New York doesn’t need a Trump law: Albany bill on statute of limitations changes for presidents is unnecessary and aimed at only one person
As is his wont, Donald Trump is fuming with threats of violence and intimidation aimed at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for conducting a grand jury probe into Trump’s payoff of porn actress Stormy Daniels that may produce a felony indictment, perhaps this week. But Bragg is only following the law, a law that applies to everyone and a law that Bragg didn’t write.
Besides preparing for his defense from any charges brought by Bragg, what Trump should be bothered about, as should all New Yorkers and all Americans, is an effort in Albany to craft a new law aimed at prosecuting just one person: Donald John Trump.
The mislabeled “No Citizen is Above the Law Act” singles out Trump, and Trump alone, by suspending the normal statute of limitations under New York law for persons who hold the office of president. Since sitting presidents can’t be arrested and charged, any prosecution has to wait until the departure from the White House, due to impeachment and conviction, resignation or normal conclusion of the term. Which is exactly what is happening now with Trump and Bragg.
The proposed bill would have the time in the Oval Office (be it four years or eight years) not register against the countdown clock for when a New York prosecutor could bring charges.
While Trump’s name isn’t written in the legislation, which passed the state Senate last week on a party-line vote, the implications are clear: It’s all about him, not Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton or anyone else. However, as the ongoing work of Bragg’s grand jury work shows, it’s not necessary to pursue justice with Trump.
Such a provision has never been needed before, as only non-criminals have been president starting with George Washington, although Trump is different and may make history in a few days by being indicted and arrested. Still, the U.S. Constitution expressly bars states from imposing any bill of attainder aimed at one person, so Albany Democrats should focus on enacting a budget instead of grandstanding against Trump.