Washington, D.C. — President Donald Trump’s effort to coerce Ukraine into investigating his political rival was not just an abuse of power—it fits the pattern of an illegal extortion scheme, according to a new column from the Center for American Progress.
If Trump were a common mob boss, he would be held accountable for his actions under federal and state law, the column says. As president, he should also be held accountable—impeached and removed from office by the U.S. Congress.
“By using the power of his office to exert pressure on Ukraine to find dirt on his political opponent, President Trump was demonstrating classic methods of extortion,” said Maggie Jo Buchanan, director of Legal Progress at CAP.
“Federal law and states across the country have enacted prohibitions on this exact type of behavior” Buchanan said. “Trump’s solicitation of a ‘favor’ shows that the president thinks of himself as above those laws. The U.S. House and Senate must hold him accountable.”
While impeachment does not require any specific violation of law, the column shows how conduct in which Trump appears to have engaged would be illegal under federal and state laws across the country that forbid public officials from engaging in acts such as coercive bribery or extortion.
Read the column: “Trump’s Conduct Strikes at the Heart of the Rule of Law” by Maggie Jo Buchanan.
For more information or to talk to an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at gro.ssergorpnacirema@lenanahs or 202-478-6327.