Trump is ‘absolutely’ immune for ‘official acts’ on Jan 6th, SCOTUS rules

The Supreme Court ruled that presidents are “absolutely” immune from criminal prosecution when their actions involve allegedly official acts while they were in office. Former presidents also have a “presumption of immunity” for their official acts while in office — but, the court ruled, there is no immunity for “unofficial acts.”

The decision in Trump v. United States means that the special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution against former President Donald Trump — who’s currently running to unseat President Joe Biden — may be able to proceed. In his majority decision, Chief Justice John Roberts remanded the case to the lower courts, which now have to determine whether Trump’s conduct was official or unofficial.

Trump is being prosecuted for his role in the events of January 6th, 2021. A grand jury approved an indictment against Trump in August for charges including conspiracy to defraud the US and obstructing an official proceeding. In February, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court judge’s decision to reject the immunity claims to allow the case the move forward, until the Supreme Court agreed to take it up.

While that case was brought at the state level, the election interference case impacted by this SCOTUS ruling would be at the federal level. That means — unlike in the state case — that if Trump were convicted but elected president, he could potentially pardon himself.

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