Ex-Prosecutor Expects Supreme Court Might Refuse Trump’s Appeal Entirely

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Andrew Weissmann, a former federal prosecutor who also spent time on the Russia investigation led by Robert Mueller, said during a broadcast on MSNBC this weekend that he expected the U.S. Supreme Court might entirely refuse to even take up appeals from Trump on a key dispute.

The former president has argued in court that he holds wide-ranging protections from prosecution by virtue of his time in office that should put an end to a criminal case originating with Special Counsel Jack Smith that covers Trump’s schemes after the 2020 presidential election to stay in power despite documentation of a loss to Joe Biden. The scope of the immunity that the Trump team has been trying to secure is wide-ranging. In arguments in person before an appeals court panel in Washington, D.C., a lawyer for Trump even left open the possibility that a president could order a military assassination of a political target and then escape prosecution!

“I don’t know that the Supreme Court will take it up,” Weissmann told Jen Psaki. “I used to think it was clear they would, but the argument was so preposterous, this was really one where I think Trump is trying to win the war but may lose the battle. […] This is all about delay rather than the merits of the case.” The dispute is currently awaiting a decision from that appeals panel. Proceedings at the trial level are on hold while this dispute moves forward.

The Trump team’s specific idea is that impeachment and an accompanying conviction by the Senate on the impeachment “charges” (they’re not criminal in nature) must precede any criminal prosecution on disputed conduct that was originally perpetrated as part of a president’s responsibilities, though the history — as, at this point, many have asserted — is instead these processes proving themselves quite distinct. Prosecutors have also argued against the idea that Trump facing impeachment proceedings (that ended in a Senate acquittal) and then a criminal case constitutes double jeopardy in the general, legal sense, since the possible punishments should an impeachment be upheld are distinct from criminal consequences.