With all the implications of Cheney being involved in PlameGate, an interesting question arises: Can a Vice President by Indicted?
The WaPo’s Dan Froomkin calls the question “ridiculous“, but says, “Yes. Technically and legally, a sitting vice president can be indicted. In fact, there’s a precedent.”
Not long after he killed Alexander Hamilton in their famous 1804 duel, Vice President Aaron Burr was indicted for murder in both New York and New Jersey. No constitutional crisis ensued.
And as this 2000 Department of Justice memo lays out, the department researched the issue thoroughly in 1973.
Back then, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew was trying to stave off a grand jury investigation into kickback, bribery and tax evasion charges by insisting that he was only answerable to Congress.
After all, only Congress holds the power to remove the president or vice president from office — and presumably it would be impossible to function as vice president from a jail cell.
But none other that then-solicitor general Robert Bork concluded that, while “the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would impermissibly undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions,” the vice president was fair game.
The “brief from the solicitor general argued that, while the president was immune from indictment, the vice president was not, since his conviction would not disrupt the workings of the executive branch.”
Agnew ended up resigning his office as part of a plea bargain.
Why Froomkin would intimate that this is a “ridiculous” is beyond me. If there is evidence that Cheney is indeed involved, he needs to be removed from office. There’s nothing “ridiculous” about treason.