Former President Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court on Monday to step in and weigh in on his claim of presidential immunity after the DC Circuit Court of Appeals sided with special counsel Jack Smith – ruling that Trump is not immune from prosecution. The lower court held off on issuing the mandate until Monday in order to allow Trump’s legal team time to approach the Supreme Court.
Trump is specifically asking the Supreme Court to pause the lower court’s ruling until he can formally appeal, which will further delay his trial in front of District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan.
BREAKING: Trump asks Supreme Court to halt an appeals court ruling denying his bid to dismiss his election interference case based on presidential immunity. pic.twitter.com/sccmQSQEcb
— Katelynn Richardson (@katesrichardson) February 12, 2024
The trial was originally scheduled for March 4, however Chutkan vacated the date in early February amid Trump’s immunity defense, and noted that the court would “set a new schedule if and when the mandate is returned.” Chutkan’s decision also denied Trump’s bid to toss the case in December based on the immunity claim.
Smith sought to keep the trial on schedule in December by asking the Supreme Court to take up the question before the appeals court had a chance to consider it, but the justices rejected his request.
“President Trump’s claim that Presidents have absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for their official acts presents a novel, complex, and momentous question that warrants careful consideration on appeal,” the application states. “The panel opinion below, like the district court, concludes that Presidential immunity from prosecution for official acts does not exist at all. This is a stunning breach of precedent and historical norms.” –Daily Caller
In January, Trump’s legal team presented oral arguments to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, which Trump attended. The Judge, Biden appointee Florence Pan, questioned whether presidential immunity extended to such examples as a president ordering SEAL Team Six to assassinate a political rival without facing criminal charges.
“For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant. But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution,” the panel wrote in its Feb. 6 ruling. “Former President Trump lacked any lawful discretionary authority to defy federal criminal law and he is answerable in court for his conduct.”
In short, to be continued…