Chris Matthews floated a novel legal theory on his MSNBC show “Hardball” Monday evening suggesting President Trump could resign as part of a deal with prosecutors to spare his children the possibility of being indicted and sent to prison.
“The president’s children stand right in the line of Mueller’s investigative progress — they stand as the next dominos to fall. But therein lies the problem, where earlier Mueller subjects have given Trump up, these two lack the option to do that,” Matthews said. “They can hardly testify against their father, which brings the country to the reckoning. If the prosecutor will not be stopped and the kids will not fall to him, we see the president’s adult children heading to prison.”
“But what if the prosecutor were to offer the president an alternative, what if he were to say he would let the children walk if the old man does the same?” he continued. “They get to go scot-free if he’s willing to take the Agnew way out. That would mean giving up the presidency in exchange for acquittals all around, not just for himself, but for all his kids.”
The “Agnew way out” refers to President Richard Nixon’s twice-elected vice president Spiro Agnew, who was forced to resign his office after growing questions about tax evasion in 1973.
Matthews floated at the end of his segment that this timeline could all play out in “the coming weeks.” So far Robert Mueller’s investigation has yielded multiple indictments including against former Trump presidential campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn.
There has been growing speculation — from Matthews and others — that in the absence of Trump indictment, Robert Mueller’s team could move to target the billionaire’s children. Donald Trump Jr. would be a leading target as a result of his June 2016 meeting with a Russian agent and stated interest in receiving campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton — regardless of the source. Ivanka Trump was also named by Matthews during his show.
As president, however, Trump could always just pardon his children at any time, thus sparing them any legal consequences, without making a deal that would also surrender his office.