Presidents would have less power in resisting subpoenas in New York based on a bill proposed Monday by state lawmakers.
The measure, backed by Sen. Mike Gianaris and Assemblyman Nick Perry, comes as President Donald Trump continues to fight a subpoena from New York City prosecutors to obtain his tax returns.
Trump has broken with the post-Watergate tradition of presidential candidates and incumbent presidents making their tax returns public.
“This president and any who follow should be held accountable for their illegal acts,” Gianaris said. “We must close the loophole that allows presidents to exploit statutes of limitations coupled with presidential immunity to forever escape culpability for malfeasance.”
The proposal would pause a statute of limitations on crimes alleged to have been committed by a president and is meant to prevent a sitting president from impeding a criminal investigation. Current law gives presidents immunity that can be used to run out the clock on criminal charges.
If approved, it would take effect immediately.
“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,” Perry said.
“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 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.”