The president isn’t above the law
In his July 5 op-ed, “The Russia probe can’t be fired,” David E. Kendall didn’t address the underlying, fundamental question of whether a president can be indicted. President Trump’s surrogates declare that a sitting president cannot obstruct justice, and the Justice Department’s position is that a sitting president cannot be criminally prosecuted.
Mr. Kendall limited his inquiry to ethical and administrative constraints, which aren’t helpful if the president disregards them. Congress could reestablish the independent counsel, but that doesn’t seem likely. The Supreme Court won’t interfere with how the executive branch conducts itself, most likely begging on separation-of-powers or political-question grounds.
People have been reluctant to address presidential indictability because of the potential for abuse. Could enemies levy charges against a president to harm him politically and interfere with his ability to carry out his duties? Sure, they did it to President Bill Clinton. Perhaps the answer is to set up a special grand jury to judge the merits of claims against a president, but the answer is not to say that he is immune from prosecution.
This is about more than hiring or firing powers. Those are well-established. This is about the rule of law. Members of Congress can and have been criminally prosecuted. Supreme Court justices can be criminally prosecuted. If the branches of government are equal, then what’s good for the legislative and judicial branches is good for the executive. The president may be first among equals, but he’s still equal. Jonathan Glover, Washington