Former chief White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter believes President Donald Trump won’t be able to outrun the increasing slate of legal challenges currently leveled against him. To that end, Painter said, President Trump should just cut his losses, plead out and resign.
Appearing on AM Joy on MSNBC on Saturday morning, Painter argued that Trump had clearly broken the law by way of foreign spending at his family’s Washington, D.C. hotel.
“Everybody is ignoring the law,” Painter told host Joy-Ann Reid “The General Services Administration signed a lease with him that specifically prohibited a United States government official from having an interest in the hotel, but they don’t want to enforce that lease. And they’ve come up with a convoluted opinion that explains away the clear terms of the lease. The emoluments from foreign governments going to that hotel are illegal.”
Painter then noted that his own organization, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, has filed litigation over the emoluments issue. He also offered a breakdown of the legal state of play.
“Congress won’t enforce the law, that’s been the problem over the past two years,” Painter argued. But now we’ve got Bob Mueller catching up with the president, we’ve got the Southern District of New York, we’ve got the New York Attorney General. Criminal investigations, multiple charges on multiple fronts against his top associates.”
The one-time Bush White House ethics czar then counseled the 45th president on what he thinks he should do next:
I really do believe it’s time for President Trump to work out a plea deal, resign the presidency, take lower charges and let this country move on. This is going to be a very, very ugly two years if he insists on staying in the White House and fighting criminal charges that are inevitable. It’s very clear he committed multiple crimes. He ought to be working on his plea deal as we work on putting together the country again.
[image via screengrab/MSNBC]