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CNN Legal Analyst: Collusion Not Relevant To Trump's Future

CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti said those who oppose President Trump should not count on a special prosecutor's report or Congress to get rid of the president.

Speaking Thursday at a Democratic Party dinner in Normal, Mariotti said there are a lot of interesting legal theories about ways to get around the prevailing Justice Department opinion that a sitting president cannot be indicted. For instance, he said if various investigations determine financial or campaign fraud as alleged in testimony by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen are worth prosecution, one interpretation is that the clock on the statute of limitations does not start running until after the president leaves office.

But, Mariotti said, none of those ideas has been tested.

"Until I see one of these interesting ideas materialize in the real world, I don't think the public should be focused on that. I think we should focus on the reality that he may not be charged and that an election will have to determine the next president of the United States," said Mariotti.

Mariotti also said the media and public are paying too much attention to the word collusion and missing the importance of other financial crimes alleged by Cohen during testimony before a House committee.

Mariotti said collusion doesn't matter a whole lot as applied to Trump. Mariotti said collusion is not a crime, and Trump is using the word to falsely frame the issue for reporters and the public.

"We are setting the bar way too high for Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. We are allowing Trump to say if there is no collusion, therefore this is a win for him," said Mariotti.

Mariotti said collusion is not a part of the special prosecutor's mandate to investigate links to the Russia election scandal.

Mariotti said it would be almost impossible to get 67 votes in the Senate to remove Trump from office even if the House were to impeach him.

He said Cohen's testimony did show potentially important possible crimes such as financial fraud by the Trump company, and campaign fraud.

You can also listen to the full interview:

GLT's full interview.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.