Pelosi: Indicting a sitting president ‘an open discussion in terms of the law'

House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump's intraparty feuds divide Republicans House leaders need to modernize Congress for the sake of America 4 in 5 Americans say they support net neutrality: poll MORE (Calif.) in an interview that aired on Thursday said she believes it is an "open discussion" on whether special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE could seek an indictment of President TrumpDonald John TrumpCummings says Ivanka Trump not preserving all official communications Property is a fundamental right that is now being threatened 25 states could see severe flooding in coming weeks, scientists say MORE

"I think that that is an open discussion," Pelosi, likely the next Speaker, said on NBC's "Today." "I think that is an open discussion in terms of the law."

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"Today" co-host Savannah Guthrie asked Pelosi during an interview if Mueller "should honor and observe the [Department of Justice] guidance that states a sitting president cannot be indicted."

“I do not think that that is conclusive," Pelosi responded. "No, I do not.”

 

She later said that lawmakers should see what Mueller reports and spend their "time on getting results for the American people." She added that "everything indicates that a president can be indicted after he is no longer president of the U.S."

The comments come as Mueller's probe into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow continues into 2019. 

In December, Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced to 36 months in prison for a series of crimes he committed while working as Trump's personal attorney.

The sentence occurred after Cohen pleaded guilty to federal charges, including campaign finance violations stemming from payments to keep two women quiet after they say they had affairs with Trump more than a decade ago.

Prior to Cohen's sentencing, federal prosecutors in New York said in a memo that Trump directed Cohen to make the illegal payments to the women, marking the first time prosecutors made those accusations against the president.

The allegations have led to scrutiny about the Justice Department guidelines around indicting a sitting president. Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.) said last month that the evidence presented against Cohen "might well form the basis for an indictment after the president leaves office."

In a poll released last month, a majority of Americans said they think that a sitting president should be subject to indictment.

Seventy-one percent of respondents, including 49 percent of Republicans, said sitting presidents should be subject to indictment, while 21 percent said they shouldn't.