House Judiciary Committee Democrats on Friday introduced a bill that would ensure presidents can be held accountable for alleged criminal conduct — a direct swipe at the White House amid the heated battle over Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
The legislation, introduced by committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. and committee members Reps. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., and Ted Deutch, D-Fla., would pause the statute of limitations for any alleged federal offenses committed by a sitting president, whether it was committed before or during the president’s term in office.
“No person can be permitted to evade accountability for their actions just because they happen to be president,” Nadler said in a statement on Friday. “I have concerns with the Justice Department interpretation that a sitting president cannot be indicted, but if that is the policy, a president who commits a crime before or during their term in office, could exploit this loophole and avoid prosecution just because the statute of limitations has run out. This is unacceptable. The presidency is not a get-out-of-jail-free card.”
The Justice Department has a longstanding policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted. Swalwell said he disagreed with that legal opinion, and said Congress “can step up right now and change the law” to make sure “no president can evade punishment just by running out the clock.”
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