Trump threatens ‘chaos’ if court rejects his request for criminal immunity

(Washington) Donald Trump predicted Tuesday “chaos in the country” if the American justice system did not drop charges against him, after a hearing at the Federal Court of Appeal in Washington on his request for criminal immunity as a ex-president.




The big favorite in the Republican primaries for the November presidential election, which begins on January 15 in the state of Iowa, is seeking through his multiple appeals to postpone his various criminal trials as late as possible, and in any case after the ballot.

The three judges of the Washington Court of Appeals expressed skepticism about this request for immunity, aimed at overturning the charges against Donald Trump for attempting to illegally overturn the results of the 2020 election.

As he announced on Monday, although nothing obliged him to do so, the person concerned went to the Court to attend, without speaking himself, the debates which lasted more than an hour.

Mr. Trump, who pleaded not guilty in this case on August 3, 2023, then once again accused the administration of Democratic President Joe Biden of attempting through these prosecutions to eliminate him from the presidential race, predicting the “chaos in the country”.

Judge Tanya Chutkan, who will preside over the proceedings at this trial scheduled for March 4, rejected his request for immunity in December, considering that no text protected a former president against criminal prosecution.

PHOTO HAIYUN JIANG, THE NEW YORK TIMES ARCHIVES

Judge Tanya Chutkan

“Allowing a president to be prosecuted for his official actions would open a Pandora’s box from which this country may never recover,” argued Donald Trump’s lawyer, John Sauer, on Tuesday.

He raised the possibility of indicting former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, respectively for false information on the weapons available to Iraq in 2003, and for the liquidation of jihadists by drone strikes.

Donald Trump’s defense claims “absolute immunity” for his actions while in the White House. She invokes Supreme Court case law from the 1980s concerning civil suits against former President Richard Nixon.

His lawyers also argue that he cannot be tried in this case because of his acquittal during the parliamentary impeachment proceedings against him for the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, during which hundreds of his supporters attempted to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.

Supreme Court

To one of the judges, Florence Pan, who asked him whether sending special forces to assassinate a political opponent or selling presidential pardons fell under these official acts, John Sauer replied in the affirmative.

“It would be paradoxical to say that his constitutional duty to ensure faithful respect for the laws authorizes him to violate criminal law,” retorted the President of the Court, Karen Lecraft Henderson.

“There have never before been allegations that a president, through private individuals and using the levers of power, attempted to fundamentally subvert the democratic republic and the electoral system,” argued James Pearce, member of the team of special prosecutor Jack Smith, who is investigating the case.

In her decision, Judge Chutkan concluded that the Nixon precedent did not apply to criminal prosecutions, and that impeachment proceedings did not constitute a criminal trial.

But the appeal suspended the proceedings, which could derail the trial schedule, Jack Smith worried.

In December, the Supreme Court rejected the special prosecutor’s request for an emergency ruling on this issue, which would have short-circuited the traditional appeal process and the delays it entails.

But whatever the decision of the court of appeal, in all likelihood those of the parties it finds wrong will take the case to the highest court in the country.

The nine judges of the Supreme Court, six appointed by Republican presidents and three by Democratic presidents, will then have to choose whether to venture into the political arena, or on the contrary to prudently abstain from it.

Donald Trump is also being prosecuted by the courts of the state of Georgia (southeast) for related acts of electoral interference, and will also have to answer in federal court for his alleged negligent management of confidential documents after his departure from the White House.


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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