Donald Trump Could Be Prosecuted For Aiding Vladimir Putin After Leaving Office, Legal Analyst Says

Russian President Vladimir Putin hands U.S. President Donald Trump (L) a World Cup football during a joint press conference after their summit on July 16, 2018 in Helsinki, Finland.
Chris McGrath / Getty Images

In a Thursday interview with The Intercept’s Medhi Hasan, MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner said that Donald Trump could be prosecuted after leaving office for his actions toward Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 2018 Russia–United States summit in Helsinki, Finland.

“He has been an accessory after the fact to, of all people, Vladimir Putin by standing up in Helsinki and giving him aid and comfort,” Kirschner said.

“That is the crime of accessory after the fact under 18 USC, Section Three, and I could go on but we probably don’t have enough time.”

As reported by The Seattle Times, Article II, Section 4, of the Constitution states defines treason against the United States as “levying War” against the country or providing enemies with “Aid and Comfort.” Before the impeachment probe that ultimately led to Trump’s acquittal, the president’s critics suggested that he could be impeached for committing treason, which some argued was a “high crime or misdemeanor” that could justify removing the president from office.

Speaking to Hasan, Kirschner also claimed that Trump committed witness tampering by tweeting during the testimony of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, which he claims is a crime under 18 USC 1512. He also said that the president bribed Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, committed campaign finance violations in his work with his former lawyer, Michael Cohen — who is now a convicted felon — and made false statements to the FBI during Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation.

Kirschner has recommended that a Trump Crimes Commission to be established in January 2021 if the president is no longer in office at that time. The MSNBC analyst claims the commission would tap into people from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and other law enforcement agencies.

“The crimes that have been committed that I see kind of hiding in plain sight: you’ve got conspiracy to defraud the U.S. You’ve got obstructing justice. You’ve got obstructing Congress. These are all separate statutory crimes.”

Nevertheless, Hasan suggested that Democrats don’t have the perseverance necessary to prosecute Trump. He pointed to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who is the presumptive nominee, and his aides, who are allegedly telling journalists that it’s not the right time to attack or criticize Trump.

Kirschner said he shared Hasan’s “skepticism” and “pessimism” but appeared to be hopeful of the blueprint for future prosecutions he believes is provided by the Mueller report. He also pointed to the unredacted version of the report that he claims could soon be released.