Donald Trump’s ‘Crazy’ Move to Force Supreme Court’s Hand

Donald Trump is seeking presidential immunity through his classified documents case because he failed to achieve it in his election inference case, a legal analyst has said.

MSNBC legal commentator Lisa Rubin said that the Supreme Court may take up the case for Trump, giving him a second chance at presidential immunity.

“As a strategy to entice the Supreme Court, it’s just crazy enough,” she wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Friday.

Trump is facing 40 federal charges over allegations he retained classified papers after leaving the White House in January 2021 and then obstructed efforts by the relevant authorities to have them returned.

On Thursday, Trump filed a motion in his classified documents case in Florida seeking presidential immunity from prosecution.

Trump’s lawyers claim that Trump had the documents as part of his presidential role and is therefore exempt from prosecution.

Donald Trump at the 2024 NRB International Christian Media Convention Presidential Forum on February 22, 2024, in Nashville, Tennessee. Trump is seeking presidential immunity from his classified documents case in Florida.

Jon Cherry/Getty Images
It comes after the judge in his election interference case in Washington, D.C., and the Washington, D.C., appellate court, both ruled that Trump does not have presidential immunity from accusations that he illegally tried to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.

The Supreme Court has also refused to take the Washington, D.C., president immunity case until Trump’s lower court appeals have been exhausted. Both the classified documents and the election interference cases are federal cases being prosecuted by Department of Justice special counsel.

“Let’s hope cooler heads prevail to remember that in both special counsel cases, Trump’s bad facts could result in the Court’s making bad — and unnecessary — law,” Rubin wrote.

Rubin wrote that Trump is “now making the same immunity argument — albeit on even weaker factual grounds — in the Mar-a-Lago documents case” that he did in the election interference case.

“As a legal argument, it is terrible, especially when the foundations of their presidential immunity argument (e.g., the Impeachment Judgment Clause, the larger separation of powers principles embedded in the Constitution) are so weak,” Rubin wrote.

In Thursday’s filing to Judge Aileen Cannon, Trump’s lawyers say that there has never been a prosecution of a president in over 200 years of American history.

Their submission also says that many previous presidents have been accused of crimes, yet were never prosecuted. This included President George W. Bush’s war in Iraq, which cost “thousands of lives”, the submission says, as well as President Barack Obama’s drone attack on an American citizen and President Biden’s funding of a United Nations agency whose employees were allegedly involved in Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel.

The motions to Judge Cannon were filed by Trump lawyers Todd Blanche and Christopher Kise.

Newsweek sought email comment from Trump’s attorney on Friday.

Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance, a frequent Trump critic, said that Trump’s presidential immunity filing largely covers the same areas as his previous attempts to claim presidential immunity from his election interference case in Washington D.C.

“The arguments are no more meritorious than the ones the court of appeals in DC already rejected,” Vance wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Thursday.

In August 2022, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago private members club was raided by federal agents who recovered several classified papers. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges and strongly denies any wrongdoing. He is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential race.

The prosecution is being led by Department of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith.

In a request filed to Cannon on February 20, Trump’s lawyer sought permission to file “at least 10 pretrial motions concerning, for example, the appointment of Jack Smith, presidential immunity, the Presidential Records Act, selective and vindictive prosecution, the unconstitutional vagueness of 18 U.S.C. § 793(e), due process violations, prosecutorial misconduct, impermissible pre-indictment delay, the illegal raid at Mar-a-Lago, and improper violations of President Trump’s attorney-client privilege.”

Cannon is now reviewing those motions, which were all filed on Thursday.

Uncommon Knowledge Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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