Washington

After Senate acquittal, Democrats don’t rule out criminal prosecution of Trump


Following the U.S. Senate’s acquittal of former President Donald Trump, Democrats are leaving open the possibility that prosecutors may pursue him for criminal charges related to the events surrounding the Jan. 6 deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.

House impeachment manager Stacey E. Plaskett, the delegate for the U.S. Virgin Islands, said Sunday she thinks Democratic leaders will decide whether to engage with prosecutors in pursuit of Mr. Trump.

Asked on CNN whether any plans exist to contact the Justice Department or the D.C. attorney general, Ms. Plaskett deferred to her party’s leadership.

“I’m sure leadership are going to be having those discussions,” Ms. Plaskett told CNN. “And God bless the attorney general of Georgia, New York, district attorney’s office here in D.C. as well.”

Rep. Jason Crow, Colorado Democrat and a manager in Mr. Trump’s first impeachment, likewise told CNN that he knows several investigations into the riot are ongoing and he was unsure of Mr. Trump’s exposure.

“I haven’t done the constitutional analysis on what a former president would be culpable for, or liable for in this case,” Mr. Crow said on CNN. “But what I do know is that no man or woman in America is above the law. That’s our system. We don’t have kings, we don’t have queens. Nobody is above the law, including a president and former president, and there are investigations that are ongoing.”

Mr. Crow added the American people will get justice for the deadly riot and said investigations will continue “in the months and years to come.”

“It may not come right away, but we will get information and as we said a year ago during our last trial, that history will show what happened,” he said to CNN. “History is going to bear all of this out, and that’s why it was so important that those who did come across and vote to convict made the right move.”

Some legal analysts, however, have poured cold water on the idea that prosecutors will lock up the former president.

Chuck Rosenberg, former acting director of the Drug Enforcement Administration under former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, said Sunday that while it is theoretically possible for prosecutors to pursue the former president, it would be difficult to accomplish.

“While I believe that former President Trump committed crimes and while I believe he should be held accountable for those, in order to do that in real court, you have to do a bunch of things that you don’t have to do in the Senate,” Mr. Rosenberg said on MSNBC. “You have to show that he acted willfully, for instance, intentionally, and you would have to prove that to a jury unanimously and you’d have to prove that to a jury unanimously by proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Mr. Rosenberg said if evidence exists to support prosecuting Mr. Trump, then he would hope prosecutors would bring charges, but he added that he does not know the potential case as well as others looking into it.

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