Former federal prosecutor: Trump could be indicted upon leaving office

Former federal prosecutor Gene Rossi said Wednesday that he believes President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE could be indicted after leaving office.

“If he is defeated, that’s up in the air now, he may get reelected and if the Democrats shoot themselves in the foot, he will get reelected,” Rossi, a Democrat, told Hill.TV during an appearance on "Rising." “But he could be indicted based on what I know,” he added.

Rossi contended that Trump could have been indicted a year ago if he were not in the White House. The former prosecutor emphasized that the statute of limitations for certain instances of criminal wrongdoing that the president has been accused of committing wouldn't expire once he leaves office.

“If it were Donald Smith instead of Donald Trump, Donald Trump would have been indicted a year ago for the campaign violations,” he told Hill.TV.

Trump's former personal attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenNY prosecutors urge appeals court not to block subpoena for Trump's tax returns Ronan Farrow book: National Enquirer shredded documents related to Trump Trump's tirades, taunts and threats are damaging our democracy MORE pleaded guilty last year to committing campaign finance violations in relation to hush money payments to women alleging affairs with Trump ahead of the 2016 election. In doing so, Cohen implicated Trump in the scheme.

Trump, who initially denied knowledge of the payments, has maintained that he did not break any campaign finance laws and attacked Cohen as a liar.

Rossi’s comments come as former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE gives back-to-back testimonies before lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

During his first congressional hearing Wednesday morning before the House Judiciary Committee, Mueller said he believed that Trump could be charged with obstruction of justice after he leaves office.

Mueller's hearings before the House panels comes months after the contentious release of his more than 400-page report on Russian election interference in the 2016 election and his investigation into possible obstruction of justice. 

The former special counsel said in his report that his investigation did not exonerate Trump on obstruction and, when pressed on the topic Wednesday, Mueller demurred on whether orders from Trump that were never carried out could rise to the level of obstruction of justice in the legal sense.

—Tess Bonn