With Congress enmeshed in a fraught debate over whether to impeach President Donald Trump, Robert Mueller’s brief and dramatic news conference provided a sharp reminder that impeachment is not the only option for addressing the president’s alleged misdeeds.
The outlines of a potential civilian prosecution of a former president Trump are already emerging. While there are reports of tax dodges, illegal campaign contributions, and improper foreign contributions to his inaugural committee—among other things—investigations into those claims are ongoing. There is, however, an overwhelming case that the president engaged in obstruction of justice—his effort to stop the special counsel’s office from probing his campaign’s ties to Russia.
In the second volume of his 448-page report, Mueller sets forth evidence of obstruction of justice that any competent federal prosecutor could use to draft an indictment. And Mueller made it clear himself that his detailed report was intended, in part, to “preserve the evidence” because “a President does not have immunity after he leaves office.”
Although it’s impossible to know exactly what a prosecution of Citizen Trump would look like, or who would conduct it, it’s already possible to project some paths a likely prosecution would take. In the eyes of a seasoned former federal prosecutor looking only at the evidence we have so far, here are the likely routes—and what Trump has to worry about next.