Wary US Supreme Court could extend Donald Trump’s immunity bid past November election

The US Supreme Court suggested it might drag out Donald Trump’s claim of immunity from prosecution, an outcome that could doom any chance of a pre-election trial on charges of trying to stay in power illegally.

Hearing arguments in Washington, the justices expressed scepticism toward the former president’s sweeping arguments for immunity for his efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory.

But a pivotal member, Chief Justice John Roberts, said he disagreed with part of an appeal court opinion letting the trial go forward and raised the possibility of returning the case to the lower courts for a closer look at the allegations against Trump.

“The Court of Appeals did not get into a focused consideration of what acts we’re talking about or what documents we’re talking about,” Roberts said.

A demonstrator speaks as the US Supreme Court hears arguments on Donald Trump’s claim of presidential immunity on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

Another pivotal justice, Brett Kavanaugh, worried aloud about the long-term effect of leaving presidents vulnerable to prosecution for their official acts.

He said he was concerned that “it’s going to cycle back and be used against the current president or the next president and the next president and the next president after that”.

Special Counsel Jack Smith has a narrow window to put Trump in front of a Washington jury before voters go to the polls on November 5. The judge overseeing the case has said she will allow three months to prepare for a trial that could last two to three months.

Polls indicate a conviction of Trump could undercut the presumptive Republican nominee’s election chances.

Arizona indicts Trump allies Giuliani, Meadows, 16 others in 2020 election scheme

The schedule matters all the more because of the broad expectation that, should Trump reclaim the White House in January, he would take the extraordinary step of ordering the Justice Department to drop the prosecution.

The case is one of four prosecutions hanging over Trump, including one already proceeding in New York state court over hush-money payments to a porn star.

Trump has also claimed presidential immunity in those cases, even though many of the allegations involve alleged conduct when he was a private citizen.



Read More

Leave a Reply