In a stunning maneuver, the legal team representing former President Donald J. Trump has directly called for the dismissal of the Washington, D.C. federal indictment against him on the basis that the U.S. Constitution under the clause a president must “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” provided him with “absolute immunity,” from “fear that his political opponents may one day prosecute him for decisions they dislike.”
Trump’s attorneys have argued that “Trump’s efforts to ensure election integrity, and to advocate for the same” sit “at the heart of his official responsibilities as President.”
The motion goes on to state,
“The Constitution, the Supreme Court, and hundreds of years of history and tradition all make clear, the President’s motivations are not for the prosecution or this Court to decide.”
The motion deals mortal wounds to the prosecution as well, arguing, “The prosecution does not, and cannot, argue that President Trump’s efforts to ensure election integrity, and to advocate for the same, were outside the scope of his duties. Instead, the prosecution falsely claims that President Trump’s motives were impure— that he purportedly “knew” that the widespread reports of fraud and election irregularities were untrue but sought to address them anyway.”
As reported by The Guardian, the 22-page long filing was submitted ahead of a hearing scheduled for October 16th at the federal district court in Washington.
Former Prosecutor and Missouri Attorney General Candidate Will Scharf posted to X, observing, “The motion persuasively argues that the D.C. case should be dismissed, and if past practice is any guide all proceedings could and should be stayed while this issue is litigated fully. Notably, this same reasoning should apply to the ongoing Georgia prosecution as well. ”
BREAKING: President Trump files motion to dismiss D.C. case
A short while ago in federal court in Washington, D.C., President Trump filed a motion to dismiss the case pending against him there for his alleged actions in the aftermath of the 2020 elections. The motion cites…
— Will Scharf (@willscharf) October 5, 2023
Scharf analyzed the motion in a lengthy thread but came to a magnificently easy conclusion even for average non-lawyerly folks like us to all grasp:
“First, it is very important to note that in the context of assessing immunity, the motive of a president is irrelevant. Why the president did something is immaterial; the question is what the president did and whether that was within this very broad outer perimeter of his official responsibilities.
And because the scope of presidential authority and of presidential responsibilities is so vast, the catchment of presidential immunity is similarly expansive. When you actually review the alleged acts that underlie the D.C. indictment, my view is that each and every one clearly falls within the other perimeter of President Trump’s official responsibilities.
We are talking about things like
•Making public statements about the administration of the 2020 federal election;
•Communications with public officials, both in the states and in the federal government, about the administration of the 2020 federal election; and
•Taking steps, like assembling alternate slates of electors, to allow Congress and/or the Vice President to take action on the federal election fraud that he believed had occurred.
Remember, for the purposes of assessing the scope of immunity, intent and veracity/falsity are irrelevant. Your views on whether President Trump’s views on the election were accurate are irrelevant. Your views on why President Trump did what he did are irrelevant.
If the acts themselves were presidential acts, falling within the outer perimeter of presidential responsibilities, they cannot form the basis for a criminal prosecution of President Trump, because presidential immunity applies.”
In short, whether President Trump’s actions are deemed appropriate by the Court, Joe Biden, the DOJ or Congress at this point is irrelevant, Scharf argues. Indeed if the behaviour was even lawful at this point is irrelevant. The remedy under the Constitution for this is impeachment which already failed to convict him.
The only relevant question is this:
Were all the statements and actions that President Trump said and did leading to, during, and subsequent to the 2020 Election and January 6th riots within his role to “take care?” Was he acting in regard to the execution of American Election laws, in particular, laws such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Electoral Count Act of 1887? Whether you agree with those statements or actions or not; the answer is clearly yes.
Therefore as the motion and Scharf both assert: “since the entire indictment in the D.C. case against President Trump is predicated on acts that he is immune from prosecution for, the case should be dismissed.”