Rudy Giuliani—presidential attorney, ambulant lawyer joke and apparent Scandal superfan—told HuffPost on Sunday that President Donald Trump cannot be indicted for any crime so long as he holds the nation’s highest office — not even murder.
“In no case can he be subpoenaed or indicted—I don’t know how you can indict while he’s in office. No matter what it is,” Giuliani told HuffPost’s S.V. Dáte. “If he shot James Comey, he’d be impeached the next day. Impeach him, and then you can do whatever you want to do to him.”
The scenario—which even Giuliani admitted was extreme—is the latest in a series of legally questionable comments made by the president’s outside counsel regarding Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
Earlier on Sunday, Giuliani said on ABC’s This Week that Trump “probably” possesses the constitutional authority to pardon himself. “He has no intention of pardoning himself, but he probably—not to say he can’t.”
The comments come one day after the publishing of a memo, penned by Trump’s legal team and delivered to Mueller’s in January, alleging that Trump’s firing of James Comey as FBI director could not have amounted to obstruction of justice because the president, as head of all federal investigations, is inherently incapable of committing it. In the memo, Trump’s the attorneys argued that the Constitution has empowered Trump to, “if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon.”
Giuliani, pressed on NBC’s Meet the Press about the president’s constitutional ability to pardon his own crimes, admitted that the “hypothetical” scenario was “unthinkable,” and would likely end in impeachment.
A former associate White House counsel told The Daily Beast that although “this whole area of law is undecided”—the area in question being whether the president can be indicted while in office—their gut response was that Giuliani may be on to something.
“I would think the president can be tried for a crime that is related to the office,” the former counsel said, “but his personal crimes may be on hold during the presidency.”
Under this scenario, it is unclear whether shooting a sitting FBI director would count as a personal crime or one related to the office of the president, but, as Giuliani said on Sunday, “It’s a hypothetical point.”