By David Yaffe-Bellany
October 23, 2020
President Trump has more at stake in this election than whether he remains in the House. Holding the highest office in the land grants him effective immunity from federal criminal prosecution and gives him wide powers to stymie lawsuits against him and his business. That all changes once he becomes an ordinary citizen again.
“Whatever shelters he has had as an occupant of the House would vanish,” says Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard and frequent Trump critic. “His ability to throw his weight around in terms of the deference that judges exercise—all of that is gone.”
A federal prosecution of Trump would be political dynamite, and a President Joe Biden may choose not to detonate it. But a new administration could decide to revive Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into obstruction of justice by Trump or launch a new probe into the questionable tax deductions the New York Times revealed in a recent investigative report. Trump is also facing an active investigation by the Manhattan district attorney that could result in state criminal charges.