SALT LAKE CITY, Utah(ABC4 News) Attorney Greg Skordas, joined Brian Carlson for GMU’s ‘Ask the Authority.’ Skordas was on the show last week, and after his interview, we asked for viewer questions. Today, he’s answering those questions about the investigation into Russian collusion during the 2016 election.
1. Is our system set up in which, if Mueller’s investigation does lead to convictions of people associated with President Trump, but the President himself is not included in any wrong-doing, could the President pardon anyone of their convictions?
Greg: If someone like Flynn or Kushner were preemptively pardoned, he wouldn’t be able to plead the Fifth Amendment if he were called to testify against Trump. The Fifth Amendment protects citizens against self-incrimination. But if someone has been pardoned, they no longer face the threat of prosecution, and so they can’t use a desire to avoid incriminating themselves as an excuse not to answer a question.
2. If the President is indicated in some wrong-doing, depending on the level of those charges, what would be the process of removing him from office?
Greg: First, the House of Representatives votes on one or more articles of impeachment. If at least one gets a majority vote, the president is impeached – which essentially means being indicted.
Then, the proceedings move to the Senate, which holds a trial overseen by the chief justice of the Supreme Court. A team of lawmakers from the House, known as managers, play the role of prosecutors. The president has defense lawyers, and the Senate serves as the jury. If at least two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed, and the vice president takes over as president.
3. Aside from traditional impeachment, how else would the President or those charged with any wrong-doing be removed from office?
Greg: Adopted in 1967, the 25th Amendment provides another mechanism for removing a president. It is geared toward dealing with a president who becomes too disabled to carry out the duties of the office, as opposed to presidential lawbreaking. Under its procedures, if the vice president and a majority of the cabinet tell Congress that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” the vice president immediately becomes the acting president. If the president contests that finding, but two-thirds of both chambers of Congress side with the vice president, the vice president remains the acting president for the rest of the term
4. The DNC is facing criticism since former Chair Donna Brazile’s tell-all book. Are they facing any consequences for allegedly stacking the odds for Clinton?
Greg: The DNC and Hillary for America reported dozens of payments totaling millions of dollars to the law firm Perkins Coie with the purpose described as ‘Legal Services’ or ‘Legal and Compliance Consulting,’ when in reality, at least some of those payments were earmarked for the firm Fusion GPS, with the purpose of conducting opposition research on Donald Trump,” the complaint says.
Thank you to all of our viewers for submitting your questions!