Trump Cites Presidential Immunity In Bid To Dismiss Federal Cases


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Lawyers for former President Donald Trump filed their first motion to dismiss all the federal charges against him on Thursday, arguing that he was acting within his official capacity in the weeks following the 2020 election and, therefore, should be granted immunity from prosecution.

“Breaking 234 years of precedent, the incumbent administration has charged President Trump for acts that lie not just within the ‘outer perimeter,’ but at the heart of his official responsibilities as President,” Trump’s attorneys say in their filing with U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the case, as reported by ABC News. “In doing so, the prosecution does not, and cannot, argue that President Trump’s efforts to ensure election integrity, and to advocate for the same, were outside the scope of his duties.”

The outlet reported further:

The filing is the first in a series of anticipated motions to dismiss the case against Trump brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith that charged him with four counts related to his alleged plot to overturn the 2020 election.


Trump in August pleaded not guilty to charges of undertaking a “criminal scheme” to overturn the results of the 2020 election by enlisting a slate of so-called “fake electors,” using the Justice Department to conduct “sham election crime investigations,” trying to enlist the vice president to “alter the election results,” and promoting false claims of a stolen election as the Jan. 6 riot raged — all in an effort to subvert democracy and remain in power.

Trump has denied all wrongdoing and denounced the charges as “a persecution of a political opponent.”

In their filing, Trump’s lawyers also argued that Smith “falsely claims President Trump’s motives were impure” and that he “knew” reports of fraud in the election were untrue.

“…[As] the Constitution, the Supreme Court, and hundreds of years of history and tradition all make clear, the President’s motivations are not for the prosecution or this Court to decide,” they argue. “Rather, where, as here, the President’s actions are within the ambit of his office, he is absolutely immune from prosecution.”

Trump’s lawyers also partially based their argument on the fact that Trump was acquitted by the Senate following his second impeachment after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.

“The Impeachment Clauses provide that the President may be charged by indictment only in cases where the President has been impeached and convicted by trial in the Senate,” they wrote. “Here, President Trump was acquitted by the Senate for the same course of conduct… The Special Counsel cannot second-guess the judgment of the duly elected United States Senate.”

ABC News said that Chutkan will now likely schedule a briefing on the matter, providing dates for the government to respond to the filing.


Last month, Smith was thwarted again in his attempt to implicate another Republican as he widened his investigation into the Capitol riot after filing charges against former President Donald Trump in association with events that day.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled earlier this month that Smith cannot have access to the phone records of Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) because allowing him to obtain that data amounts to a breach of the Republican lawmaker’s immunity under the Constitution’s “speech and debate” clause.

Smith was attempting to access Perry’s communications with colleagues and Trump administration officials, Politico reported. But the clause in question protects members of Congress from being dragged into legal proceedings while they are engaging in their elected official duties.

“While elections are political events, a member’s deliberation about whether to certify a presidential election or how to assess information relevant to legislation about federal election procedures are textbook legislative acts,” U.S. District Judge Neomi Rao wrote in the opinion.

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