Preet Bharara—the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY)—laid out his theory on Tuesday that his former office might’ve have already indicted President Donald Trump if he were not the commander-in-chief.
Bharara appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and talked about a number of issues in the news, including the SDNY investigation.
MSNBC host Willie Geist asked him: “What is the legal peril for President Trump, specifically with the Southern District of New York?” Bharara gave a response worth seeing in full, which lays out exactly why he thinks Trump would likely be under indictment if he weren’t president.
He said on MSNBC:
“The particular legal peril for him is what has been spelled out in a plea allocution, the statement given by [former Trump lawyer] Michael Cohen in federal court where he said—and he didn’t have to—that the campaign finance violation, to which he pled guilty to a crime for which he’s going to prison—he said he did that at the direction, in coordination with, I mean … at the direction of Individual 1, everyone’s favorite pet name for the president of the United States. And the court accepted the allocution, accepted the plea and, more importantly, directly to your question, the Southern District of New York endorsed that claim, that conclusion in one of its documents that it submitted to the court. That says to me—given that I know the folks who did all this, actually I hired them and they’re all great, honorable, hard-working people—that they believe Donald Trump was involved in that crime. Which takes us dangerously close to the conclusion that if Donald Trump were not the president of the United States—not 100 percent because there might be gaps in evidence—but it takes us very dangerously close to the conclusion that if Donald Trump were not the president of the United States, he would be under indictment.”
In his interview, Bharara attempted to temper some anti-Trump folks’ hopes regarding the final report from special counsel Robert Mueller, which has been eagerly awaited by some on the left. He has said in multiple interviews that it may be overly optimistic to expect Mueller’s work to bring about Trump’s removal from office.
“All these people who hope that he’s going to take this scourge of a man out of the White House are going to be really disappointed when he doesn’t do that,” Bharara told Politico Magazine. “It’s perfectly possible that the Mueller report will not be that damaging to the president. And all of us need to be prepared to accept that and move on.”
Still, Trump, as he does quite often, slammed Mueller’s investigation on social media this week. He tweeted out results of a poll that found some Americans agree with his branding of the investigation as a “witch hunt.”
“Very few think it is legit!” Trump posted. “We will soon find out?”