HomePoliticsTrump urges the US Supreme Court to approve 'absolute immunity' for ex-presidents

Trump urges the US Supreme Court to approve ‘absolute immunity’ for ex-presidents

By John Kruzel and Andrew Chung

WASHINGTON (Reuters) –Donald Trump filed a brief from the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday in its bid to win criminal immunity for trying to overturn his 2020 election loss, arguing that a former president “enjoys absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for his official actions.”

The case will be heard before the judges on April 25. Trump has appealed a lower court’s denial of his request to be shielded from the criminal case being prosecuted by special counsel Jack Smith because he was serving as president when he took the actions. the middle of the matter.

The filing makes arguments similar to those Trump’s lawyers have previously made and echoes statements he has made during his campaign as he tries to regain the presidency.

“The President cannot function, and the Presidency itself cannot maintain its vital independence, if the President faces criminal charges for official acts as soon as he leaves office,” the filing said.

Trump, the first former president to face criminal charges, is the Republican candidate challenging the Democratic president Joe Biden in the November 5 US elections. Biden defeated Trump in 2020.

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“A denial of criminal immunity would incapacitate any future president from de facto blackmail and extortion while in office, and condemn him to years of post-trauma at the hands of political opponents. The threat of future prosecution and imprisonment would become a political cudgel. to influence the most sensitive and controversial presidential decisions, thereby taking away the power, authority and decisiveness of the presidency,” Trump’s documents say.

Smith was appointed by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in November 2022. In August 2023, Smith filed four federal charges against Trump in the election subversion case, including conspiring to defraud the United States, obstructing the congressional certification of Biden’s election victory and conspiring to do so, and conspiring against the right of Americans to vote.

In a petition to the justices in February, Smith attempted to challenge presidential immunity.

“The nation has a compelling interest in seeing the charges brought to justice,” Smith said in the filing, adding that “the public interest in a speedy trial is at its height where, as here, a former president is accused of conspiracy to undermine the rule of law. the electoral process so that he could remain in office.”

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Smith said Trump’s criminal charges reflect an alleged attempt to “keep himself in power and prevent the legitimate winner of the 2020 presidential election from coming to power. The crimes charged strike at the core of our democracy.”

The Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments on Trump’s immunity bid next month postponed the trial, giving him a boost as he tries to delay prosecution as he runs to regain the presidency. Trump has three other pending criminal cases. He has pleaded not guilty in all four cases, attempting to portray them as politically motivated.

Trump tried to have the charges dismissed last October based on his claim of immunity. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected that claim in December.

On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 3-0 against Trump’s immunity claim on February 6, rejecting his request for “unfettered authority to commit crimes that would neutralize the most basic checks on executive power” – the recognition and implementation of the election results.”

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The case pushes the country’s highest judicial body, whose 6-3 conservative majority consists of three judges appointed by Trump, back into the election battle.

Trump and his allies falsely claimed the 2020 election was stolen and devised a plan to use fake electors to thwart Congress’ approval of Biden’s victory. Trump also tried to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to cancel the certification. Trump’s supporters attacked the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in an attempt to prevent the certification.

If Trump regains the presidency, he could try to use his powers to end the prosecution or possibly pardon himself for any federal crimes.

(Reporting by John Kruzel and Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham)

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