Trump’s Lawyer Suggests Presidential Immunity Should Always Be Granted, Even in the Case of Assassination

Trump’s lawyer suggested in court that a President “should” be given immunity in the hypothetical case that they were to have an opponent “assassinated.” Here’s the full story.

Trump’s Appeal and Presidential Immunity

Donald Trump’s legal team launched a bold defense on Tuesday, asserting that US presidents are immune from prosecution even in cases of election interference.

The former president is appealing federal charges related to allegations of subverting the 2020 election results, including the charge of “conspiracy to defraud the United States.” 

Trump’s attorneys contended that he enjoys “absolute immunity” from prosecution for actions undertaken while he held the office of the U.S. president.

Legal Shield

This legal shield, according to his defense, extends even to extreme scenarios like ordering the political assassination of a member of the opposition. Speaking outside the court, Trump expressed his apprehension about the case, likening it to opening a “Pandora’s Box” of prosecuting political officials.

He warned that such a precedent could lead to future legal actions against Joe Biden, citing concerns about the U.S.’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.

Trump argued, “I think they feel this is the way they’re going to try and win, and that’s not the way it goes. There will be bedlam in the country.” 

Ongoing Debate

The concept of presidential immunity has been a subject of legal and constitutional debate throughout US history. While presidents are afforded certain protections to carry out their duties without fear of constant legal scrutiny, the idea of absolute immunity for any action, including potential criminal activities, pushes the boundaries of the law. 

Emphasizing the need for immunity, Trump stated, “When they talk about a threat to democracy, that’s your real threat to democracy. And I feel that as president you need to have immunity.”

However, The legal panel didn’t seem enthralled by Trump’s legal team’s argument. They expressed reservations about the concept of “absolute immunity.”

Hypothetical Scenario

Dean John Sauer, Trump’s attorney, faced tough questions, with Judge Florence Pan even posing a hypothetical scenario: “Could a president order Seal Team Six to assassinate a political rival?”

The lawyer replied, “He would have to be, and would, speedily be impeached and convicted before the criminal prosecution.” The skepticism from the panel shows that Trump may be fighting a lost cause with this one. 

The prosecution raised concerns about the potential implications of presidential immunity. James Pearce, a federal prosecutor representing Jack Smith, who brought the election interference charges, questioned the kind of world we would live in if a president’s actions, even grave ones, were not subject to criminal proceedings.

“What kind of world are we living in if a president orders a Seal team to assassinate a political rival and resigns, for example, before an impeachment?” he said, “Not a criminal act. A president sells a pardon, resigns or is not impeached? Not a crime… I think that is an extraordinarily frightening future… I think that should weigh extraordinarily heavily in the court’s consideration.” 

Court’s Decision and Potential Impact

The judges heard legal arguments for less than two hours before retiring. The panel may decide narrowly on Trump’s immunity in this specific case or issue a broader judgment on presidential immunity. The decision’s ripple effect could reach the Supreme Court, impacting other criminal cases against Trump in Georgia, New York, and Florida.

This pivotal moment in legal history not only determines Trump’s legal fate but sets a precedent that will echo through future debates on presidential accountability.

The Washington case, also addressing Trump’s alleged involvement in the Capitol riots of January 6, 2021, was initially set for March 5. However, it will likely be postponed pending the outcome of Trump’s appeals. His legal team hopes for delayed verdicts, strategically pushing them beyond November 5, the date of the presidential election. This would give him the potential power to pardon himself for federal convictions. 

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