Trump’s Immunity Claim Now Awaits Supreme Court’s Decision

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia delivered a pivotal ruling against President Donald Trump, deciding he does not possess presidential immunity in relation to the January 6 and 2020 election case brought by Biden Department of Justice (DOJ) Special Counsel Jack Smith. This development inches Trump closer to a potential criminal trial, a scenario that ripples through the political landscape, particularly as he cements his status as the GOP frontrunner for 2024.

The three-judge panel unanimously dismissed Trump’s immunity claim, emphasizing that his status as a former president does not extend to immunity in this criminal prosecution. They stated, “For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant.” This ruling challenges the longstanding notion of presidential immunity, raising concerns about the implications for future presidents.

Trump, who has consistently maintained his innocence, is expected to appeal to the Supreme Court. His argument centers on the broad legal protections historically afforded to presidents, asserting that criminal prosecution for official actions should be preceded by impeachment and removal from office. The House twice impeached Trump, but he was easily acquitted by the Senate on both occasions.

The indictment by Smith accuses Trump of employing false claims of voter fraud to disrupt the certification of the 2020 election results. Trump’s legal team argues that this is a politically motivated effort to undermine his campaign, a sentiment echoed by many of his supporters who see this as an attack on his political future.

In a post to his Truth Social account immediately following the D.C. ruling, Trump highlighted the critical nature of presidential immunity, stating, “If immunity is not granted to a president, every president that leaves office will be immediately indicted by the opposing party.”

When heard ultimately by the Supreme Court, the unprecedented case will set a crucial benchmark for the extent of legal protections available to former presidents.

Tuesday’s ruling also continues the delay of the trial of Smith’s case, previously scheduled to begin on March 4. The upcoming appeal will allow President Trump additional time to prepare his defense and potentially push the trial past the November general election.