The D.C. Federal Court of Appeals is expected to hand down a decision on Donald Trump’s claim to “absolute” presidential immunity any day now, and the former president is upping his public pressure campaign for a favorable decision.
Early Thursday morning, Trump took to Truth Social to rant about the exemption he believes a president — or former president — should have from prosecution over crimes committed while in office. “EVEN EVENTS THAT ‘CROSS THE LINE’ MUST FALL UNDER TOTAL IMMUNITY, OR IT WILL BE YEARS OF TRAUMA TRYING TO DETERMINE GOOD FROM BAD,” Trump wrote.
A PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES MUST HAVE FULL IMMUNITY, WITHOUT WHICH IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM/HER TO PROPERLY FUNCTION. ANY MISTAKE, EVEN IF WELL INTENDED, WOULD BE MET WITH ALMOST CERTAIN INDICTMENT BY THE OPPOSING PARTY AT TERM END. EVEN EVENTS THAT “CROSS THE LINE”…
— Donald J. Trump Posts From His Truth Social (@TrumpDailyPosts) January 18, 2024
The former president argued that without total blanket immunity, the chief executive would be stripped of the “authority and decisiveness” necessary to carry out their duties in office. “Sometimes you just have to live with ‘great but slightly imperfect,’” he wrote in the all-caps post.
The absurd extent to which Trump and his legal team believe presidential immunity should shield the president from any form of criminal accountability was evident during oral arguments before the appeals court, which took place last week. One of Trump’s attorneys claimed that — under their interpretation of the law — the president would “have to be speedily impeached and convicted” before a criminal prosecution could occur — even if the crime in question was something like using S.E.A.L. Team Six to assassinate a political rival.
Judge: “Could a president who ordered SEAL Team 6 to assassinate a political rival who was not impeached … be subject to criminal prosecution?”
Trump lawyer: “If he were impeached and convicted first.”
Judge: “Your answer is no?”
Trump lawyer: “My answer is qualified yes.” pic.twitter.com/bBCdaRcT2O
— The Recount (@therecount) January 9, 2024
Trump’s bid for immunity from crimes committed while in office is part of a last-ditch bid to undermine the Justice Department’s criminal case trying his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, and his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. Trump was charged in the case last August. The former president has previously claimed that he was simply doing his “duty” as president in the aftermath of the 2020 election by promoting baseless claims of election fraud and is therefore “entitled to IMMUNITY.”
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