New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio offered a plainspoken response Thursday to lawyers for President Donald Trump, who argued in federal court that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not face any punishment for it: We'll arrest you.
“If anybody shoots someone, they get arrested. I don’t care if it’s the president of the United States or anybody else. If you shoot someone, you should get arrested and we would arrest him,” de Blasio said at a news conference Thursday.
“If you shoot someone that’s a crime and no one is above the law. He would be arrested, period,” he added.
The failed 2020 Democratic candidate was responding to a claim made Wednesday by lawyers for Trump, who said he can’t be charged while in office — even if he shoots someone.
William Consovoy, Trump's lawyer, arguing that local prosecutors cannot get Trump’s financial records as long as he's in office, told the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals that the immunity from any prosecution extends to the entire criminal justice process.
Carey Dunne, general counsel for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr., said the president's position is too absolute. There could be examples in which a state should be able to conduct a criminal investigation of a sitting president, "if, for example, he did pull out a handgun and shoot someone on Fifth Avenue."
Asked about that, Consovoy said a president could be charged with such a crime once he was out of office or if he was impeached and removed from office. "This is not a permanent immunity," he said.
"I'm talking about while in office. Nothing could be done? That's your position?" Judge Denny Chin asked.
"That is correct," Consovoy said.
The long-standing view of the Justice Department is that a president cannot be indicted while in office.
The trial pertained to the ongoing saga surrounding whether Trump has violated any laws for facilitating hush money payments.
Manhattan's district attorney obtained a grand jury subpoena in August for three years' worth of financial records from the Trump Organization and eight year's worth of Trump-related business records — including Trump's personal tax records — from the accounting firm Mazars USA. Prosecutors are investigating whether Trump or his company broke any state laws when they reimbursed his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, for making hush money payments.
Cohen, now serving a three-year federal prison sentence, admitted to paying porn star Stormy Daniels to prevent her from publicly claiming, during the presidential campaign, that she once had a sexual relationship with Trump — an allegation he has repeatedly denied.