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Day 1085

1/ The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reacted with skepticism to Trump’s unprecedented claim that a president could only be charged with a crime if they’ve been impeached and convicted by Congress first. Trump argued that prosecuting him for “official acts” unless first impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate would “open a Pandora’s box” of indicting other former presidents for actions they took while in office. At one point, when asked hypothetically if a president could face prosecution for ordering the SEAL Team Six to assassinate a political rival, Trump’s lawyer argued that such a case could only proceed “if he were impeached and convicted first.” If that’s the case, the Justice Department lawyer representing special counsel Jack Smith asked, “what kind of world are we living in” if a president can order a political assassination and avoid criminal charges by resigning before he can be impeached, adding that Trump’s view of immunity would mean an “extraordinarily frightening future.” All three judges appeared unlikely to dismiss Smith’s election subversion charges against Trump on claims of presidential immunity. Following the hearing, Trump warned of “bedlam” and declined to rule out political violence if the criminal charges against him hurt him in the 2024 election. [Editor’s Note: I typically avoid speculative reporting, prioritizing concrete events (i.e. it’s called “WHAT The Fuck Just Happened Today?” after all). However, the exceptional nature of this situation demands our attention as its outcome impacts democratic norms and necessitates a thorough examination.] (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / NPR / ABC News / Associated Press / Politico / The Guardian)

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