A liberal federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that former President Donald Trump does not have immunity from being prosecuted for alleged crimes committed while in office.
In response, the Trump campaign vowed to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court and said the current prosecution, led by Special Counsel Jack Smith, “threatens the bedrock of our Republic.”
“If immunity is not granted to a President, every future President who leaves office will be immediately indicted by the opposing party. Without complete immunity, a President of the United States would not be able to properly function!” said Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung.
“Deranged Jack Smith’s prosecution of President Trump for his Presidential, official acts is unconstitutional under the doctrine of Presidential Immunity and the Separation of Powers,” he continued.
“Prosecuting a President for official acts violates the Constitution and threatens the bedrock of our Republic. President Trump respectfully disagrees with the DC Circuit’s decision and will appeal it in order to safeguard the Presidency and the Constitution,” Cheung concluded.
The decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was made by a three-judge panel comprised of Judges Karen Henderson, a late President George H. W. Bush appointee, and Michelle Childs and Florence Pan, whom President Joe Biden appointed.
“For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant,” the D.C. Circuit judges wrote. “But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution.”
The unanimous 57-page decision is a win for Jack Smith, who is trying to put Trump on trial in 2024 for supposedly attempting to overturn the 2020 election. Trump was indicted in August 2023 on four counts in this specific case related to January 6 and the riot at the U.S. Capitol, as Breitbart News reported. They are: “One on conspiracy to defraud the U.S.; one on conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; one of obstruction and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and one of conspiracy against rights.”
“We conclude that the interest in criminal accountability, held by both the public and the Executive Branch, outweighs the potential risks of chilling Presidential action and permitting vexatious litigation,” the panel concluded.
“Instead of inhibiting the President’s lawful discretionary action, the prospect of federal criminal liability might serve as a structural benefit to deter possible abuses of power and criminal behavior,” the judges wrote.
No one who’s been watching is shocked by this partisan hackery but here we go.
DC appeals court has ruled that Trump does not have presidential immunity that would shield him in the J6 case
Time for SCOTUS to step in.
If POTUS doesn’t have immunity they’ll be incapable of…
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 6, 2024
Donald Trump Jr. also reacted to the ruling, calling the decision “partisan hackery.”
“No one who’s been watching is shocked by this partisan hackery but here we go. DC appeals court has ruled that Trump does not have presidential immunity that would shield him in the J6 case. Time for SCOTUS to step in,” he said in a post to X.
If POTUS doesn’t have immunity they’ll be incapable of action for fear of future partisan reprisal. That endangers the United States and sets a terrible precedent. If this becomes the norm would a Trump DOJ prosecute Obama for droning an American? If not why not?
The case is United States v. Trump, No. 23-3228, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.