President Donald Trump has been labeled a flight risk due to the potential criminal charges he could face after he leaves office, including ones tying him to the incursion of the Capitol last week.
“He’s got money. He’s got property. He’s got access,” McNabb said.
Trump has multiple luxury properties in countries that do not have extradition treaties with the United States. Extradition is an action in which one jurisdiction delivers a person accused of a crime to the country where the crime was committed, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
The president even floated the idea of leaving the country if he lost the 2020 presidential election during a campaign event in Georgia in October.
“Running against the worst candidate in the history of presidential politics puts pressure on me. Could you imagine if I lose?” he said.
“I’m not going to feel so good. Maybe I’ll have to leave the country? I don’t know.”
Trump says he may leave the US if Biden wins. pic.twitter.com/XmbtYpNDoh
— David Mack (@davidmackau) October 17, 2020
Trump has properties in the United Arab Emirates and Scotland, and an unfinished hotel in Azerbaijan, where he could be protected. Scotland has one of the strongest extradition treaties in the world, but the agreement has loopholes, according to The Times.
“He’s not going back to New York and he is not going to enjoy the comfort at Mar-a-Lago he would have in the pre-Capitol-ransacking world,” retired Brig. Gen. Peter Zwack said. “I’ll bet the feasibility of fleeing has come up because, in my mind, it is the only way to avoid instant accountability and reckoning.”
Trump qualifies for Secret Service protection as a former president. Agents could accompany him if he legally visits another country, but they cannot go with him if he flees to escape criminal charges.
The Secret Service would also have to turn him over to a foreign country’s law enforcement if an arrest warrant or criminal charges are issued while he is in another country.
“The Secret Service would have to step back, but it would be an interesting situation,” McNabb said.
“If they continued to protect President Trump that would make them part of a conspiracy to prevent a criminal defendant from returning to the United States.”
Trump could use the political offense exception to block extradition by arguing that his alleged crimes were “in the context of a political struggle and should not be treated like ordinary crimes,” according to The Times.
However, in order to use that defense, Trump would have to acknowledge he played a role in the incursion of the Capitol.
“President Trump could fall within because to qualify, an individual has to show there was an immediate physical riot or uprising and their charges arise out of that uprising,” McNabb said.
Author: Erin Coates