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Can Trump Be Indicted While In Office? Experts Say 'Maybe'

Chris Cuomo leads a discussion on the one-year length of the Mueller investigation.
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In a lengthy discussion on CNN's New Day this morning marking the one-year anniversary of the Mueller investigation, legal analysts Laura Coates and Michael Zeldin spoke with Chris Cuomo.

"In order for him to complete that inquiry, he has to speak to the president of the United States," Zeldin said.

"Irrespective of whether the president is a target of the investigation for obstruction of justice or coordination or conspiracy, you need to speak to the president, who was the head of the campaign, to understand what happened so Mueller can complete his primary mandate. And so for the president to say, well, because I may not be indictable for statutory obstruction of justice means I'm not going to cooperate with the investigation whose the primary objective is to figure out what happened in our election, who cooperated with it, if anybody, and how to prevent it to the future, is just the wrong way to think about it, in my estimation."

Laura Coates said the Office of Legal Counsel opinion so many people quote is really about whether you can have a sitting president in a criminal trial -- not whether he can be indicted.

"It talks about whether you can have a sitting president in a criminal trial, whether it be at odds to perform their other functions, and indictability factor. I wish they would read that opinion more thoroughly," Coates said.

"An OLC opinion is binding -- until it's not. Until someone rewrites one. And also that particular opinion only has but a sentence or two of a more lengthy discussion on whether a president can sit in a criminal trial, not whether they are indictable. So he could very well be indicted. The question is whether he can go through a criminal trial. That is very, very different. Mueller can ask for a lengthier, more comprehensible opinon."

Cuomo laughed. "I went down exactly that rabbit hole when I was reading the decision. I over prepare for all of these things. And it leads to the understanding that what they were coming from is you might be able to indict him," he said. "It's about when. You would do the investigation now but not indict or move on a prosecution of a sitting president until after their term."

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