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Justice Dept. has ‘no choice’ but to charge Trump if he loses in 2020

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said the Justice Department would have “no choice” but to charge President Donald Trump with obstruction of justice if he finished his term without being impeached.

Speaking with NPR’s Scott Detrow in an interview published Wednesday, Harris said special counsel Robert Mueller essentially set the stage for criminal charges against Trump with his investigation into the 2016 election. Longstanding Justice Department policy says that a sitting president cannot be indicted, and Harris said that was essentially the only reason Mueller did not charge Trump.

All that would change in 2021 if the Democratic presidential hopeful were in the White House and the Justice Department were under her watch, she said.

“I believe that they would have no choice, and that they should,” Harris said of the Justice Department’s charging Trump with obstruction. “I believe there should be accountability. Everyone should be held accountable. And the president is not above the law.”

Harris has openly called for Trump’s impeachment following the release of the Mueller report, which did not absolve the president of obstructing FBI efforts to look into his 2016 campaign. During his first public statement since the release of his report, Mueller said that if his team had had “confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”

Several other Democratic candidates for 2020 have also called for Trump’s impeachment, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

Harris told Detrow “the facts and the evidence will take the process where it leads,” and didn’t explicitly say whether the president had committed a crime. But she did advocate for the justice process to be carried out regardless of Trump’s office.

On the side of Supreme Court is written “equal justice under law,” said Harris, a former California attorney general. “It doesn’t say except for the president. There you go.”


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