Lately, there has been a lot of debate over whether Trump has broken any laws while in office or not. From a legal standpoint, it’s not really a question at all. The man seems to have a wanton disregard (or ignorance) of the law matched by few individuals who have sought public office before now. But which laws has our president broken? Which laws have his business associates and partners broken? Could he be put into prison?
Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel wrote their interpretation of Trump’s phone conversation with Ukraine: “Donald Trump should not have been on the phone with a foreign head of state encouraging another country to investigate his political opponent, Joe Biden. Some Republicans are trying, but there’s no way to spin this as a good idea.”
Others aren’t bothering to spin Trump’s actions as “good,” but they are arguing that they aren’t impeachable (hint: they are most definitely both illegal and impeachable). Carlson and Patel are counted among this elite group of “he’s higher than the law” naysayers.
But no one is — not really. The country has proved it with past impeachments.
Here are just a few of the laws that both Trump and his partners have blatantly broken:
- Coercion of Political Activity. The relevant statute says: “It shall be unlawful for any person to intimidate, threaten, command, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, command, or coerce, any employee of the Federal Government…to engage in, or not to engage in, any political activity, including, but not limited to, voting or refusing to vote for any candidate or measure in any election, making or refusing to make any political contribution, or working or refusing to work on behalf of any candidate.”
- Refusal of Witness to Testify or Produce Papers. The relevant statute says: “Every person who having been summoned as a witness by the authority of either House of Congress…who refuses to answer any question pertinent to the question under inquiry, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.” This statute requires mandatory jail time.
- Extortion by Officers or Employees of the United States. The relevant statute says: “An officer, or employee of the United States or any department or agency thereof…representing himself to be or assuming to act as such, under color or pretense of office or employment commits or attempts an act of extortion.”
Articles of impeachment could be drafted for any number of other infractions, ranging from alleged sexual assault before his presidency even transpired, or multiple occurrences of obstructing, or attempting to obstruct, justice when it did. And truth be told, a few unexpected articles of impeachment probably will be written up, if for no other reason than this president’s flagrant disregard for American values is truly without precedent.
The penalty for laws he’s broken? Decades imprisonment.