Donald Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow tried to argue on Tuesday that Donald Trump should be “temporarily immune” from all criminal prosecutions just because he’s the president.
That claim was quickly shut down by Justice Elena Kagan, who reminded Sekulow that presidents are not “above the law.”
At a hearing to decide if Trump’s financial records can be subpoenaed by the state of New York, Sekulow argued that trump can’t be prosecuted because he is president.
Sekulow also claimed that it is a violation of the U.S. Constitution to pursue a criminal case against the president.
But Kagan offered another point of view.
“You have said that a number of times and made the point which we have made that a president can’t be treated just like an ordinary citizen,” Kagan said. “But it’s also true and indeed a fundamental precept of our Constitutional order that the president isn’t above the law.”
The justice reminded Sekulow that the earliest U.S. presidents were threatened with subpoenas.
Kagan asked: “Why isn’t the way to deal with these two things: that the president is special but that the president is just like an ordinary citizen in that he’s subject to law is to say the president can make these usual objections that a subpoena recipient can make about harassment or about burden. And the courts, in reviewing those, of course should take seriously the president’s objections and treat those with a certain kind of sensitivity and respect due to somebody who is a branch of government?”
You can listen to the argument in the video clip below: