Economy

Biden camp dismisses Trump immunity ruling: ‘Doesn’t change the facts’

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The Biden campaign blasted former President Trump in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling granting him immunity for official acts while president, saying the presumptive Republican nominee ‘thinks he’s above the law.’ 

‘Today’s ruling doesn’t change the facts, so let’s be very clear about what happened on January 6: Donald Trump snapped after he lost the 2020 election and encouraged a mob to overthrow the results of a free and fair election,’ the Biden campaign said in a statement on Monday. ‘Trump is already running for president as a convicted felon for the very same reason he sat idly by while the mob violently attacked the Capitol: he thinks he’s above the law and is willing to do anything to gain and hold onto power for himself.’ 

The statement continued: ‘The American people already rejected Donald Trump’s self-obsessed quest for power once. Joe Biden will make sure they reject it for good in November.’ 

The high court ruled on Monday in Trump v. United States that a former president has substantial immunity from prosecution for official acts committed while in office, but not for unofficial acts. But while Trump is immune from criminal prosecution for ‘official acts,’ the justices left it to the lower court to determine exactly where the line is between official and unofficial.

‘The President therefore may not be prosecuted for exercising his core constitutional powers, and he is entitled, at a minimum, to a presumptive immunity from prosecution for all his official acts,’ the majority opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts states. ‘That immunity applies equally to all occupants of the Oval Office, regardless of politics, policy, or party.’

In a 6-3 decision, the justices sent the matter back down to a lower court. The decision did not outline if Trump’s alleged actions related to the purported effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election constituted official or unofficial acts.

‘The President enjoys no immunity for his unofficial acts, and not everything the President does is official,’ Roberts wrote. ‘The President is not above the law. But Congress may not criminalize the President’s conduct in carrying out the responsibilities of the Executive Branch under the Constitution. And the system of separated powers designed by the Framers has always demanded an energetic, independent Executive.’

The question examined by the court stemmed from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s federal election interference case in which Trump was charged with 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. 

Those charges were brought after Smith’s months-long investigation into whether Trump was involved in the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol breach or if he participated in any alleged attempts to interfere with the results of the 2020 election.

Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges and argued he should be immune from prosecution from official acts that occurred while he was president.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, dissented, saying the decision ‘makes a mockery of the principle, foundational to our Constitution and system of Government, that no man is above the law.’

‘Relying on little more than its own misguided wisdom about the need for ‘bold and unhesitating action’ by the President… the Court gives former President Trump all the immunity he asked for and more. Because our Constitution does not shield a former President from answering for criminal and treasonous acts, I dissent,’ Sotomayor wrote. 

Justice Clarence Thomas penned a separate concurrence ‘to highlight another way in which this prosecution may violate our constitutional structure’ – the appointment of Smith as special counsel. 

‘In this case, the Attorney General purported to appoint a private citizen as Special Counsel to prosecute a former President on behalf of the United States,’ Thomas wrote. ‘But, I am not sure that any office for the Special Counsel has been ‘established by Law,’ as the Constitution requires. By requiring that Congress create federal offices ‘by Law,’ the Constitution imposes an important check against the President – he cannot create offices at his pleasure.’

Thomas added: ‘If there is no law establishing the office that the Special Counsel occupies, then he cannot proceed with this prosecution. A private citizen cannot criminally prosecute anyone, let alone a former President.’

Smith’s case against the former president and his plan to try Trump have been hanging in legal limbo amid the high court’s consideration of the issue. 

The former president touted the ruling in an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital on Monday. 

‘I have been harassed by the Democrat Party, Joe Biden, Obama and their thugs, fascists and communists for years,’ Trump told Fox News Digital. ‘And now the courts have spoken.’ 

He added: ‘This is a big win for our Constitution and for democracy. Now I am free to campaign like anyone else. We are leading in every poll – by a lot – and we will make America great again.’ 

Fox News’ Brianna Herlihy contributed to this report. 

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