A US court rules that Trump does not enjoy immunity in the election interference case Politics news
The appeals court says the former president does not have immunity from charges of conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
The United States Court of Appeals ruled that former Pres Donald Trump He is not immune from federal charges that he planned to overturn his 2020 election defeat to President Joe Biden.
“For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become a Trump citizen, with all the defenses of any other criminal defendant,” a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said on Tuesday.
“But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as president no longer protects him from this prosecution,” her ruling said.
This decision marks the second time in as many months that judges have rejected Trump’s arguments that he cannot be tried for his actions while in the White House.
A Trump campaign spokesman said the ruling “threatens the bedrock of our republic.”
“Without complete immunity, the President of the United States will not be able to properly carry out his duties!” Spokesman Stephen Cheung said in a statement. He said Trump would appeal the ruling, but did not say whether he would first seek review from the full appeals court in Washington or go directly to the Supreme Court.
The case will remain on pause until at least Monday to give Trump time to appeal.
Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane, reporting from Washington, said the rejection by the courts was a “fairly harsh decision” for Trump.
“While this is a very bad sign for the president’s immunity claims, it’s not the end of the road. It’s possible the Supreme Court will decide, but again they can just say, ‘We’re not going to take this case,'” Culhane explained, in which case they could The trial will begin within weeks.
The Court of Appeal took center stage in the immunity dispute after the Supreme Court said last month it would temporarily stay away from that dispute, rejecting a request from special counsel Jack Smith for a summary ruling.
Trump’s lawyers say former presidents cannot be criminally prosecuted for their official actions unless they are first impeached by the House and removed from office by the Senate.
The former Republican president has been impeached by the House of Representatives twice. After trials in the Senate, a majority of senators convicted him, but both times they failed to achieve the two-thirds majority required to remove him from office and he was acquitted.
US District Judge Tanya Chutka, presiding over the case, rejected Trump’s arguments in December, saying the president’s office “does not give a lifetime pass to get out of prison free.”
While Trump’s lawyers took their arguments to the Washington Court of Appeals after losing the initial decision, Smith asked the Supreme Court to weigh in first, hoping to get a quick and final ruling and preserve a March 4 trial date in the federal election interference case.
However, the Supreme Court rejected the request, leaving the matter to the Court of Appeal.
Even if the courts do not accept Trump’s argument, the appeals are likely to achieve his goal of delaying the trial beyond March 4 and perhaps beyond the presidential election in November, which is expected to be a rematch between Trump and Biden.
If Trump wins in November, he could pardon himself or ask the Justice Department to close the federal case.
However, he faces three other criminal cases, all state cases, which the bosses cannot suppress.
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