George Conway, the husband of White House counsel Kellyanne Conway, and her boss, President Donald Trump, have been engaged in a bitter feud all week long… and it doesn’t show signs of stopping anytime soon.
In a tweet he penned on Friday morning, Conway suggested that the president — who he maintains is mentally unstable and therefore unfit to serve — believes he must remain in office in order to avoid being charged with a crime.
“THINK about the fact that we don’t just have a mentally unstable president — but a president who thinks he needs to be re-elected to avoid being indicted,” Conway wrote.
He added that, “At least in that one respect [Trump’s] thinking is clear.”
THINK about the fact that we don’t just have a mentally unstable president—but a president who thinks he needs to be re-elected to avoid being indicted. (At least in that one respect his thinking is clear.) https://t.co/TuX3nncLh2
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) March 22, 2019
Conway was citing a tweet issued out by New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman, who herself pointed out that one “impetus for [Trump] running again is that he could have criminal exposure in SDNY cases if he isn’t in office.” Haberman herself was basing her assertion off of what she had heard from “some POTUS advisers.”
And reupping here that some POTUS advisers believe an – not only, but one – impetus for running again is that he could have criminal exposure in SDNY cases if he isn’t in office. https://t.co/p9a70YrHHX
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 20, 2019
It’s not just a notion that Haberman and Conway are speculating on — Trump’s own personal lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, spoke in December on the possibility of his client being charged if he doesn’t win re-election.
“Once he’s out, he is like any other citizen and he can be indicted,” Giuliani said, according to Politico.
The idea that the president cannot be charged with a crime stems from a longstanding memo from the Justice Department written in the 1970s and reasserted in the year 2000.
Some, however, like former Attorney General Eric Holder, dispute that a president cannot be indicted if they’ve committed a clear criminal act. While the Justice Department has cited the need for the president to be able to carry out their duties without interruption (including from a disruptive investigation), Holder maintained in 2018 that the 25th Amendment allowed for the executive branch to take that into account.
“Executive branch paralysis during the criminal process is not a compelling argument — consider 25th Amendment. A sitting president can be indicted,” Holder wrote in December, according to reporting from Law & Crime.