What to Know
- Yes, of course President Donald Trump would be arrested if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says
- "If anybody shoots someone, they get arrested. I don't care if they're the president of the United States or anybody else," de Blasio said
- The comments come after a Trump lawyer told a federal appeals court a sitting president cannot legally be prosecuted while in office
Yes, of course President Donald Trump would be arrested if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says.
De Blasio was asked about that hypothetical scenario Thursday, a day after Trump's lawyers told a federal appeals court a sitting president cannot legally be investigated or prosecuted for a criminal act while still in office, even if it involved a cold-blooded murder.
Poppycock, says de Blasio, who oversees New York's 35,000-member police force.
"If anybody shoots someone, they get arrested. I don't care if they're the president of the United States or anybody else," de Blasio said during a question-and-answer session with reporters. "If you shoot someone, you should get arrested and we would arrest him."
Trump's lawyers were forced into an unusual argument about the limits of presidential immunity Wednesday during a hearing over whether the president can shield himself from a state grand jury subpoena seeking his tax returns.
Judge Denny Chin asked Trump attorney William S. Consovoy what local authorities could do if the Republican president shot somebody on Fifth Avenue, a reference to a boast Trump made in January 2016 that he could shoot someone and not lose voters.
"Local authorities couldn't investigate. They couldn't do anything about it?" Chin asked.
Consovoy said local authorities could act once a president was removed from office.
"Well, I'm talking about while in office," Chin said. "Nothing could be done? That's your position?"
Consovoy answered: "That is correct. That is correct. Yes."
De Blasio, who recently ended a campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, said he disagreed.
"Anyone calls themselves a lawyer who could say that should not be a lawyer, let's start with that," he said. "But if you shoot someone, that's a crime, and no one is above the law. He would be arrested. Period."
An email seeking comment was sent to Consovoy.
The so-called Fifth Avenue example refers to a claim Trump made on the campaign trail in Iowa in early January 2016.
"I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, okay, and I wouldn't lose any voters, okay?" he said.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat, has sought Trump's tax records as part of an investigation that includes an examination of the Trump Organization's role in buying the silence of two women who claim they had affairs with Trump.
Trump has called the investigation "presidential harassment."