Updated Feb 6, 2024 - Politics & Policy

No presidential immunity for Trump, appeals court rules

Former President Trump on Jan. 31 in Washington, DC. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A federal appeals court said Tuesday that former President Trump is not immune from prosecution in his federal 2020 election trial.

Why it matters: The decision is a setback for the former president and 2024 GOP presidential frontrunner, who has argued that he is immune from prosecution over his alleged efforts to subvert the 2020 election results.

Driving the news: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit's ruling comes after Trump's team has said that he is shielded from criminal prosecution in the case because his actions were a part of his official duties as president.

  • The judge presiding over the case put the trial on pause in December and postponed it indefinitely earlier this month as the appeals court considered the immunity question. The trial had originally been scheduled to start next month.
  • "For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant," the three-judge panel wrote Tuesday.
  • "But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as president no longer protects him against this prosecution."

What they're saying: "If immunity is not granted to a President, every future President who leaves office will be immediately indicted by the opposing party," Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said in a statement.

  • "President Trump respectfully disagrees with the DC Circuit's decision and will appeal it in order to safeguard the Presidency and the Constitution."

Trump has until Feb. 12 to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

Go deeper: "It's paradoxical": Judges voice skepticism at Trump lawyer's immunity claims

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with details from the ruling and a statement from the Trump campaign.

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