NY Senator Takes Aim At Presidential Immunity With New Bill

Steve Burns
September 15, 2020 - 6:35 pm

ALBANY, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — New York Sen. Michael Gianaris has introduced a new bill in Albany that would make sure a sitting president can't run out the clock on any criminal investigations.

Gianaris said the bill, called the "No Citizen is Above the Law Act," would apply to any sitting president, no matter who it is, though he does acknowledge he's filing the measure with President Donald Trump in mind.

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"Obviously Donald Trump's the subject of multiple ongoing investigations," the Senate Deputy Leader tells WCBS 880's Steve Burns.

The bill looks to reconcile two conflicting parameters: the crime's statute of limitations and the legal interpretation that a sitting president can't be charged with a crime.

"What we're trying to make sure of here is that no one gets to avoid accountability for crimes they commit just because they are sitting in the office of the president during the time that the statute of limitations expires," Gianaris said. "It is our job to make sure that if a crime is committed under New York law that the perpetrator is subject to the laws of this state."

Both the Manhattan District Attorney and the New York State Attorney General have opened investigations into the president.

"One would think that if the president is adamant that he's not engaged in any wrongdoing, then there would be no problem with ensuring that he's subject to the same rules as everybody else,' Gianaris said.

The bill aims to ensure laws are equally applied to all citizens, even the President of the United States.

“This President and any who follow should be held accountable for their illegal acts,” said Gianaris. “We must close the loophole that allows Presidents to exploit statutes of limitations coupled with Presidential immunity to forever escape culpability for malfeasance.”

“Clearly the privileges of the office of President were not intended to make the holder of the office above the law, and was not intended to empower a President with the ability to thwart and sabotage an active, legitimate investigation as New York prosecutors have accused the president of doing,” said Assemblyman Nick Perry. 

If approved, the bill would take effect immediately.

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