Adam Schiff, Dems expect Trump will face real jail time the minute he’s out of office. But, Rand Paul has a question.

Do virulently anti-Trump Democrats like Rep. Adam Schiff want America to be a banana republic? Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican, seems to believe so.

According to him, suggestions by those like Schiff that President Donald Trump deserves to be imprisoned for alleged campaign finance violations are appallingly dangerous.

“There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him,” Schiff said Sunday morning on CBS. “That he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.”

Listen:

Schiff offered the suggestion while speaking with “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan about the sentencing memo filed last week against the president’s former attorney Michael Cohen.

In one memo, federal prosecutors in New York recommended Cohen be served with “[a] substantial term of imprisonment” for committing “four distinct federal crimes,” including violating campaign finance laws and attempting to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

“During the campaign, Cohen played a central role in two similar schemes to purchase the right to stories –– each from women who claimed to have had an affair with Individual-1 –– so as to suppress the stories and thereby prevent them from influencing the election,” the memo reads.

“With respect to both payments, Cohen acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election. Cohen coordinated his actions with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments.”

“In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1. As a result of Cohen’s actions, neither woman spoke to the press prior to the election,” it concludes.

The term “Individual-1” refers to the president, though it’s unclear whether his alleged role in Cohen’s crimes warrants criminal prosecution, let alone incarceration. Like a large number of his Democrat peers, Schiff believes the answer is a resounding yes. Paul disagrees.

“I think we have to decide in our society whether criminal penalties are the way we should approach criminal finance,” he said on “Meet the Press.” “I personally think that if someone makes an error in filing paperwork or in not categorizing a campaign contribution correctly, it shouldn’t be jail time.”

“[I]f we get this way and if we’re going to prosecute people and put in jail for campaign finance violations, we’ve become a banana republic where every president gets prosecuted, and everybody gets thrown in jail when they’re done with office,” he added later.

Listen to part one of the discussion below:

Paul also addressed the sentencing document released Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Between 2015 and 2016, Cohen spoke with various Russian officials about building a Trump Tower in Moscow. During meetings with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees the following year, he lied about the specific timing and extent of these communications.

In a plea deal reached earlier this month with Mueller, he fessed up to lying. In exchange for fessing up, the special counsel recommended Friday that Cohen receive no prison time.

Just like with the other sentencing documents, what remains in question regarding this case is the president’s culpability. Because Cohen’s Trump Tower work had been completed on the president’s behalf, some believe the president is therefore culpable. But again Paul disagrees.

“I don’t quite understand it because I don’t know what’s illegal about trying to build a hotel in Russia,” he said. “So this is pretty common, and I see no problem with someone running for president trying to build a hotel somewhere.”

Listen to the rest of the discussion below:

He admitted that the deal would be problematic if it was linked to some quid-pro-quo exchange, but no evidence has surfaced to suggest that was the case.

Not everybody shares the Kentucky senator’s optimism about Trump’s fate. Renowned attorney Andrew McCarthy, a former chief assistant U.S. attorney, believes the president will indeed be indicted the moment he steps out of office.

“The major takeaway from the 40-page sentencing memorandum filed by federal prosecutors Friday for Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney, is this: The president is very likely to be indicted on a charge of violating federal campaign finance laws,” he opined in a column Saturday.

If that happened, would it make America a banana republic? Some say it would.

In fact, many feel America has already become one.

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Vivek Saxena

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