Indictment against former US President Trump: Supreme Court should stay out of it for now

Can former US presidents be held criminally accountable for their actions while in office? Special Counsel Smith wants the Supreme Court to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

Former US President Donald Trump wants to ensure that the US Supreme Court does not resolve the question of his immunity for the time being. The Republican asked the court on Wednesday (local time) to reject a corresponding request from special investigator Jack Smith.

The 77-year-old is thus playing for time in the court case against him for attempted election fraud. Smith had asked the Supreme Court the previous week to quickly clarify whether Trump can be prosecuted at the federal level for his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election – or whether he is protected by his immunity as president.

Trump’s lawyers now argued that the special counsel’s actions were forcing the court to bypass the usual procedures and negligently decide on the issues related to immunity.

Storming of the Capitol

Trump is indicted in the US capital Washington for attempted election fraud. Trump supporters stormed the parliament building in Washington on January 6, 2021. Congress met there to formally confirm Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election. Trump had previously incited his supporters during a speech. As a result of the riots, five people died. Trump had filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, citing presidential immunity.

However, he failed. “The defendant’s four years of service as commander-in-chief did not give him the divine right of kings to evade criminal liability that applies to his fellow citizens,” the judge responsible wrote in the reasons for the verdict. Trump’s team appealed this decision.

But special counsel Smith chose an unusual path: He bypassed the appeals court and went directly to the Supreme Court to quickly resolve the issue. “This case involves issues of exceptional national importance,” he wrote. “This case should therefore be decided expeditiously so that the trial can proceed if and when the defendant’s request for immunity is denied.”

Smith is trying to speed up the process, while Trump wants to delay the process by all means – at best until after the 2024 presidential election. The process is scheduled to begin in March of next year. Trump wants to move into the White House again for the Republicans. He leads by far in internal party polls – the primaries for the candidacy begin in a few weeks. So far everything points to a new edition of the election campaign between Trump and incumbent President Joe Biden.