The President of the United States does not have the ability to commit any crimes he wants while in office, according to the DC Circuit Court.
Special counsel Jack Smith launched a criminal cased related to former President Donald Trump’s alleged election interference case in the U.S. District Court. He faces four counts of crimes, which include conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Trump has pleaded not guilty but hoped the court would toss the case by citing an all-encompassing presidential immunity.
The ruling is a major blow to Trump’s key defense thus far in the federal election subversion case brought against him by special counsel Jack Smith. The former President had argued that the conduct Smith charged him over was part of his official duties as President and therefore shield him from criminal liability.
“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 court wrote.
The ruling from the three-judge panel was unanimous. The three-judge panel who issued the ruling Tuesday includes two judges, J. Michelle Childs and Florence Pan, who were appointed by Joe Biden and one, Karen LeCraft Henderson, who was appointed by George H.W. Bush.
Trump’s team could appeal the ruling directly to the Supreme Court, or first ask for en banc review at the appeals court, meaning the case would be heard again, but this time by the full DC Circuit.
The former president responded to the news in all caps.
A PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES MUST HAVE FULL IMMUNITY, WITHOUT WHICH IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM/HER TO PROPERLY FUNCTION. ANY MISTAKE, EVEN IF WELL INTENDED, WOULD BE MET WITH ALMOST CERTAIN INDICTMENT BY THE OPPOSING PARTY AT TERM END. EVEN EVENTS THAT “CROSS THE LINE”…
— Donald J. Trump Posts From His Truth Social (@TrumpDailyPosts) February 6, 2024
The court did not appear impressed by the reasoning from the former president’s lawyer that the occupant of the White House could send a SEAL team in to assassinate his opponent.
The ruling will now likely head to the Supreme Court where the president’s fate could be decided in the next few weeks.
In other words, all Trump can do to keep the case on hold is to go to #SCOTUS by next Monday.
The Court could deny the stay; it could grant the stay; or it could decide to just resolve the immunity question *now*.
Either way, we should know a lot more within the next two weeks.
— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) February 6, 2024
A conviction in any of the cases where Trump has been charged would be devastating for his re-election campaign.
As New Conservative Post reported last month: “Fair or not, Democrats have more reasons to indict and convict Donald Trump before the election of 2024. A recent large national survey of American adults says that only 20 percent of voters will vote for former President Donald Trump if he is convicted of any of the felonies he’s currently facing.”