Watergate prosecutor explains statute that could keep Trump from running for office

The possibility of Trump being eligible to run for office ever again hangs in the balance

Published July 2, 2022 4:00AM (EDT)

Donald Trump arrives at a rally on April 2 near Washington, Michigan.  ( Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Donald Trump arrives at a rally on April 2 near Washington, Michigan. ( Scott Olson/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on Raw Story


On MSNBC Friday, Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks revealed the statute she believes would be most appropriate for punishing former President Donald Trump for encouraging the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Specifically, she argued he could be prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. § 2383 — the crime of "rebellion or insurrection" against the United States — because the penalty for this crime goes further than prison time.

"Putting aside, maybe, how some of us personally feel about whether or not he should be indicted, do you think based upon what you have heard so far through the course of these hearings, that there will be an indictment of Donald Trump for at least obstruction?" asked anchor and former prosecutor Katie Phang.

"I will try to put aside what I think should be the case, and just talk about what I think are the best crimes to indict him for and whether he should or shouldn't, I will leave to other people," said Wine-Banks. "But I think it would be horrible not to act on what is now blatantly obvious to anyone who is watching the hearing. My favorite crime would be 2383, not the seditious conspiracy which is 2384. The reason is that the penalty for 2383 is not just jail, it is being barred from ever holding federal office again. And for me, that would be a more important goal than jailing the former president."

However, Wine-Banks noted, there are a variety of other statutes the former president could be vulnerable to charges under.

"There is, of course, as you mentioned, obstruction of Congress, obstruction of justice, witness tampering, so many things just based on Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony, just hers, for those few hours laid out all of those crimes," said Wine-Banks. "And then you have many more besides that."

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