A former assistant special Watergate prosecutor suggested President Trump could be carted away by U.S. Marshals and brought before a federal judge if he were to defy a potential subpoena from the special counsel requesting an interview.
“At that point, they would make a motion to hold Donald Trump in contempt,” attorney Nick Akerman told host Joy Reid Saturday morning on MSNBC.
“The question would be what would the federal district court judge do in terms of a remedy? Normally, a person who refuses to testify before a grand jury winds up being incarcerated for the time period of the grand jury, which can be up to 18 months,” Akerman said. “So, one way to enforce it is to have Donald Trump taken by the federal marshals and put in federal prison until he testifies.”
Reid asked what the next step would be if Trump barricaded himself in the White House and refused to comply with the marshals’ attempts to force him to appear before the judge.
“At some point, he has to come out of the White House,” Akerman remarked. “The U.S. Marshals will be directed to take him into custody, bring him before the federal district court judge.”
Akerman said that if Trump did not plead the Fifth in that scenario, he could go directly to prison.
“He’ll be basically told that either he goes in and he testifies or he takes the Fifth Amendment. If he takes the Fifth Amendment, there’s not a problem,” he said. “If he refuses to answer on the ground that a truthful answer would tend to incriminate him, he has the right to do that. If he does that, there’s no contempt. If he doesn’t do that, he can be directed to go directly to jail, do not pass go. Do not collect $200. End of story.”
Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced this week that Trump is a subject of the Russia investigation but not a criminal target.
Another former special counsel, Kenneth Starr, who conducted the Clinton Whitewater probe said Mueller’s probe seems to be drifting from its original purpose.
“It looks increasingly like [the special counsel] is investigating the Russian invasion of the United States political system and not collusion,” Starr said Saturday on Fox News.
The White House has not ruled out a Mueller interview, and Trump’s lawyers have discussed the possibility with him.