Trump’s legal troubles during the primaries

The judgment of the Washington Court of Appeal does not consider immunity valid for Trump, for having tried to change the election result, after the outcome that led Biden to be the new US president. The ruling of the court, composed of three judges, arrived unanimously, refuting Trump’s defense, which aimed at total immunity from the law, even for acts carried out in cases where his power has been extinguished. This defense, the court refuted, presupposes that the office of US president is equivalent to an absolute sovereign, that is, not subject to any earthly law; furthermore, the defense thesis calls into question the natural recognition of the electoral response and of the separation of powers itself, because it would place the presidential office above the regulations. An aspect to underline is that one of the three judges has a conservative background and was appointed by Trump himself. A fundamental aspect of the ruling is that the US president can be accused of crimes committed during his period in office: this is a very relevant resolution from a legal point of view, because it is the first time it has been adopted in US law and that establishes that immunity belongs to the presidential office and not to the person, so once they have expired, immunity is no longer enjoyed. There are two options for Trump’s defense to appeal the ruling of the Washington Court of Appeals: the first would consist in filing the appeal with all the judges of the Washington Circuit, technically defined as “appeal en banc”, however this solution appears unlikely , because according to jurists a change in the sentence would be unlikely, or, and this is the second option, the appeal can take place at the Supreme Court, made up of six Republican and three Democratic members. This choice would also have a tactical political value, given that the Supreme Court, for this session, which will end in July, should no longer accept cases, leaving the question pending, a solution preferred by Trump himself; however, it could also be probable that, given the seriousness of the issue, the President of the Court will include the probable appeal in the current session. In any case, both the sentence and the appeal generate doubts about the legal future of Trump, who remains the most likely candidate for the Republican Party in the elections on November 5th, also because there are already two appeals from the former at the Supreme Court president relating to the decisions of the states of Maine and Colorado, which banned Trump’s candidacy, again due to the events following his 2020 electoral defeat. A possibility recognized by some jurists is the possible rejection of the decisions of Maine and Colorado, by part of the Supreme Court, but the confirmation of the ruling of the Court of Appeals of Washington, which contains legally relevant arguments against Trump and which could bring him to trial, precisely because his attitude interfered in the process of counting and verifying the votes, a matter completely outside presidential competence: this would represent an attack on the structure of the state; a charge that is difficult to refute. In the meantime, however, Trump’s presidential campaign is proceeding triumphantly and the only candidate still present, Nikky Halley, has very little chance of bringing the Republican Party back to its traditional political path and therefore of seriously competing for Trump’s presidential candidacy . The legal question arises in a context of profound division and radicalization between the two electorates, where the contending parties have further distanced themselves on all matters, both domestic, economic and international politics. Furthermore, the precedent of the Capitol insurrection identifies Trump supporters, certainly not all, as capable of violent gestures in open conflict with federal laws. On the other hand, postponing the decision on the decisions of the states of Maine and Colorado and on the ruling of the Washington Court of Appeals could raise serious doubts about the real impartiality of the Supreme Court, generating an institutional short circuit capable of paralyzing the country, in a moment where the international situation requires quick decisions. If the result with Trump as candidate is in the balance, perhaps with another Republican candidate a situation could arise that would impose a renewal even among the Democrats, but time is running out, putting the entire Western balance at risk.

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