Mr. Trump is unlikely to face criminal prosecution while he is in office, as the Justice Department’s longstanding policy and something approaching a scholarly consensus say that the Constitution does not permit criminal proceedings against a sitting president. And political realities will probably protect him from impeachment proceedings, at least as long as Republicans control the House of Representatives.
But legal scholars said that committing crimes aimed at undermining the integrity of an election could well satisfy the constitutional standard for impeachment, which is set out in Article II, Section 4
: “The president, vice president and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
When the framers met in Philadelphia in 1787, they singled out one offense in particular as worthy of impeachment: a candidate’s interference with the Electoral College.
“If the president bribes members of the Electoral College in order to obtain office, it was clear from the debates that that was thought to be an impeachable offense,” said Cass R. Sunstein, a law professor at Harvard and the author of “Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide.”
“That’s an exception to the general proposition that it has to be abuse of the authority you have by virtue of being president,” he said. “It was an effort to protect the sanctity — and I think sanctity is the right word — of the process by which someone becomes president.”