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Donald Trump lawyers claim immunity for ex-president because Senate didn’t convict

Chris Graham

donald trump Lawyers for disgraced former president Donald Trump are now trying to assert that he is immune from criminal prosecution for trying to use his elected position to overturn the 2020 election because the attempted coup was an act that he conducted as part of his official duties.

This is the ultimate I’m above the law move – and from a former president, no less.

The trick to the late-night legal filing that surfaced on the Saturday before Christmas: his attorneys are now trying to say that Trump needs to first be impeached by the House, which of course happened, twice, but then also convicted by the U.S. Senate.

The second Senate trial of Trump, for his efforts to lead the Jan. 6 insurrection aimed at stopping the certification of the 2020 election, had 57 senators voting to convict, which is a solid majority – but the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote, which would come to 67 in the 100-member Senate.

Ergo …

“President Trump’s acquittal by the Senate bars prosecution for the conduct alleged in the indictment. Further, the acquittal reinforces President Trump’s immunity argument. Where, as here, the question is the amenability of the President to prosecution for an official act, the political concerns are at their apex. Before any single prosecutor can ask a court to sit in judgment of the President’s conduct, Congress must have approved of it by impeaching and convicting the President. That did not happen here, and so President Trump has absolute immunity.”

Funny thing here: Senate Republicans, in their defense of Trump back in his second impeachment trial, the one in 2021, related to the insurrection, urged their members to vote against convicting Trump precisely because they felt he should instead face criminal charges.

“We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former presidents are not immune from being held accountable by either one,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor during the 2021 impeachment trial.

So where we are with this: in 2021, don’t convict Trump, senators, because the criminal-justice system can take care of it; in 2023, don’t even try Trump, courts, because senators back in 2021 didn’t take care of it.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].