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Election Subversion Case Puts Trump’s Immunity Assertion Under Scrutiny

In a recent U.S. appeals court session, Donald Trump’s immunity claims regarding election subversion faced intense scrutiny. Judges questioned the former president’s assertion that he is immune from criminal charges related to overturning the 2020 election.

Trump’s Legal Defense

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Facing an impending trial on federal charges of election subversion, Trump’s legal team argued that former presidents should be immune from prosecution for actions taken while in office. However, this argument encountered skepticism from the panel of three judges.

Judicial Skepticism

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During the hearing, judges expressed deep skepticism about the broad scope of immunity Trump’s legal team proposed. They challenged the notion that a former president could be shielded from charges involving activities like selling pardons or divulging military secrets.

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Pandora’s Box Warning

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Post-hearing, Trump warned of potential chaos in the country if the case proceeds, referring to it as the opening of Pandora’s box. Despite concerns about the consequences, the former president did not explicitly discourage his supporters from resorting to violence.

Trump’s Threat to Biden

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In a pre-hearing video, Trump issued a pointed threat, suggesting he might prosecute Joe Biden if the Democrat defeats him in the upcoming presidential election. He emphasized that if he doesn’t receive immunity, Biden shouldn’t either, hinting at a potential legal battle.

U.S. Prosecutors’ Argument

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U.S. prosecutors countered Trump’s claims, asserting he was acting as a candidate, not a president when pressuring officials to overturn the election results. They argued that Trump’s encouragement of supporters to march to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was outside the scope of presidential duties.

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Trump’s Political Standing

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Despite facing 91 criminal counts in four separate cases, Trump has maintained a commanding lead among Republican contenders for the 2024 presidential nomination. The first criminal charge against him was announced in March, leading to a surge in his popularity within the party.

Looming Criminal Trial

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Trump, the first former U.S. president to be criminally prosecuted, is set to go to trial in March. The U.S. Justice Department argues that presidents cannot be indicted while in office for official duties, a stance challenged by Trump’s defense.

Impeachment and Senate Conviction

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Trump’s lawyer, D. John Sauer, argued that a former president could only be charged for post-office conduct if first impeached by the House of Representatives and convicted in the Senate. Despite two impeachments, the Senate failed to condemn Trump.

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Republican Senators’ Stance

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During Trump’s impeachment for attempting to overturn the 2020 election, some Republican senators chose not to convict him, asserting that he could be held accountable in court instead. This stance reflects the ongoing political divisions around Trump’s actions.

‘Not Above the Law’

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The Justice Department countered Trump’s immunity claim, highlighting the unprecedented nature of his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. They argued that granting immunity for such actions would set a dangerous precedent, allowing future presidents to commit crimes with impunity.

Appeals Court Decision Impact

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The outcome and timing of the appeals court’s ruling will significantly influence whether Trump faces trial ahead of the November election. The case, accusing Trump of hindering the counting and certification of his 2020 defeat, is one of four criminal prosecutions he faces this year.

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Supreme Court Possibility

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Any appeals court ruling will likely be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. With Trump’s immunity claim already rejected by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, the legal battle’s resolution may have far-reaching consequences on the trajectory of Trump’s political and legal future.

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