The Democratic-controlled state Senate on Wednesday approved a measure meant to empower prosecutors in New York to pursue charges against former presidents.
Current law allows for immunity of presidents to run out a statute of limitations on criminal charges. The bill, if granted final approval, would take effect immediately and allow prosecutors to charge former presidents.
“We are fortunate that Donald Trump is out of the White House; however, we must not forget the abuses of the law that took place under his administration, “Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said.
The bill, backed by Sen. Mike Gianaris, was approved amid ongoing and separate investigations of former President Donald Trump by state Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. Trump is also on trial in a second impeachment, accused of inciting a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
“Any President who breaks the law should be held accountable without regard to the time they spend in office. As our nation prepares for an unprecedented second impeachment trial, we must close the loophole that allows Presidents to escape culpability by exploiting statutes of limitations due to Presidential immunity.”
The measure is the latest effort related to potential wrongdoing by Trump and his administration. Lawmakers previously approved and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a provision curtailing a president's power to pardon, enabling prosecutors to bring local charges.