President Donald Trump can be indicted after leaving office, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller said.
In an open hearing before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday, Mueller was asked about the possibility of indicting Trump by both Democrats and Republicans.
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., asked Mueller whether there was “sufficient evidence” to convict Trump or anyone else with obstruction of justice.
“We did not make that calculation,” Mueller replied.
The former special counsel explained the Department of Justice’s Office Legal Counsel (OLC) opinion indicates that a sitting president cannot be indicted.
Buck then asked Mueller whether the president could be charged with a crime after leaving office.
“Yes,” Mueller said in response.
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., reiterated the question to Mueller shortly after Buck’s time was up.
“The reason, again, that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of OLC opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?” Lieu asked Mueller.
That is correct, Mueller replied.
However, Mueller later clarified his statements in an appearance before the House Intelligence Committee, saying OLC policy prevented him from making a determination on whether Trump should be charged.
In that same committee’s hearing, Mueller restated what his report concluded: Russia intended to help elect Trump president in the 2016 election.
Bringing a close U.S. ally into a highly-charged, partisan atmosphere, the ranking member of the committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., brought an enlarged photograph of Joseph Mifsud into the hearing.
Mifsud is an academic with alleged connections to the Russian government, and he appeared in the photo alongside British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was appointed Wednesday.
“What we’re trying to figure out here, Mr. Mueller, is if our NATO allies — or Boris Johnson — have been compromised,” Nunes said.
The United Kingdom is a member of NATO.
A YouGov poll released Wednesday, conducted before Wednesday’s hearings, found 40% of Americans agree the House “should try to impeach” Trump. 43% said the House “should not try to impeach” Trump.
Following the latest developments, several Democratic presidential candidates again called for the impeachment of Trump, or for impeachment hearings to begin.
Of the four candidates polling in double digits, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average, Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts both called for the House to begin impeachment proceedings.
The other two leading candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Vice President Joe Biden, made no new comments on impeachment.