A federal appeals court on Tuesday unanimously rejected former President Donald Trump’s claim that he is immune from prosecution in the D.C. election subversion case.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia in a 57-page opinion found that there is no basis for Trump to assert blanket immunity for all acts committed as president.
“We cannot accept that the office of the Presidency places its former occupants above the law for all time thereafter,” the judges wrote.
“For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant. But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution,” the opinion said.
“We cannot accept former President Trump’s claim that a President has unbounded authority to commit crimes that would neutralize the most fundamental check on executive power — the recognition and implementation of election results,” it added, warning that Trump’s argument would “collapse our system of separated powers by placing the President beyond the reach of all three Branches.”
Trump is expected to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. Tuesday’s ruling allows proceedings in the D.C. case to resume but gives Trump until Feb. 12 to seek an extension of the pause.