Donald Trump’s Claim of Immunity in January 6 Case Could Go to SCOTUS – Former President Donald Trump hopes to have the federal January 6 case tossed on the basis of presidential immunity and asked for a stay of his trial on Thursday until the issue is resolved.
Trump claims he acted as president when he gave his speech calling on then Vice President Mike Pence to refer slates of electors from states he contested back to the state legislatures for reconsideration.
“Breaking 234 years of precedent, the incumbent administration has charged President Trump for acts that lie not just within the ‘outer perimeter,’ but at the heart of his official responsibilities as President,” Trump’s lawyers argued last month. “In doing so, the prosecution does not, and cannot, argue that President Trump’s efforts to ensure election integrity, and to advocate for the same, were outside the scope of his duties.”
Donald Trump faces four felony charges in connection with his effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Judge Tanya Chutkan set the court date for March 4, 2024.
Donald Trump Lawyers Look for a Big Reprieve
Trump’s attorneys filed a motion in Federal District Court for the District of Columbia to stay the trial until questions related to the doctrine of presidential immunity are resolved.
“President Donald J. Trump respectfully requests that this Court stay all proceedings in this case until the issues raised in his Motion to Dismiss the Indictment Based on Presidential Immunity, Doc. 74, are fully resolved. The former president’s lawyers said “substantial claims of immunity should be ‘resolved prior to discovery.’ … ‘Immunity ordinarily should be decided by the court long before trial.” Hunter, 502 U.S. at 228. That is because immunity is “an entitlement not to stand trial or face the other burdens of litigation,” the lawyers said in their filing.
They continued, “Immunity doctrines such as Presidential, judicial, and legislative immunity are designed to protect public officials ‘not only from the consequences of litigation’s results but also from the burden of defending themselves.’”
The filing notes that Trump had filed a motion to dismiss the charges based on the belief that the ex-president acted “within the outer perimeter of his Presidential responsibilities”; consequently, he should not be required to submit to legal proceedings until the question is resolved.
Special Counsel: Former President Donald Trump Is Not Above the Law
Special Counsel Jack Smith reacted to the effort to dismiss the charges based on presidential immunity last month, saying that Donald Trump was not above the law.
“No legal principle, case, or historical practice supports the conclusion that a former president is immune from criminal prosecution for conduct undertaken during his presidency,” Smith’s office wrote.
Trump’s approach to the presidency has a Nixonian flare to it. Richard Nixon famously said that if the president does something, it is legal in his 1977 interview with British journalist David Frost.
“That novel approach to immunity would contravene the fundamental principle that “[n]o man in this country is so high that he is above the law,” Smith’s office wrote. “The defendant is not above the law. He is subject to the federal criminal laws like more than 330 million other Americans, including Members of Congress, federal judges, and everyday citizens.”
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.