Former federal prosecutor predicts Trump will be ‘unindicted co-conspirator' in Mueller probe

A former federal prosecutor predicted that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE will include President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichelle Obama says not always easy to live up to "we go high" Georgia certifies elections results in bitterly fought governor's race Trump defends border deployment amid fresh scrutiny MORE as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the Russia investigation.

Joyce Vance, a former U.S. attorney for the North District of Alabama, said on an MSBNC panel Wednesday that it’s possible for Trump to appear on indictments without being named.

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“I think it’s likely that we will see the president as an unindicted co-conspirator,” Vance said. “And what that means is that he won’t be named, he won’t be indicted, and Justice Department policy is not to include the name of a target that you don’t indict in a case — so that’s why his name won’t be used.”

It would not take long for analysts to figure out that the unindicted co-conspirator mentioned is the president, she added. 

Vance pointed out that there is a long-standing policy in the Justice Department not to indict a sitting president.

“There are many people who believe that Mueller will not buck that precedent … the consensus seems to be, among many people, that Mueller would be more likely to include all of this evidence in a report that would go up on the Hill that would form the body, potentially, of an impeachment proceeding,” Vance told the MSNBC panel.

It would then be up to lawmakers to decide if they wish to carry on with impeachment proceedings, Vance said.

Trump’s lead lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has previously said that the special counsel informed Trump's legal team that the president is not a “target” in the Russia investigation, but rather a “subject.”

“Many of us have sort of contemplated, could there be such a significant quantum of evidence against the president that at some point he would become a target?” Vance asked.

The MSNBC panel came amid reports that Mueller has agreed to place some parameters around a potential sit-down interview with Trump, including limiting the scope of some questions.

“One thing prosecutors don’t do when they need an interview with a witness — they don’t negotiate because they have the subpoena power,” Vance said on Wednesday.

“It’s abundantly clear, at least in my judgement, that they don’t plan on indicting the president because they’re seeking this interview,” she added.

If Giuliani and the legal team refuse to cooperate with Mueller on the interview, the special counsel could issue a subpoena for Trump’s testimony, Vance said.

That process could take several months to make its way through the court system, she added. 

As of Thursday, Giuliani said that the legal team will decide within the next 10 days whether the interview with Mueller will happen.