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Donald Trump’s prosecution is a triumph | Osita Nwanevu

While there’s not even a theoretical bar to prosecuting a president once they leave office, Alvin Bragg has bravely taken a stand

Trump’s prosecution is a triumph. Not a shame. Not a tragedy. A triumph ⁠— one of the great events in American presidential history. The public and the pundits might disagree by the end of Trump’s trial in Manhattan ⁠— perhaps the first of a few ⁠— but the significance of what district attorney Alvin Bragg has managed to do will be wholly unsullied, in substance, by the outcome of his case.

One of the major questions in American political and legal thought has been whether presidents may be allowed to commit crimes. As it stands, the position of the Justice Department is that they may ⁠— for half a century, it has held that a president cannot face criminal prosecution while in office. And while there’s not even a theoretical bar to prosecuting a president once they leave office, no one had ever tried it, leaving the question of whether criminal laws functionally apply to presidents at all, as a practical matter, a matter of speculation.

Osita Nwanevu is a Guardian US columnist

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