Friday night, Judge Chutkan rejected Trump’s “big” argument that he couldn’t be criminally prosecuted for acts committed during his presidency because he had blanket immunity. We discussed the motion when he filed it in early October (read here if you want a refresher on its substance). At the time, I characterized the argument as a flawed one, likely to be a swing and a miss.
Not for the first time, I note that if Trump believes that he is not guilty, he should want a trial at the earliest practicable moment, so that his innocence may be pronounced to the voters as soon as possible. After all, he's a candidate for president--he should want to remove the stain on his reputation that criminal charges bring.
The DC Circuit's decision denying dismissal of the civil suit, and including the concurring opinions, is a very long albeit comprehensive document laying out in great detail inter alia the actions of tRump during the entirety of the Jan6 events, demonstrating with legal rigour that his actions were that of Candidate tRump and less that of president tRump, and that - contra Nixon v Fitzgerald - the question of "absolute immunity" does not hold, and that the civil suit by Capital police and some members of Congress move ahead. Furthermore, it seems as though the appellate opinion suggested that further expostulation of the immunity business will be taken up during the civil trial to come, where Defendant tRump will have his "day in court" to argue his position.
Although tRump's lawyers no doubt will appeal at some point to SCOTUS, I don't believe that the Court will take up yet another tRump "immunity" appeal...they are done with that and with him, full stop
Thank you Joyce. Democracy is on the ballots and the docket. I hope that Democrats really run on the message and truth that Democracy is on the ballot. For the reactionary people who everywhere are responding to tweets, posts on everything “Free Palestine” and ignore the peril of a Democratic loss, the message need to pull from the primary improv rule “yes, and”. That’s it. Anyone wanting to agitate and be an activist for anything resembling liberty for anyone would do best by getting on the Biden train. And that doesn’t mean being a follower but being an activist and advocate, a true advocate, for DEMOCRACY. I absolutely cannot understand or respect the people saying “well, but... he supports Israel” or whatever myopic agenda a person has. And why do people keep forgetting that Kamala Harris is young and intelligent and right behind Biden should his health fail in a second term? Honestly I think it is covert or unconscious sexism and racism. Anyone who isn’t strongly working for a big blue wave to flood the ballot boxes next year is not really wanting humane liberty, just a temporary blood soaked soap box to stand on that will enable the malignant right to perpetuate itself like the cancer it is
The Presidential Records Act has been mentioned mostly with regard to the classified documents case. However there’s a connection to this case as far as the definition of presidential and personal records. Under PRA, records of president’s political associations and involving his own election as president are personal records, consistent with the view that political/election matters are not official acts.
Trump often misdescribes the PRA as establishing his ownership of his presidential records: I had a perfect right to take them. He is lying. The PRA says the opposite: Presidential records, as defined in the act, belong to the country. President maintains custody of them while in office, but custody is automatically assumed by NARA when his term ends, i.e. 12 noon jan 20.
For NARA guidance on PRA, see
I suppose the ONLY thing trump is really good at is stalling when the odds are against him. This is a really bad precedent that shows anyone with the ability to pay their attorneys for endless appeals can tie up the courts for a very long time. We are all flabbergasted by these delays and need the hammer to fall on him at least once! Please!
Thanks for walking us through this. I’m definitely smarter today! 🙏🏼
Thanks Joyce. Enjoy chicken, cat, dog and family time now.
You've more than earned it.
I think a lot of people are thinking that crimes committed more than three years ago and still not prosecuted hardly count as speedy. It would be useful to have an explanation as to why this is taking so long.
Joyce, thanks for eloquently explaining why Trump's options in these two cases failed or are likely to fail.
More particularly, thankyou for leaving unstated the reason why Trump is desperate to put these prosecutions off until after the November 2024 presidential elections; of course, he assumes, first, that he will be the Republican nominee (and that's not a lock at this point) and, second, that he'll be victorious next November...and that's not a lock — it is, however, the very height of arrogance to make such an assumption, and so Trumpian.
Thanks for being in this with us.
Seems quite odd for the appellate court to refer to Trump as president instead of former president and doing it while ruling he was acting as a candidate which is what he is now. What a faux pas to me. How congress could shirk and not impeach puts all of our nation at risk now. Paper tiger- ish to have appellate decisions hold him accountable to fight another day on the same issue.
Losses for Trump = Wins for America.
Thanks for the latest uodates, Joyce. The last 3 paragraphs are causing much angst for me. When will this all end?? I just cannot believe this is all happening. How our judicial system seems to jump through flaming hoops to protect certain people accused of crimes (allowing appeal after appeal and other delay tactics) - while other less fortunate people get thrown in jail without bail. Obviously the framers of the constitution didn’t conceive of the possibility that our country would elect a lying conman, mob boss, traitor . Or maybe it did - in Amendment 14, Sect 3. To me, the language is clear that trump should not even be allowed on the ballot.
What might be most disturbing to me is that Trump's lawyers seem to spin "legal arguments" out of thin air. They confer with their client and then present, to a court of law, pretty much exactly what he said to them. It's one thing to have Trump out there making up BS arguments about all his persecution, election interference, Biden-backed DOJ charges, and whatever else his addled mind comes up with, but it's quite another for attorneys, who studied law (I assume), passed the bar exam (I assume), and practice law (or some version of it), to present this "in good faith" for Trump. No one is telling him "NO!" That's been the problem with him from the start and his strip-mall attorneys perpetuate it. I understand "defending your client," but this stuff they do is WAY beyond the pale.
Congrats to the judicial system and ‘oh, boohoo’ to the alleged perpetrator(s). Looks like you CANNOT have “it all” if you’re not paying attention to the law and the rules.
At what point is Trump going to be treated as any other citizen arrested for these same charges. If this were any of us, we would be retained in jail without bond.
It’s high time he start being treated like us. He’s received enough preferential treatment!
"Americans need to know how juries of our peers assess the evidence against the former president before we vote in 2024."
And, I would argue, Americans need to see the evidence presented first-hand (not simply how the jury decides). That’s why I’m calling for U.S. v Trump to be televised. In her Nov. 11 post, "Cameras in the Courtroom," Joyce noted that getting Rule 53 that prohibits broadcasting federal trials set aside will be a heavy lift, but not impossible.
To increase our chances, we need to show that the public wants transparency. Please join the 53,000 individuals who have signed my petition calling for the Trump Jan. 6 election interference trial to be televised: https://bit.ly/televise-trump-trial. As the Washington Post says, "democracy dies in darkness." We can't let that happen!
I'm serious about getting this done. Earlier this week I mailed a fourth round of letters to all 28 members of the Judicial Conference and Judge Chutkan with 50,000+ signatures calling for them to set aside Rule 53 to allow cameras in Judge Chutkan's courtroom.