The United States Supreme Court granted Trump partial immunity for his actions as president International

The Supreme Court of the United States considers that presidents enjoy criminal immunity for acts committed in the exercise of their office. In a ruling of great importance for the procedural future of former President Donald Trump, the judges have not granted him absolute immunity but, relating to the official facts, they do grant him partial immunity. The sentence comes just four months before the elections in which Trump aspires to return to the White House and a few days after a television debate that has raised doubts about the position of the current president, Joe Biden, his likely rival in the elections, ahead of the vote on November 5.

“The nature of presidential power entitles a former president to absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for actions within his conclusive and exclusive constitutional authority; he is also entitled to at least presumptive immunity from prosecution for all of his official acts; there is no immunity for unofficial acts,” the Supreme Court said in a ruling that represents a victory for Trump. The Supreme Court overturned the rulings of lower courts that had refused to grant Trump immunity and asked him to decide according to now-established norms.

The conviction was approved with six conservative justices voting in favor, including three appointed by Trump himself. Three progressive justices voted against. In total, between the preamble, decision, and dissenting opinion, the decision is 119 pages long. “The President does not enjoy immunity for his unofficial acts, and not everything the President does is official. The President is not above the law. But Congress cannot criminalize the President’s conduct in carrying out the responsibilities of the executive branch under the Constitution. And the system of separation of powers designed by the Founding Fathers has always required an energetic and independent executive. “The President, therefore, cannot be prosecuted for exercising his principal constitutional powers and is entitled to immunity from prosecution for at least some of his official acts,” the decision, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, said. He added, “This immunity applies equally to all occupants of the Oval Office, regardless of their politics or party.”

The case is sent to the judge who is investigating it. He will have to decide what were official acts and what were not, but the Supreme Court has already ruled clearly on something: it shields communications between Trump and his attorney general, which were part of the evidence of attempts to carry out an electoral coup. This weakens the accusation.

The case that has reached the Supreme Court is from Washington, in which prosecutors have accused the former president of four alleged crimes for trying to alter the results of the 2020 presidential election, which he lost to Joe Biden, and for remaining in power by committing fraud and preventing the certification of that victory.

Trump’s first victory has been to delay the process, delaying the start of the trial, initially scheduled for March 4. It is now virtually impossible for him to be tried before the presidential election on November 5. If he wins the election, he will also be able to order that prosecutions of federal crimes be canceled or even pardon himself.

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In parallel, another decision by the Supreme Court itself has narrowed the scope of the crime of obstruction of official process. The four crimes that the prosecutor in Washington accused Trump of are: conspiracy to defraud the US government, conspiracy to obstruct official proceedings, obstruction or attempting to obstruct official proceedings, and conspiracy to violate civil rights. The second and third crimes correspond to the criminal figure that the Supreme Court rejected and its decision complicates the success of these two charges against Trump. The doctrine of the conservative majority of the Supreme Court has limited this criminal offense to cases related to the destruction of evidence, documents, records, objects or other things used in the official process. Consider that it does not apply to those who attacked the Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021.

While the case was going on in the Supreme Court, Trump became the first former president of the United States to be convicted in a criminal trial. He is awaiting sentencing, which will be pronounced on July 11, after a popular jury found him guilty of 34 crimes of forging checks, invoices and accounting records. His intention was to hide the payments made to porn film actress Stormy Daniels and thus prevent the scandal of his relationship with her from spreading in the midst of the 2016 presidential campaign, in that case it was clear that Trump was not carrying out any activity of his own accord, so the conviction should not affect the said sentence.

It is not so clear what the consequences will be for the other processes opened by the former president: for keeping secrets related to the defense in Florida and obstruction of justice, for confidential documents that he took to his mansion in March. -A-Lago, in which Trump also claimed immunity; and for efforts to overturn his defeat against Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.

It’s a landmark case that could shape the contours of presidential power for the future. No president or former president before Trump had been convicted, so the Supreme Court had never ruled on the issue. “This case has enormous implications for the presidency, for the future of the presidency, for the future of the country,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh said at an oral hearing.

The Supreme Court’s judicial year has been marked by cases involving former presidents. In addition to this Monday’s ruling on immunity and last Friday’s ruling on the crime of obstructing an official process – to which Trump was not a direct party – there are other cases that have tangibly affected him and have been decided on whether he can be excluded from ballots for inciting the attack on the Capitol. The justices concluded unanimously that he can participate in the primaries and, by extension, the presidential election – since disqualifying him for insurrection would require congressional legislation.

Past failures

Both the federal judge examining the case and the appeals court to which Trump initially appealed categorically rejected his exemption. Judge Tanya Chutkan issued a scathing ruling in which she said that being president “does not mean getting out of prison for life.” Trump’s lawyers appealed to the Washington Court of Appeals, which paralyzed the process of the case, since what was at stake was whether or not the former president could be charged and prosecuted.

The appeals court also rejected the immunity by a unanimous vote of three judges. “For the purposes of this criminal case, former President Trump has become Citizen Trump, with all the defenses of any other criminal defendant. But any executive immunity that might have protected him while he was serving as President no longer protects him from this charge,” the 57-page decision said in its introduction. “It would be an astonishing paradox if the President, who has the ultimate constitutional duty to ensure faithful compliance with the laws, were the only office capable of challenging them with impunity,” the judges develop in the foundation of the decision. They added in another of their sentences, “We cannot accept that the presidency forever places its former occupants above the law.”

The justices looked to the Watergate case to reject Trump’s claim of near-complete immunity. “Recent historical evidence shows that former presidents, including President Trump, have never considered themselves completely immune from criminal liability for official acts during their presidencies. President Gerald Ford granted former President Richard Nixon a full pardon, which both former presidents clearly believed was necessary to avoid impeachment upon Nixon’s resignation,” their decision said.

(Breaking news. Will update soon)

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