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Win for Trump: The Supreme Court has yet to clear up the immunity question

Win for Trump: The Supreme Court has yet to clear up the immunity question

Date: December 23, 2023 2:54 am

Can former US President Trump be held criminally responsible for his actions while in office? Special Advocate Smith expressed hope that the Supreme Court will resolve the issue soon. But now nothing comes.

Former US President Donald Trump has been playing for time on the indictment against him for alleged election fraud – and can now claim victory. The US Supreme Court has declared that the question of Trump's immunity cannot be answered at this time.

This means that the planned early March date for the election fraud trial against Trump in the US capital Washington is no longer possible. The decision is a blow to special counsel Jack Smith, who has accused Trump of trying to alter the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Trump claims immunity

Meanwhile, new audio has surfaced showing how Trump pressured poll workers after the election. Special Counsel Smith asked the Supreme Court to immediately clarify whether Trump can be sued at the federal level for his conduct after the election three years ago — or whether he is protected by presidential immunity.

Trump supporters storm the Capitol building in Washington on January 6, 2021. Congress met there to formally confirm the victory of Democrat Joe Biden in the presidential election. Trump fired up his supporters during an earlier speech. As a result of the riots, five people died.

Special Investigator liked Court of Appeal to avoid

Trump's lawyers argued that he could not legally be sued for actions that were part of his duties as a Republican president. However, the judge in charge of the case rejected the relevant application. Trump's team appealed the decision — which means it's now up to the appeals court.

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But Special Counsel Smith chose an unusual path: He chose to bypass the Court of Appeals and go directly to the Supreme Court with a request to quickly resolve the issue: “This case involves issues of exceptional national importance.” Now the Supreme Court has rejected his petition without giving reasons.

This means the appeal has to go through the courts, which takes a long time. The Court of Appeal hearing is scheduled for January 9.

Trump is playing for time

The case is expected to return to the Supreme Court after the court's decision. This is the first time the U.S. Supreme Court has addressed the question of whether former presidents are immune from federal prosecution. So pending a Supreme Court decision, it is unlikely that the case against Trump will begin in Washington in early March.

Trump, who is still facing criminal charges, wants to return to the White House for Republicans. The 77-year-old is leading in internal party polls – with primaries for the candidate starting in a few weeks. So far everything points to a new version of the election campaign between Trump and incumbent President Joe Biden. Trump hopes to delay the charges against him until after the election. If he wins, he could ask his attorney general to close the federal investigation against him.

The new audio material is said to further incriminate Trump

At the same time, a story in the “Detroit News” newspaper caused a stir in America. The newspaper wrote about an audio recording of Trump from November 2020 that it said it had. In this, Trump is said to have pressured two election officials not to confirm the election results of an important district in the US state of Michigan.

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In response to the statement, Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said, “All actions taken by President Trump are to fulfill his duty as President of the United States to faithfully uphold the law and ensure the integrity of the election,” according to US media.

Trump's call fits the Republican pattern at a time when officials, election workers and politicians are being pressured not to accept the results of the presidential election. Trump lost the election to Biden. To this day he has not admitted his defeat and is spreading the lie that the election was “stolen”.

Ralf Borchard, ARD Washington, tagesschau, December 23, 2023 5:55 am