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Can The President of the United States Go To Jail?


“America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will
cease to be great,” wrote French political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville in his 1835
book, “Democracy in America”. The USA, he believed, offered equality that
was not seen in other nations. The founding fathers of the U.S. had created
a form of ruling that was not able to be tyrannical, that was chosen by the people and served the
people, and if it failed to do so it would be removed. This America was a long way from absolute
monarchies and from authoritarian government presided over by powerful dictators. It was supposed to embody what Thomas Jefferson
wrote in the U.S Declaration of Independence, that, “all men are created equal.” With that in mind, welcome to this episode
of the Infographics Show, Can a U.S. President Go to Jail? If all men are created equal, perhaps that
means that all men should be treated as equals when it comes to matters of justice. That’s why there are laws, and no people
in a democracy should be immune to punishment. We could argue that the scales of justice
do seem to be tipped in favor of those that have more money, to avoid close scrutiny by
law enforcement or to hire brilliant legal teams to perhaps undo wrongdoings. Notwithstanding the sometimes mindboggling
chicanery a very wealthy person might employ to get them out of trouble, everyone in the
USA should be answerable to the same laws. This must mean an American president can surely
go to jail, or prison. Just so you know, jail and prison are sometimes
interchangeable words, but in the USA, jail is usually the place you go to for a short
stint before you have a court hearing or you’re just serving a very short sentence. Prison is the place you go to after you’ve
been convicted of a crime. Ok, so first of all, a “What If” question. What if a U.S. President lost his mind and
ran out of the White House stark naked and then started plunging a recently-procured
White House kitchen knife into astounded tourists? Could that President be charged and convicted
of a number of crimes, say, attempted murder, murder, and perhaps public indecency. It’s not all that simple. When the writers of the constitution drafted
their timeless piece, they had to think of what would happen if a president went off
the rails and committed a crime, or crimes. Such wrongdoing, they said, might be “Treason,
Bribery, or other High Crimes and misdemeanors.” If that should happen, they said, first there
would be impeachment by the House of Representatives and then it would be up to the Senate to convict
the wrongdoer. What this could mean is while the president
is still in power, he can’t be indicted, meaning the cops couldn’t just turn up outside
the White House, taser the wayward leader, and detain him in one the city’s finest
jails until he had his day in court. He first would have to be impeached and then
removed from office. That would take some time. After he has been removed, according to the
constitution, he, or she, will “be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment
and Punishment, according to Law.” But it is complicated. If we look at the crime we described, it is
perhaps too unbelievable to even discuss. But would he be prosecuted if it happened? One professor at Yale wrote this, “The framers
implicitly immunized a sitting president from ordinary criminal prosecution.” So again, he would have to be impeached first. We don’t really know what would happen in
this case; perhaps an assumed enemy would be blamed for somehow being able to control
the mind of the president. We can safely say the President would be removed
from active duties, although somewhere along the proceedings the public would be told something
nefarious had happened. He’d probably be judged insane as a result
of dark outside influences. We really don’t know, and unfortunately
no sources online have discussed the possibility of such a heinous crime. But this is an extreme case, so let’s look
at something more down-to-Earth. If we look at what was called high crime,
that’s different. High crimes are usually things like perjury,
bribery, abuse of power. These things we certainly can imagine a president
doing. According to U.S. legal scholar, Ronald Rotunda,
if the President committed one of these high crimes, he’d face the law. Rotunda wrote, while investigating former
President Clinton, “It is proper, constitutional, and legal for a federal grand jury to indict
a sitting president for serious criminal acts that are not part of, and are contrary to,
the president’s official duties. In this country, no one, even President Clinton,
is above the law.” Still, others disagree. Time magazine in 2018 featured a story written
by the former principal lawyer for Vice President Spiro Agnew. He wrote, “An imperial Presidency was the
worst fear of the Founders.” As we said, the founders knew tyranny was
always bound to happen when one person, or group, had too much power and attendant impunity. The constitution had to preclude that this
tyranny, or corruption, never could happen. The writer states again that first the president
would have to be impeached, then removed, and he would then possibly face prison. It’s just never happened. The Atlantic also wrote a story in 2018, asking
if a sitting president could be indicted. That writer said there was no clear answer. He decided to ask the question to six well-known
legal scholars, regarding if a sitting president could be indicted. Four answered. Three said no and one said yes. The writer turned to academics, and many answers
came back, some saying that indicting a president would just be too disruptive. Another disagreed, saying the constitution
was written so that such a disruption, when needed, could occur. Another said that no expert can answer the
question, stating that one could only have an opinion on this matter. There is no airtight legal framework that
can guarantee an answer. We apologize that we can’t ascertain a clear
answer to the question in this show, but it seems there is nobody out there who knows. The constitution was written so that a president
could face the law as you and I do, but while in office it would seem that indicting a president
would be very hard to do. That seems wrong to some, because if the founders
had wanted to give immunity to presidents, that would have explicitly been written into
the constitution. Perhaps the constitution should have some
small print where it says, “All men are created equal.” In that small print we can read, “Subject
to change without notice. Not applicable outside of warranty.” Is that too cynical? What do you think about all this? Tell us in the comments. Also, be sure to check out our other show
The President’s Escape Plan If The US Is Attacked. Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t
forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time.

Stephen Childs

100 Comments

  1. A president has immense power and committing something criminal can often be explained as "doing it for the good of the country". Where would you draw the line?

  2. Let me save you all some time.

    President Trump IS NOT GOING TO PRISON OR JAIL !!!

    Now proceed with the video and enjoy.

    UNFILTERED UNAPOLOGETIC TRUTH🕇🇺🇸

  3. Have you guys ever heard of Muhammad morsy. He was the egyptian president and he went to jail when he was president

  4. NO!! ….past presidents have committed horrific crimes ..Reagan, Nixon, many before them and after them have committed crimes punishable by death.

  5. In India, we can't arrest our president for any crime, and we call it as "democracy"😁

  6. instead of saying "All men are created equal" we should say "All men and women are created equal"

  7. He needs to be in jail! He takes some of the US Military budget just to build the wall!

  8. I doubt a U.S. President would ever go to Prison while in office. I would be surprised.

  9. When the secret service comes and starts to arrest you

    Just press the button under your desk for secret service to take out the secret service

    Such small brains

  10. I find it very sad….. the answer to that question should be resounding YES

  11. sauron getting slapped by the constitution just made me laugh way to hard XD

  12. And the passibility the president is going to be white so it even would be more complicated

  13. Clintons are not immune, I have documents proving the Clinton foundation has killed many…. hold on, someone banging on my door. Brb.

  14. Please. Pray. For. World. Peace. Man. To. Man. You. Still. Need. Women. Beside. Hm. To. Get. Along. I. Don't. Know. He. Had. Done. Wrong. He. Is a. Business. Man. Rude. To. Rude. I. Feel. He. Keep. Me. Protested. Cause. I. Am. A cistern. I. Worked. World. It. Work. Now. I. Am. Sick. This. Is. United. Work. Together. Biden. Cool. Out. Help. Him. Give. Advise. Don't. Throw. Under. The. Bus. He. Is. The. Boss. Yo

  15. Take. A. Swim. Stop first. You. Guys. Are. Big. Dogs. You sold. The. Store. Long. Time. Now. We United. Merd. To. Clean. Up. It. Is. The. Same. Water. That. Have. To. Drink. I. Don't. Going. To. Pay. 150

  16. I. Am. Not. Going. To 150. Dollars. For. Water. I. Need. It. Is. Super. Tasted. Lucky. U. Wole. Up. To. Fight. For. Breath. Trump. Your. The. Boss. The. Vice. President. Can't. Wait. To. Get. The. Position. He is. The. Dangerous. One. Jesus. The. Eyes. Tell. It. All.

  17. Depends on the specific crime and its implications to National Security and the overall integrity of The US Federal Govt and the legal squadron surrounding The President needs to make the determination ree all criminal acts as this current Impeachment Inquiry ree Trump and Ukrainian investigation of Biden the President can and does retain legal authourity to followup on all leads ree criminality of any person and has legal approvals and consent to involve foreign heads of States and Govts ree criminal matters of those running for office

    Expect Trump to not be indicted and is not going to Jail

  18. I couldn't. The sounds of the tip-toeing was so cute I barely made it through the video.

  19. Infographics: "First there would be impeachment by the house of representatives, then it would be up to the senate to convict the wrongdoer."
    Chump: "I AM THE SENATE!"

  20. looks like the law favours the rich and powerful … no surprise there lol

  21. 2100 children found in bunkers in California Oct 2019 the elites want this drug and are covering up thound if not hundred of thousand children being mutilated and tortured please make a video about is drug ADRENOCHROME, THE DRUG OF THE ELITE: THEY OBTAIN IT BY TORTURING CHILDREN

  22. If ya got the dough, you ain't gotta go. However, you can't prosecute a sitting president. Not that you could prosecute this one anyway. He'd have to BREAK THE LAW FIRST! Then again, Clinton lied under oath. We'd ALL be in jail but he wasn't even removed from office. Go figure…

  23. Trump has done nothing- The Demonrats only lie and have an impeachment in search for a crime- They Demonrats should go to jail………………..

  24. well clinton was impeached and they did not remove him from office he finished out his term and i believe trump will not only do the same but i believe he will run for a second term and win…The swamp has gotten too powerful and we the people will have to slap their hand and put them back in their place P O S democRAT CRIMINALS

  25. Indicting a president is "too disruptive" ??? — You know what would be even more disruptive; allowing the president to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, and not being able to arrest him for it.

  26. American presidents do not commit crimes (war crimes apparently do not count for some odd reason)

  27. Just further proof that the U.S. constitution is outdated and needs to be scrapped and redone.

  28. Separation of powers do mean that it must be limitations to the powers of courts. Assuming that the court will judge by the law is as likely as it is that the president will obey the law.

  29. we got OUR PRESIDENT removed from power but never got a jail time, and also got a president jailtime after t=her removal from power

  30. The president is above the Law, he can grab women by their snicker doodles and get away with it

  31. If a President could go to jail then why trump ain’t in jail that man pays no taxes

  32. I don't even need this video
    I know how it happens ill explain it
    So before a president can be arrested they have to get impeached, but for the impeachment to work there has to be evidence that shows the president did it. Then after he is impeached and removed from office {Only if it's for illegal crimes} than he will go to jail after he leaves the office.

  33. The algorithm brought me here after watching Mace Windu trying to arrest Palpatine. I’m serious.

  34. What happens if a presidential tries to shoot a innocent by stander and hits him in a nonlethal area and the innocent person carries a licensed firearm and a licensed to carry a fire arm…and shoots back at the president” hitting him between the eyes.

    I know the defender would be gunned down by the president body guards but what happens if the innocent Survives his injuries, would he get prison time or the death penalty?

  35. First, a president can definitely go to jail in a jurisdiction outside of their own (for instance, Russia can decide to send Trump to jail if Trump were in Russia and Putindecided to arrest him). This is an unlikely scenario since that would be taken as a declaration of war, but Trump or any other president do not actually have any rights protecting them from jail in a foreign country, especially a country where the leader has absolute power and can change rules on a whim. Sure there is such a thing as diplomatic immunity, but that's a common courtesy exchanged between countries and not a hard and fast rule – just like things like free trade agreements, they can be unilaterally withdrawn at any time (of course the withdrawal from the other side is likely to be reciprocated).

    Now, can a sitting president go to jail in their own country? Not while they remain sitting president they cannot. In the US, the legal system precludes a sitting president from facing criminal charges. They would have to first be removed from office either through impeachment or something akin to a coup where they are forcibly removed from office. The latter would occur in a revolution which hopefully does not happen while the former has happened before. In the case of Nixon's impeachment, because Gerald Fordpardoned Nixon, Nixon never had a chance to go to jail, but absent the pardon, it is possible that Nixon could be tried and convicted where the conviction could have resulted in jail time.

  36. If a President can go to Jail, I want to send Kim jong un In jail.

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