Federal Judge Rejects Trump’s Attempt to Dismiss 2020 Election Subversion Case – On Friday, a federal judge dismissed Donald Trump’s bid to have his federal criminal case related to his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results thrown out. The ruling stated that he couldn’t claim immunity from prosecution solely based on actions taken during his presidency.
The decision by US District Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected two of Trump’s dismissal motions, one based on presidential immunity and the other on constitutional grounds, paving the way for potential appeals to the DC Circuit and, ultimately, the US Supreme Court. “The court cannot conclude that our constitution cloaks former presidents with absolute immunity for any federal crimes they committed while in office,” Chutkan wrote.
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“Nothing in the constitution’s text or allocation of government powers requires exempting former presidents.” “Defendant’s four-year service as commander in chief did not bestow on him the divine right of kings to evade the criminal accountability that governs his fellow citizens,” Chutkan’s 48-page opinion added. Trump’s legal team anticipated an initial loss in their attempt to dismiss charges, scheduled for trial in federal district court in Washington next March.
With the appeals process intended as a final strategy to prolong the case. The former president openly aims to delay all impending cases, ideally past the November 2024 election, banking on potential re-election to secure the possibility of self-pardon or influencing the attorney general to drop charges. In October, Trump’s lawyers submitted motions to dismiss, advocating an expansive interpretation of executive power.
Asserting that former presidents couldn’t be criminally accountable for actions during their tenure. They argued that all his endeavors to overturn the 2020 election, from pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to organizing fake elector slates, were protected as presidential actions. The core of the Trump legal team’s submission asserted an unprecedented claim.
Not only did Trump have absolute presidential immunity, but this immunity applied irrespective of his intent in the actions detailed in the indictment. The judge firmly dismissed these arguments in her accompanying opinion, stating emphatically that neither the US constitution nor legal precedent justified such an extraordinary expansion of post-presidential power.
“Whatever immunities a sitting president may enjoy, the United States has only one chief executive at a time, and that position does not confer a lifelong ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ pass,” Chutkan wrote. “Former presidents enjoy no special conditions on their federal criminal liability.” The judge seemed notably displeased with the Trump lawyers’ assertion that charging Trump was unconstitutional solely because no other former presidents had faced charges.
She pointed out in her response that although his case was unprecedented, so were the crimes for which he stands accused. “The supreme court has never immunized presidents – much less former presidents – from judicial process merely because it was the first time that process had been necessary,” Chutkan wrote, invoking US history and the pardon conferred to Richard Nixon after the Watergate scandal.
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The presidential pardon for Nixon was specifically granted and accepted to avoid the possibility of criminal prosecution related to Watergate, as stated in the opinion. The judge clarified that she wasn’t expressing an opinion on Trump’s argument about the prosecutability of his January 6 actions within the “outer perimeter” of his presidential duties. Chutkan’s denial occurred after the DC circuit also rejected Trump’s attempt to use presidential immunity in civil lawsuits related to the January 6 Capitol attack.