NY Lawmakers Launch Bill to Allow Criminal Investigations for US Presidents

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. Credit: The New York State Senate

New York legislators introduced on Monday a bill that would thwart all efforts by any sitting US President to impede ongoing criminal investigations.

The “New York No Citizen is Above the Law” Act, (S.8973/A.10905) was introduced by Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris and Assembly Member Nick Perry.

Last week a federal court granted President Trump yet another delay in his ongoing legal maneuverings and stalling tactics to keep hidden his subpoenaed tax returns from the Manhattan District Attorney. This bill ensures that laws are equally applied to all citizens, even the President of the United States, the lawmakers said in a press release.

“This President and any who follow should be held accountable for their illegal acts,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael 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.

“Enactment of the New York No Citizen is Above the Law Act, will ensure that this tenet holds true in New York as it should in the entire United States. Tolling the statute of limitations for the full period of a president’s tenure will ensure that if the president did participate in any of the numerous criminal activities alleged by his former counsel to have occurred, he like every other New York citizen will be held to account for all crimes against the people and state of New York.”

“Tolling” the statute of limitations means freezing or stopping the clock on the limitations period until the president leaves office, according to a report from the New York Post.

Under current law the immunity enjoyed by Presidents can be used to run out the statute of limitations on criminal charges.

The bill, if enacted, would take effect immediately allowing prosecutors in New York State currently pursuing investigations into the sitting President of United States to pursue charges if warranted.