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    HomePoliticsSpecial Counsel Jack Smith pushes back on Trump’s immunity claim

    Special Counsel Jack Smith pushes back on Trump’s immunity claim


    Special counsel Jack Smith pushed back on former President Donald Trump’s claim that he should be cloaked with absolute immunity from criminal prosecution, arguing in a new filing Saturday that the sweeping assertion “threatens to license Presidents to commit crimes to remain in office.”

    Smith’s response to Trump’s immunity claim in the federal election subversion case comes ahead of oral arguments before a US appeals court in Washington, DC, which are scheduled for January 9.

    “The defendant asserts (Br.1) that this prosecution ‘threatens … to shatter the very bedrock of our Republic.’ To the contrary: it is the defendant’s claim that he cannot be held to answer for the charges that he engaged in an unprecedented effort to retain power through criminal means, despite having lost the election, that threatens the democratic and constitutional foundation of our Republic,” Smith wrote in the new filing.

    “This Court should affirm and issue the mandate expeditiously to further the public’s — and the defendant’s — compelling interest in a prompt resolution of this case,” he added.

    Trump faces four counts in the case, including conspiring to defraud the United States and to obstruct an official proceeding. The former president has pleaded not guilty.

    Pre-trial proceedings were temporarily put on hold in the federal election subversion case pending Trump’s appeal of the district court judge’s ruling that, as a former president, he is not entitled to immunity for potential crimes he committed while in office.

    The trial was initially scheduled to begin in March.

    In his filing Saturday, Smith warned that allowing a former president this kind of broad immunity poses extreme danger.

    “The implications of the defendant’s broad immunity theory are sobering. In his view, a court should treat a President’s criminal conduct as immune from prosecution as long as it takes the form of correspondence with a state official about a matter in which there is a federal interest, a meeting with a member of the Executive Branch, or a statement on a matter of public concern,” the filing reads.

    “That approach would grant immunity from criminal prosecution to a President who accepts a bribe in exchange for directing a lucrative government contract to the payer; a President who instructs the FBI Director to plant incriminating evidence on a political enemy; a President who orders the National Guard to murder his most prominent critics; or a President who sells nuclear secrets to a foreign adversary, because in each of these scenarios, the President could assert that he was simply executing the laws; or communicating with the Department of Justice; or discharging his powers as Commander-in-Chief; or engaging in foreign diplomacy,” it adds.



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