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Trump calls for immunity as Supreme Court considers presidential powers


(The Center Square) – Former President Donald Trump took to his social media platform Friday morning to call for presidential immunity as he faces criminal charges and civil lawsuits across the nation ahead of the presidential election.

In February, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider Trump’s claims that he is protected from prosecution by presidential immunity for his official acts while in office. Oral arguments in the case are set for April 25. It could be the most-watched case in front of the Supreme Court this term, with implications for Trump and his upcoming re-match against President Joe Biden for the White House in November.

Federal prosecutors have said Trump is not entitled to immunity. Special Counsel Jack Smith has laid out his arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the high court to reject Trump’s claims of sweeping presidential immunity.

Smith’s team of prosecutors said Trump’s position that he can’t be prosecuted for official acts taken while president lacked support from the U.S. Constitution and presidential history.

Federal prosecutors said even if Trump is entitled to some immunity for officials acts, some of his actions were private in what prosecutors allege amounts to election interference.

Trump posted a series of messages on Truth Social, his social media platform, Friday morning about the issue.

“If immunity is not granted to a president, every president that leaves office will be immediately indicted by the opposing party,” he wrote in all caps. “Without complete immunity, a president of the United States would not be able to properly function.”

As Trump sees it, presidential immunity is key to a functioning democracy.

“If a President does not have Immunity, the Opposing Party, during his/her term in Office, can extort and blackmail the President by saying that, ‘if you don’t give us everything we want, we will Indict you for things you did while in Office,’ even if everything done was totally Legal and Appropriate,” Trump wrote. “That would be the end of the Presidency, and our Country, as we know it, and is just one of the many Traps there would be for a President without Presidential Immunity. Obama, Bush, and soon, Crooked Joe Biden, would all be in BIG TROUBLE.”

He also argued it’s not what the founders wanted.

“Without Presidential Immunity, the Presidency will lose its power and prestige, and under some Leaders, have no power at all,” Trump wrote. “The Presidency will be consumed by the other Branches of Government. THAT IS NOT WHAT OUR FOUNDERS WANTED!”

Prosecutors see the issue differently.

“The effective functioning of the Presidency does not require that a former President be immune from accountability for these alleged violations of federal criminal law,” prosecutors wrote in a 66-page brief. “To the contrary, a bedrock principle of our constitutional order is that no person is above the law – including the President. Nothing in constitutional text, history, precedent, or policy considerations supports the absolute immunity that petitioner seeks.”

In Washington, Smith’s team charged Trump with four federal counts related to contesting the 2020 election and the storming of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. The charges are conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction, and conspiracy against the right to vote and to have one’s vote counted, according to the indictment. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

A federal appeals court dealt Trump’s defense a major blow in February when it said he doesn’t have presidential immunity to protect him from charges of election interference in his Washington D.C. case.

“For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant,” the three-judge panel wrote in a unanimous decision. “But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution.”

Two of the judges were appointed by President Joe Biden – J. Michelle Childs and Florence Pan – and one, Karen LeCraft Henderson, by George H.W. Bush.

The Washington D.C. case remains on pause while awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court on Trump’s immunity claims. Oral arguments are scheduled for April 25.

Trump has said the criminal and civil cases he faces amount to election interference and were designed by Democrats to keep him out of the White House.

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