Trump 'vulnerable to prosecution' after leaving White House

US president Donald Trump

US president Donald Trump - Credit: PA Wire

Donald Trump is "vulnerable to prosecution" after he leaves the White House, when his presidential "cloak of immunity" will go away.

Legal experts have warned that a number of lawsuits and investigations face Trump once he returns to private life.

At present, the American justice department has a policy that sitting presidents cannot be prosecuted for criminal offences - but it stops as soon as they leave office.

David Weinstein, a former Florida federal prosecutor, told USA Today that "nce he leaves the office, his cloak of immunity, actual or implied by (Justice Department guidelines), will disappear".

"He’s very vulnerable to prosecution," Jimmy Gurule, a former Justice Department official in the George H.W. Bush administration, told the news organisation.

The president faces a number of legal challenges when he leaves the White House, including defamation, tax fraud, obstruction of justice over Robert Mueller's investigation or even negligent homicide. 

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But there are suggestions that Trump could try to use his final days as president to try to issue pardons for himself - something he previously he hinted he would try to do.

In 2018, the president tweeted: “As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?”

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“When people ask me if a president can pardon himself, my answer is always, ‘Well, he can try,’” said Brian Kalt, a constitutional law professor at Michigan State University

Others believe he could resign before election day to receive a pardon from vice president Mike Pence, as predicted by former personal attorney Michael Cohen.

“It’s a very Nixon type of event,” he explained. “It was probably discussed between Roger Stone and President Trump at some point. This is certainly one way to avoid any potential prison time".

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