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Schiff, Nadler predict Trump impeachment and jail over illegal payments

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The incoming chairs of two powerful House committees have predicted a “real prospect of jail time” for President Donald Trump, and said that new accusations about Michael Cohen’s illegal hush payments are “impeachable offenses.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, the incoming chair of the House Intelligence Committee, told the CBS show “Face the Nation” on Sunday: “There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office the Justice Department may indict him, that he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.

“We have been discussing the issue of pardons that the president may offer to people or dangle in front of people. The bigger pardon question may come down the road as the next president has to determine whether to pardon Donald Trump.”

Schiff was responding to the latest sentencing document from federal prosecutors on Friday, which said that longtime Trump lawyer and confidant Michael Cohen “acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1.”

Individual-1 is widely believed to be Trump. The coordination relates to payments to two women who said they had affairs with Trump.

“With respect to both payments, Cohen acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election,” the memo said.

“In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1,” it added. “As a result of Cohen’s actions, neither woman spoke to the press prior to the election.”

Read more: Federal prosecutors say Cohen committed crimes ‘in coordination with and at the direction of’ Trump

Rep. Jerry Nadler, the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, also told CNN that, if it is proved that Trump directed the payments, that would amount to “impeachable offenses.”

Federal prosecutors handed down a “substantial” prison sentence for Cohen.
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

He told CNN’s Jake Tapper: “They would be impeachable offenses, whether they are important enough to justify an impeachment is a different question.

“But certainly they’d be impeachable offenses because even though they were committed before the president became president, they were committed in the service of fraudulently obtaining the office, that would be an impeachable offense.”

Rep. Jerry Nadler, here in 2014, said that Trump’s involvement in Cohen’s actions — if true — were “impeachable offenses.”
Getty / Andrew Burton

Nadler added, however, that Congress may not immediately impeach Trump because that would be “an attempt to, in effect, overturn the result of the last election and [Congress] should do it only for very serious situations.”

He said: “You don’t necessarily launch an impeachment against the President because he committed an impeachable offense. There are several things you have to look at.”

“One, were impeachable offenses committed, how many, et cetera. Secondly, how important were they? Do they rise to the gravity where you should undertake an impeachment?” he added.

“An impeachment is an attempt to effect or overturn the result of the last election and should do it only for very serious situations. That’s the question.”

The new Congress will convene on January 3, 2019.

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