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Supreme Court to hear high-stakes arguments on Trump’s presidential immunity: Live

US Supreme Court to hear Trump immunity claim

The US Supreme Court will hold a special session on Thursday to hear oral arguments over whether “presidential immunity” protects Donald Trump from prosecution in the case brought against him by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith regarding his attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election following his resounding defeat to Democrat Joe Biden.

The former president argues that a Richard Nixon-era ruling gives him broad immunity from prosecution related to his tenure in the White House while Mr Smith’s office points to another Nixon case contending that presidents do not have “absolute, unqualified” judicial immunity regarding official acts, which, were it granted, would effectively confer the powers of a king on America’s commander-in-chief.

Thursday’s arguments will impact whether Mr Trump faces the special counsel case in Washington DC and could influence whether the prosecution moves forward before November’s presidential election in which he is again running as the presumptive Republican nominee.

Mr Trump will not be in attendance to witness the hearing as he is required to be in New York for the latest instalment of his hush money trial, which resumes on Thursday after Wednesday’s recess, a restriction about which the defendant has complained loudly.

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How The Independent has covered the Trump immunity saga: Part 2

Next up, here’s Alex Woodward’s report from 9 January when a three-justice DC federal appeals court prepared to hear legal arguments from Trump’s lawyers on the immunity question.

They went on to uphold Judge Tanya Chutkan’s original decision rejecting the defence, which led Trump to elevate his appeal, again, to the Supreme Court, bringing us to today’s hearing.

Joe Sommerlad25 April 2024 11:00

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How The Independent has covered the Trump immunity saga: Part 1

It’s been a long road on the way to the upcoming Supreme Court arguments over the scope of Donald Trump’s presidential immunity.

Here are some of the key developments, as reported by The Independent.

First up, here’s the moment Jack Smith announced his indictment on 1 August last year, the third of four criminal cases brought against Trump.

Watch moment Trump indictment announced by Special Counsel Jack Smith

Special Counsel Jack Smith announced a third indictment against Donald Trump on Tuesday 1 August. The former president faces four charges, three of which are counts of conspiracy, relating to the investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The charges are: Conspiracy to defraud the United States Conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding Obstruction of, and attempt to obstruct, an official proceeding Conspiracy against rights Mr Trump has been summoned to appear before a federal magistrate judge in Washington DC on Thursday. He already faces criminal charges in two other cases as he campaigns to regain the presidency next year.

Joe Sommerlad25 April 2024 10:00

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Why the ghosts of the Nixon administration will hover over Trump’s hearing

But the two sides are using the Nixon cases to push opposing arguments.

Ariana Baio has the details.

Josh Marcus25 April 2024 07:53

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How Supreme Court delays gave Trump what he wants before 2024 elections

Two months later, his attorneys argued that the charges should be tossed out, citing his presidential “immunity” from prosecution for crimes allegedly committed while he was in office.

A growing body of legal experts and constitutional scholars have repeatedly warned that the defence is absurd, far-reaching, and dangerous to democracy.

By December, federal prosecutors were asking the US Supreme Court to step in and settle the question once and for all, hoping to keep the case moving swiftly to prevent the possibility of a criminal trial against president-elect Trump – or the potential for a President Trump to find a way to throw out the case altogether if he is sworn back into office in 2025.

Josh Marcus25 April 2024 05:53

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Meanwhile in Arizona…

As Donald Trump’s immunity claim heads to the Supreme Court, the former president is facing legal scrutiny elsewhere.

On Wednesday, numerous Trump associates were named in an indictment in Arizona alleging a “false elector” scheme to overturn the 2020 election results in the state.

More details in our full story.

Josh Marcus25 April 2024 03:53

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Supreme Court weighs Trump’s ‘presidential immunity’ claim. Here’s what that means

Whether or not Donald Trump, and future presidents, are immune from criminal prosecution for actions conducted while in the White House will soon be decided by the Supreme Court.

In what is setting up to be a landmark ruling from the nation’s highest court, the nine justices will determine if Mr Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results by making false claims of election fraud, allegedly trying to install fake electors and pressuring former vice president Mike Pence to decertify election results were part of his “official acts” as president, and if those are protected from criminal prosecution.

Mr Trump claims he should enjoy absolute immunity, citing previous court cases that have determined presidents have immunity from civil lawsuits brought against them for conduct that occurred while in office.

But special counsel Jack Smith, who brought the four-count federal indictment against Mr Trump, says differently, citing precedent that has determined presidents do not have immunity from criminal judicial proceedings.

Josh Marcus25 April 2024 01:53

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The Trump prosecution at the heart of Thursday’s Supreme Court hearing

Thursday’s Supreme Court arguments were spurred on by a case filed last year against Donald Trump by federal officials, accusing him of trying to overturn the 2020 election.

At the time, Alex Woodward had this analysis on what the charges mean.

Josh Marcus25 April 2024 00:27

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What to know about Donald Trump’s immunity battle

The Supreme Court on Thursday will hear arguments about whether presidential immunity privileges protect Donald Trump from the special counsel case against him for trying to overturn the 2020 election result.

Here’s what you need to know:

Why does this case matter?

Thursday’s arguments deal with a highly complicated area of the law: how much a president is protected from prosecution based on things they did in office.

It’s a complicated balance the Supreme Court has wrestled with for years, particularly when it comes to scandal-plagued presidents.

The high court has recognised both that the commander-in-chief can’t be sued for every single thing that happens when they’re in the White House, but the panel has also found that presidents can’t avoid the judicial process entirely just because of their position.

More than just an important legal question, the position the justices take will impact whether Donald Trump faces criminal charges for his conduct during the final, chaotic moments of the 2020 election.

What’s the underlying prosecution that inspired this case?

Mr Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has sought to throw out the case, arguing that his conduct during the 2020 election is immune to prosecution because of its connection to his duties as president.

In February, the US Supreme Court agreed to take up the immunity question, after a series of lower appeals courts rejected the former president’s arguments.

That’s anyone’s guess, but the high court’s decision could drastically impact the special counsel case.

Even if Mr Trump is not able to dismiss the federal case altogether, the Supreme Court’s decision could result in further rounds of argument and hearings in other courts, postponing a potential high-profile trial until after the upcoming presidential election in November.

Josh Marcus24 April 2024 23:27

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Why the ghosts of the Nixon administration will hover over Donald Trump’s immunity hearings

But the two sides are using the Nixon cases to push opposing arguments.

Josh Marcus24 April 2024 22:45

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Donald Trump heads back to the Supreme Court

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of Donald Trump’s upcoming Supreme Court hearing regarding the scope of his immunity from prosecution.

The arguments could determine the future of special counsel Jack Smith’s case against the former president — and maybe the fate of the 2024 election itself.


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