A U.S. appeals court has ruled that Trump is not immune from charges of election subversion, dealing a significant blow to the former president.


In a significant development, a federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled against Donald Trump’s claim of immunity from charges related to his alleged efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss. This decision brings the former U.S. President closer to facing an unprecedented criminal trial.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously rejected Trump’s argument that he is shielded from prosecution due to his official duties as President. The panel emphasized that, in this criminal case, Trump is treated like any other citizen, without the executive immunity that may have protected him during his presidency.

Trump’s legal team is expected to appeal this ruling, as he seeks to avoid standing trial on accusations of undermining American democracy and the peaceful transfer of power. The case is currently paused until at least February 12 to allow Trump to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Despite being impeached twice by the House, Trump was acquitted by Senate Republicans both times. His lawyers had contended that former Presidents enjoy broad legal protections and cannot face criminal prosecution for official actions unless impeached by the House and removed from office by the Senate.

The appeals court judges raised concerns about the far-reaching implications of Trump’s immunity claim, questioning whether even a President who ordered extreme actions, such as the assassination of a political rival, could evade criminal prosecution without congressional action.

Trump has consistently asserted his immunity claim on various platforms, arguing that all Presidents must have complete immunity to maintain the authority and decisiveness of the office.

The indictment brought against Trump by Special Counsel Jack Smith accuses him of leveraging false claims of voter fraud to pressure state officials and Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election results. This is one of four criminal cases Trump is facing, and one of two alleging interference in the 2020 election.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges and denounced the prosecutions as politically motivated attempts to harm his campaign.

Previously, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected Trump’s immunity argument in December, leading to this appeal.

It is anticipated that Trump’s appeal to the Supreme Court will delay the scheduled March 4 trial, potentially pushing it beyond the November election. If Trump were to win reelection, he could pursue self-pardon or direct the Justice Department to halt the case. The proceedings remain on hold while Trump’s appeal is pending.

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