CNN’s Chief Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin says, in a column posted on the news network’s website, there is no legal "basis to prosecute" former President Donald Trump.
"It's one thing to describe the former president's behavior as disgraceful and wrong -- and I'd share that view -- but quite another to argue that Trump should be criminally prosecuted," Toobin said in the column posted Monday.
"Based on the available evidence, there is no basis to prosecute Trump and little reason even to open a criminal investigation."
Toobin claimed that "Trump’s final days in office demonstrate that his behavior was, at a minimum outrageous.
"He pressured his acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, to open an investigation of purported fraud in the vote count in Georgia, even though there was no evidence of such wrongdoing," he said. "In one call, Trump apparently directed Rosen to "just say the election was corrupt, [and] leave the rest to me."
Toobin also said Trump "allegedly engineered the departure of the U.S. attorney in Georgia" when he refused to pursue Trump's claims. And he noted Trump’s statements at a Jan. 6 rally in Washington "are said to have led his supporters to storm the Capitol later that day."
Toobin disputes those who say Trump’s actions provide "a road map for Merrick Garland, attorney general, to direct a criminal investigation of the former president."
He said there would be problems prosecuting Trump for his words on Jan. 6.
"First, Trump's words were ambiguous," Toobin argued. "He urged a march to Capitol Hill, but he also discouraged violence. Second, he could argue that he was seeking to uphold the rule of law by obtaining an accurate count of the election results, not seeking to rebel against the authority of the United States."
And, he said, there would also be problems bringing charges of election fraud, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., or violating the Hatch Act.
Toobin said: "Investigations of presidential wrongdoing, by Congress and others, are wise and even necessary. But actual prosecutions are not, and Donald Trump should be the beneficiary of this tradition, even if he himself would surely not offer such grace to others."
Toobin recently returned to CNN’s roster of contributors after he was suspended for exposing himself during a Zoom call with colleagues, Reuters reported.
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