Dem senator: Evidence in Cohen case could form basis of Trump indictment after he leaves office

Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSenate Democrats ask Pompeo to recuse himself from Ukraine matters Hillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Democrats raise privacy concerns over Amazon home security system MORE (D-Del.) on Monday said if President TrumpDonald John TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report MORE directed his former personal attorney Michael Cohen to engage in illegal payments to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, then the president could face indictment upon leaving the White House. 

"The evidence that's been presented in the Michael Cohen case — that the president directed him to engage in payments that were intended to influence the outcome of the election — really sharpens the president's legal risk here," Coons said during an interview with CNN on Monday.

"That might well form the basis for an indictment after the president leaves office,” Coons, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations committees, added.

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Last week, prosecutors alleged that in the months leading up to the 2016 election, Trump directed Cohen to make illegal payments to two women claiming they had affairs with Trump. It marked first time prosecutors made those accusations against the president.

Coons went on to tell CNN that he agreed with Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans Three legal scholars say Trump should be impeached; one thinks otherwise Poll: 46 percent of voters say Trump's Ukraine dealings constitute impeachable offense MORE (D-Calif.) on the matter, who on Sunday said that Trump might "face the real prospect of jail time" after the release of the sentencing memo on Friday. 

"My takeaway is there's a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office the Justice Department may indict him, that he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time,” Schiff said on CBS's "Face the Nation" at the time.

 

When pressed during the interview whether he believes the president has made any impeachable offenses, Coons said he “can't reach that conclusion yet." 

Coons did say he would "ultimately be sitting as literally a member of the jury" should impeachment proceedings commence in the future, given his seat on the Senate.