Trump Tells SCOTUS It Must Give Him Immunity or Presidents Will Face Blackmail


  • Donald Trump’s legal team offered stunning hypotheticals to defend Trump’s controversial claims.
  • The former president has claimed he has total immunity to criminal charges related to his acts as president.
  • Legal experts have rejected this view, arguing it would give future presidents almost imperial power.

Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers on Tuesday issued a blistering declaration to the Supreme Court about Trump’s controversial assertion of sweeping immunity to criminal prosecution.

In particular, Trump’s legal team claimed that if the high court were to find that former presidents do not hold “absolute immunity for criminal prosecution for official acts” then future presidents could be effectively blackmailed.

“A denial of criminal immunity would incapacitate every future President with de facto blackmail and extortion while in office, and condemn him to years of post-office trauma at the hands of political opponents,” Trump’s team wrote.

Trump and his lawyers have repeatedly pushed that their claimed immunity shield protects the former president from criminal charges related to his conduct on and before the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Justices previously agreed to hear Trump’s case, pushing back special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution of the former president.

Trump’s team has claimed immunity so sweeping that it has stunned some observers.

One notable example is when D. John Sauer, one of Trump’s lawyers, refused to deny that a president could hypothetically avoid criminal prosecution for ordering Navy SEALs to assassinate a political rival. Sauer argued that the president would have to be impeached for ordering the killing first, but left the door open if Congress were to decline to bring charges against the president.

Numerous legal experts have rejected the immunity argument, pointing out that accepting such a claim would increase the power of the presidency to almost imperial standards.

Sauer, who is also listed on the Supreme Court brief, and Trump’s team have argued that the former president can’t face criminal charges related to January 6 because the US Senate did not convict him of inciting the riot during an impeachment trial.

It is worth pointing out that some Republican senators refused to convict Trump because they felt that Congress does not have the power to impeach presidents who have left office. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said at the time that the chamber’s failure to convict Trump did not mean the former president was getting off scot-free.

“President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office as an ordinary citizen,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “He didn’t get away with anything yet.”

Elsewhere in the Supreme Court brief, Trump’s lawyers point to examples of recent presidents whose political rivals or critics suggested they could face criminal charges. The former president’s team points to President Bill Clinton’s controversial pardon of Marc Rich, President George W. Bush’s claim that Iraq held “weapons of mass destruction,” and President Barack Obama’s drone policy that led to the death of American citizens.

Interestingly, Trump’s team also points to conservative commentators who have argued that President Joe Biden should face charges for his immigration policy. Left unmentioned is that Trump himself has suggested that he would have Biden indicted.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case on April 25.



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