Smith's Immunity Case Brief Suggests Trump Committed Serious Crimes
In his recent briefing challenging former President Donald Trump's claim of absolute immunity, Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith suggested the ex-president may have committed multiple serious offenses.
The Daily Beastreported Wednesday that in an 82-page briefing Smith's team submitted over the holiday weekend to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Trump could have carried out any hypothetical crime, from ordering the FBI to fabricate evidence against political opponents, ordering a US military assassination or selling nuclear secrets to a foreign country. Smith made this argument in response to Trump's assertions that immunity would apply in any situation where there is "correspondence with a state official about a matter in which there is a federal interest, a meeting with a member of the Executive Branch or a statement on a matter of public concern."
"In each of these scenarios, the President could assert that he was simply executing the laws; or communicating with the Department of Justice; or discharging his powers as Commander-in-Chief; or engaging in foreign diplomacy," DOJ prosecutors wrote. "Under the defendant’s framework, the Nation would have no recourse to deter a President from inciting his supporters during a State of the Union address to kill opposing lawmakers — thereby hamstringing any impeachment proceeding — to ensure that he remains in office unlawfully."
Anti-Trump conservative attorney George Conway tweeted that the briefing includes an "interesting choice of hypotheticals," and sarcastically remarked that "it took quite an imagination" for Smith's team to suggest those crimes. Of course, one of the major concerns in the former president's classified documents trial is that Trump took top-secret documents pertaining to nuclear weapons with him to his Mar-a-Lago estate after leaving the White House.
The briefing includes arguments similar to those Smith made when challenging Trump's immunity claim in US District Court for the District of Columbia, where Judge Tanya Chutkan is overseeing the scheduled March 4 trial. Chutkan temporarily paused proceedings while the higher courts considered the immunity question, following her early December ruling against the former commander-in-chief. The trial date has not yet been changed despite the ongoing appeals process.
Jack Smith's team is arguing to the DC Circuit that the judiciary should reject Trump's immunity claim, after the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) rejected the special counsel's request to have the nation's highest court hear the immunity question ahead of the appellate court. A three-judge panel consisting of two appointees of President Joe Biden and one George H.W. Bush appointee will hold a hearing to decide the question next week.
Trump's scheduled March 4 trial in Washington, DC for alleged election interference will take place on the eve of the pivotal Super Tuesday primaries, where delegate-rich states like California and Texas will hold their nominating contests along with roughly a dozen other states.
Reprinted with permission from Alternet