US Court Says Donald Trump Does Not Have Immunity

( – A US court has determined that former President Donald Trump can be held legally accountable for allegations of attempting to subvert the outcome of the 2020 election, rejecting his assertion of presidential immunity.

Trump had argued that his presidential role shielded him from criminal prosecution for actions he believed were within the scope of his official duties. However, the Washington DC-based appellate court unanimously disagreed in a recent decision, marking a significant defeat for Trump, who has long leveraged the concept of presidential immunity in various legal battles.

The court’s opinion emphasized, “We cannot accept former President Trump’s claim that a president has unbounded authority to commit crimes that would neutralize the most fundamental check on executive power – the recognition and implementation of election results.” It further stated that Trump, in the context of this criminal case, is to be considered a private citizen, subject to the same legal defenses as any other defendant.

Despite the adverse ruling, Trump’s team signaled intentions to appeal, pointing to potential implications for future presidents and the functionality of the presidency without absolute immunity. Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign, remarked, “If immunity is not granted to a president, every future president who leaves office will be immediately indicted by the opposing party.”

Critics of the court’s decision, including New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, argue that it undermines constitutional principles and poses a threat to the nation’s foundation. The appellate court, however, countered that offering a president immunity from prosecution would jeopardize the United States’ system of checks and balances among its three government branches.

The panel, which includes two judges appointed by Democrats and one by a Republican, underscored that Trump’s actions, if proven, represent a direct attack on the governmental framework. The judges asserted that the presidency does not forever place its former holders above the law.

Special Counsel Jack Smith has charged Trump with conspiring to overturn the 2020 election results and committing fraud to remain in power. Although Trump’s trial was initially set to begin on March 4, the proceedings might face delays pending further legal developments, including a potential review by the Supreme Court.

Legal experts and commentators have noted the thoroughness and depth of the appellate court’s 57-page ruling, suggesting it leaves little room for a successful appeal. The decision has been hailed for its clarity and detailed reasoning, effectively challenging Trump’s legal arguments and emphasizing the principle that no individual is above the law.