A federal appeals court ruled unanimously on Tuesday that Donald Trump has no immunity and he may be tried for trying to stay in power after losing the 2020 elections, a new judicial problem that falls on him in the middle of his presidential campaign to return to the White House.
“For the purposes of this criminal case, Former President Trump has become Citizen Trump, with all the defenses of any other criminal defendant. “Any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as president no longer protects him against this suit,” the three-judge panel wrote.
In a statement from his campaign, Trump disagreed.
“President Trump respectfully disagrees with the ruling of the DC Circuit Court and will appeal the decision to safeguard the presidency and the Constitution“says the statement signed by Steven Cheung, the former president's campaign spokesman.
Trump will appeal this decision: He has already indicated that he plans to ask the full US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and the US Supreme Court to review the ruling. What you are looking for is delay any federal sentencing until after the November 5 elections. The presiding judge has postponed the trial indefinitely as the immunity battle continues.
The Justice Department has long maintained that a current president cannot be prosecuted. But Trump raised the new statement that former presidents cannot either, at least for actions related to their official duties, unless they are first impeached and convicted by Congress. After being acquitted by the Senate of inciting the January 6, 2021 insurrection, Trump said that trying him in federal court would be a legal violation for trying him twice for the same crime.
Trump raised the novel claim that former presidents cannot be prosecuted. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon / AFP
Legal experts heard in court wrote that Trump's position It was “absurd”, and the three appeals judges who tried the case also decided this way. “I think it is paradoxical to say that your constitutional duty to see that the laws are faithfully executed allows you to violate criminal laws“said Karen L. Henderson, the only Republican on the panel, during arguments on the case in early January
When asked in that hearing if Trump's opinion on presidential impunity could allow the assassination of a political rival, former President D. John Sauer's defense attorney did not disagree. He only suggested that such action would “quickly” result in impeachment.
Trump, who today marches with a huge advantage in the Republican internal, he faces four criminal charges. It is unclear today how many of those cases can be tried by jury during this election year. The paradox is that the tycoon capitalize on these trials electorally because he presents himself as a political target of unfair trials promoted by a corrupt judicial system controlled by Democrats. His followers believe him and become enraged at every failure.
Days ago, the former president had published on his social network Truth Social, a post in capital letters (screaming) with his argument why immunity is necessary: “A president of the United States must have total immunity, without which it would be impossible for him to assume his duties. Any mistake, even if well-intentioned, would be followed by an accusation from the opposition party at the end of his term. Even events that “cross the line” must fall under full immunity or there will be years of trauma trying to determine right from wrong. There must be certainty, for example: the police cannot be prevented from doing their job of stopping crime in a strong and effective way because they want to protect themselves from the occasional “rogue cop” or “bad apple.” Sometimes you have to deal with the “good but maybe a little imperfect.”
Trump, who today has a huge advantage in the Republican race, faces four criminal charges. Photo: Reuters
All presidents must have complete and total presidential immunity or the authority or the president of the United States will be damaged and gone forever. I hope it is an easy decision.”
Trump's lawyer explained at trial that hypothetically a ruling against Trump would lead to “cycles of recrimination” in which each former president is accused of a crime. George W. Bush could be prosecuted for justifying the Iraq war with false information, he said; Barack Obama could be prosecuted for drone strikes that killed civilians.
Special Counsel Jack Smith's team, which brought the federal charges, argued that Trump's efforts to overturn the election results, which prosecutors say led to the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, They were criminals and They did not constitute official acts that were covered by presidential immunity.
“Never before have there been accusations that a sitting president, with private individuals and using the levers of power, has sought to fundamentally subvert the democratic republic and the electoral system,” one of Smith's attorneys said in court. “And, frankly, if that kind of fact pattern were to emerge again, I think it would be terribly frightening if there weren't some kind of mechanism to get to that.” criminally”.