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Trump's Campaign Says Former President 'Respectfully Disagrees' with Appeals Court's Immunity Ruling

'Former President Trump’s stance would collapse our system of separated powers,' ruled a three judge panel

Trump's Campaign Says Former President 'Respectfully Disagrees' with Appeals Court's Immunity Ruling

A panel of three judges from the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that former President Donald Trump cannot claim presidential immunity and could face a jury trial.

In their unanimous decision, the judges rejected Trump’s argument that he could only be prosecuted for the allegations against him stemming from his actions on and before Jan. 6, 2021 if he had been impeached by the Senate.

“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 court said in its opinion on Feb. 6. “But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution.”

The riot at the U.S. Capitol occurred during the final weeks of Trump's fourth year in office — 14 days before President Joe Biden was sworn in.

The panel further argued that Trump “did not concede the 2020 election” and that he and his supporters “made numerous attempts to challenge the results.”

Trump was indicted in August 2023 following a special counsel’s investigation into his role in the Jan. 6 riot. The four counts brought against the former president include conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding and conspiracy against rights.

“We emphasize that whether the Indictment’s allegations are supported by evidence sufficient to sustain convictions must be determined at a later stage of the prosecution,” the judges noted.

Trump’s 2024 reelection campaign denounced the panel’s ruling, arguing that “prosecuting a President for official acts violates the Constitution and 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," said spokesman Steven Cheung in a statement. “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."

"President Trump respectfully disagrees with the DC Circuit’s decision and will appeal it in order to safeguard the Presidency and the Constitution," Cheung said. 

According to their summary of his defense, the panel believes Trump claimed “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,” and that “the Executive has carte blanche to violate the rights of individual citizens to vote and to have their votes count.”

“Former President Trump’s stance would collapse our system of separated powers by placing the President beyond the reach of all three Branches. Presidential immunity against federal indictment would mean that, as to the President, the Congress could not legislate, the Executive could not prosecute and the Judiciary could not review,” stated the judges. “We cannot accept that the office of the Presidency places its former occupants above the law for all time thereafter.”

The judges further contend that the Impeachment Judgment Clause of the U.S. Constitution “limits the consequences of impeachment to removal and disqualification from office, but explicitly preserves the option of criminal prosecution of an impeached official ‘according to Law.’”

The Republican primary front-runner is expected to appeal to the full D.C. Circuit Court. 

The ruling comes days before the Supreme Court considers another untested question raised by Trump’s candidacy — whether the former president is an insurrectionist barred by the Constitution from returning to the White House because of his actions around Jan. 6.” reports The Washington Post

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