him in a federal court.

AMY GOODMAN: And finally, Jim, you just wrote a piece this week called “Is Donald Trump Above the Law?” Explain. And talk about your call for a Trump Project.

JAMES RISEN: Yeah, I wrote in this latest piece that, you know, there’s this long-standing tradition, based partly on legal opinions issued by the Justice Department over the last few decades, in which it’s believed that the Justice Department cannot indict and prosecute a sitting president and that the only available option is impeachment in Congress. But it’s clear now that the Republicans in Congress are not going to ever go along with an impeachment, no matter what Robert Mueller and the special counsel find. Even if the Democrats retake the House, and even if they retook the Senate, it’s highly unlikely they would have the votes in the Senate for a conviction on an impeachment. And so, the only real avenue, I believe, to deal with the criminality of Donald Trump is to indict him and prosecute him in a federal court. And I think that the prosecutors, both in New York, who have dealt with the Cohen matter, and Mueller’s special counsel office, should both consider indicting him for what are very obviously criminal activity, criminal matters. And the —

AMY GOODMAN: And you think the most obvious part of the criminal matters are what? What do you think is criminal?

JAMES RISEN: Well, I think this week what we got was Donald Trump’s former lawyer, personal lawyer, revealing, admitting in court, that the felony he just pled guilty to was a conspiracy that he — that was coordinated and directed by Donald Trump. He said…

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