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Trump Claims He Cannot Be Charged For Jan 6 Because He Has ‘Absolute Presidential Immunity’

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Donald Trump is invoking 'presidential immunity' in the Jan 6 criminal indictment.
Donald Trump is invoking 'presidential immunity' in the Jan 6 criminal indictment. (Photo: Imgur)

Former President Donald Trump is once again invoking ‘presidential immunity’ to fend off charges related to his attempt to stay in power despite losing the 2020 election by inciting an insurrection on January 6, 2021.

His legal team is aggressively pushing for the dismissal of the federal case in a Washington DC court, arguing that all actions in question fall within the “outer perimeter” of his official duties as the nation’s top public official.

In a motion filed on Thursday, Trump’s lawyers assert, “The acts alleged in the indictment lie firmly within the ‘outer perimeter’ of the President’s official responsibility. Therefore, they cannot form the basis of criminal charges against President Trump.”

Trump, who maintains his innocence on four counts, including conspiring to defraud the United States and obstructing an official proceeding, claims an ‘absolute Presidential immunity from [civil] damages liability for acts within the ‘outer perimeter’ of his official responsibility’”.

It’s worth noting that Trump is facing criminal charges rather than dealing with a civil case.

Highlighting the uncharted legal territory, however, the legal team argues that no court has definitively ruled on whether this immunity extends to criminal prosecution.

“No court has addressed whether such Presidential immunity includes immunity from criminal prosecution for the President’s official act. The question remains a ‘‘serious and unsettled question’ of law,’” the filing stated.

The legal team contends that the concept of presidential immunity is “rooted in the separation of powers under the Constitution” and shields Trump from future prosecution for decisions unpopular with political opponents.

“To ensure the President may serve unhesitatingly, without fear that his political opponents may one day prosecute him for decisions they dislike, the law provides absolute immunity ‘for acts within the ‘outer perimeter’ of [the President’s] official responsibility,’” the lawyers stated.

They argue that Trump’s “efforts to ensure election integrity” cannot have been outside the bounds of his duties and therefore cannot be subject to criminal action against him.

Legal experts anticipate a formidable legal battle, with some predicting challenges in both the court of Judge Tanya Chutkan and the DC Circuit. The case raises questions about the limits of presidential immunity and the balance between executive power and accountability.

Attorney Robert DeNault commented on Trump’s repeated efforts to secure recognition of presidential immunity from the Supreme Court, remarking, “as Trump begins his third (or fourth? or fifth?) attempt to get SCOTUS to recognize some form of presidential immunity, I’m recalling this paragraph from Trump v. Vance, where SCOTUS rejected his argument a president is immune from state grand jury subpoenas. Seems relevant”.

In that case, the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s argument that a president is immune from state grand jury subpoenas, stating, “a king is born to power and ‘can do no wrong’. The President, by contrast, is ‘of the people’ and subject to the law”.

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