Schumer pushing bill to strip Trump of court-granted immunity

Schumer pushing bill to strip Trump of court-granted immunity

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Monday that he and other Senate Democrats will work to advance legislation to strip former President Trump of the immunity he was granted under a recent Supreme Court ruling protecting a president’s official acts from criminal prosecution.

Schumer, invoking Congress’s powers to regulate the courts, said Democrats are working on legislation to classify Trump’s efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 election as “unofficial acts” so they do not merit immunity from criminal prosecution under the high court’s recent 6-3 decision.

“They incorrectly declared that former President Trump enjoys broad immunity from criminal prosecution for actions he took while in office. They incorrectly declared that all future presidents are entitled to a breathtaking level of immunity so long as their conduct is ostensibly carried out in their official capacity as president,” Schumer said on the Senate floor.

Schumer said the court’s conservative justices had “effectively placed a crown on Donald Trump’s head,” putting him above the law and making him “in many ways untouchable.”

“I will work with my colleagues on legislation classifying Trump’s election subversion acts as unofficial acts not subject to immunity,” he announced. “We’re doing this because we believe that in America no president should be free to overturn an election against the will of the people, no matter what the conservative justices may believe.”

Schumer said senators will keep on working on other proposals to “rein in the abuse of our federal judiciary.”

Some Democrats, including Sens. Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), have expressed support for adding language to the Supreme Court’s annual funding bill that would require it to adopt an enforceable code of ethics.

Government watchdog groups, Democratic lawmakers and media pundits have criticized conservative justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito for accepting tens of thousands of dollars in free travel and other gifts from wealthy benefactors.

The Supreme Court granted Trump substantial immunity when it ruled on July 1 that Trump and future presidents could not be prosecuted for crimes related to official acts but left it to lower courts to determine whether Trump’s actions to overturn the results of the 2020 election fell under the category of official acts.

Some legal analysts, however, think the ruling may protect Trump entirely from being prosecuted for the attempts to overturn the election results, which resulted in a mob storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, because it would bar prosecutors from presenting actions related to official conduct to a jury as evidence.

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