Trump said president under indictment would create ‘constitutional crisis’ | Donald Trump [wafact]

The election of a president under indictment and facing criminal trial would “create an unprecedented constitutional crisis” and “cripple the operations of government”, Donald Trump said.

But the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, who faces 71 criminal counts in state and federal cases and is expected to face more, was not speaking about himself – or speaking this year.

As reported by CNN, which unearthed the comments, Trump was speaking on 3 November 2016, at a rally in North Carolina during his first presidential campaign, against Hillary Clinton.

“She is likely to be under investigation for many years,” Trump said, “and also it will probably end up – in my opinion – in a criminal trial. I mean, you take a look. Who knows? But it certainly looks that way.”

Clinton did not face indictment or a criminal trial over her use of a private email server while secretary of state to Barack Obama. An FBI investigation did prove politically damaging, in a campaign Trump won.

Seven years later, Trump has become the first former president ever indicted – and he has been indicted twice.

In New York, he faces 34 counts regarding hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels during that 2016 race. In a federal investigation, he faces 37 counts relating to his retention of classified material after leaving the White House in 2021.

In New York, his trial is set to begin in late March. In the federal case, a judge in Florida has said a trial could begin as soon as 14 August.

Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges and continues to deny all accusations of wrongdoing.

Further indictments are expected, not least in state and federal investigations of Trump’s attempts to overturn his 2020 defeat by Joe Biden, culminating in his incitement of the deadly attack on Congress on 6 January 2021.

Back before he became president, in Concord, North Carolina, in November 2016, Trump also said Clinton “has no right to be running, you know that. No right.”

He returned to the subject two days later, CNN reported, telling a crowd in Reno, Nevada: “We could very well have a sitting president under felony indictment and ultimately a criminal trial. It would grind government to a halt.”

The same day, CNN said, Trump told rally-goers in Denver, Colorado, that because Clinton was “the prime suspect in a far-reaching criminal investigation”, it would be “virtually impossible for her to govern”.

In 2023, Trump’s legal problems have not made his campaign grind to a halt, or even slow significantly.

He dominates polling averages, leading his nearest challenger, Ron DeSantis, by about 30 points. The Florida governor is well clear of the rest of the field.

Trump did not immediately respond to the CNN report about his comments about Clinton.

He has continued to complain that Clinton was not indicted, alleging investigatory bias and a political witch hunt against him.

Responding to such complaints, Joe Conason, a reporter, commentator and biographer of Clinton’s husband, former president Bill Clinton, wrote: “Contrary to Trump’s lying mantra, Hillary Clinton kept no classified documents, defied no subpoenas, engaged in no conspiracies, and stole nothing. So unlike him she is innocent of wrongdoing.”

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