Jack Smith Says Trump’s Claims Are Out Of Step With The U.S.’ Founding Principles

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In a new filing with the U.S. Supreme Court while arguments pend there of presidential immunity supposedly held by former President Donald Trump, federal prosecutors led by Special Counsel Jack Smith condemn the immunity idea as out-of-step with the United States’ founding principles.

Trump is trying to use the claim of wide-ranging legal protections by mere virtue of once serving as president to shut down a criminal case from Smith accusing Trump of a range of election-targeting conspiracies around 2020-2021. In Trump’s imagining, presidents would be free from even the possibility of criminal prosecution for actions taken amid their official responsibilities. The nation’s highest court hears oral arguments — meaning in-person arguments — this month on this.

“The Framers never endorsed criminal immunity for a former President, and all Presidents from the Founding to the modern era have known that after leaving office they faced potential criminal liability for official acts,” prosecutors contended. “The closest historical analogue is President Nixon’s official conduct in Watergate, and his acceptance of a pardon implied his and President Ford’s recognition that a former President was subject to prosecution. Since Watergate, the Department of Justice has held the view that a former President may face criminal prosecution, and Independent and Special Counsels have operated from that same understanding. Until petitioner’s arguments in this case, so had former Presidents.”

Trump also continues facing another criminal case from Smith related to the ex-president’s handling of government documents from his time in office. Federal prosecutors recently scored a partial win amid the proceedings, with presiding Judge Aileen Cannon opting to keep the identities of a number of witnesses for the government under wraps after all. Prosecutors had asked her to reconsider her stance after she originally set up the opposite outcome, though she’ll still be releasing portions of the witnesses’ testimony. On his knock-off social media site Truth Social, Trump was complaining this week about prosecutors’ stance towards Cannon, who’s widely accused of favoring the ex-president.