Mon. Jun 24th, 2024

Faced with criminal charges of secretly bribing a porn actress to keep her mouth shut and trying to overturn the results of the 2020 US presidential election, Donald Trump claims he deserves immunity as a former US president.

As Trump claims, the law gives him immunity; Therefore, his trial cannot continue on these charges. The Supreme Court will decide whether his claim is right or not.

The convincing arguments presented in the case filed by Special Counsel Jack Smith, based on historical events and at least three precedents, refute Trump’s claim of immunity. The most obvious precedent in this case is the Watergate scandal case. The case turned into an impeachment inquiry and precipitated the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974.

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Smith argued in Trump‘s impeachment hearings that President Gerald Ford pardoned his predecessor in the Watergate scandal and that it meant a formal state admission of Nixon’s crimes. And Nixon’s pardon represented his ‘confession of guilt’.

Without Gerald Ford’s pardon, Nixon would likely have faced criminal prosecution. If immunity were automatically reserved once he became president (as Trump claims), there would have been no need to pardon President Nixon.

As Jack Smith argues, the other two precedents are more than two centuries apart in time. One is the 1807 treason trial against Aaron Barr, then vice president of President Thomas Jefferson.

Another precedent is the 2020 case of Trump v. Vanch (the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vanch in 2019 ordered the Trump Organization to produce financial statements for an investigation into whether money was transferred from a Trump entity to porn star Stormy Daniels’ bank).

However, Trump sued Cyrus Vance without submitting that account and claimed that the president is exempt from the obligation to account for such assets (the decision taken by the Supreme Court).

In the trial, which began nearly two years after Aaron Barr left office as vice president, then-Chief Justice John Marshall took into account allegations that defendant Aaron Barr had tried to incite rebellion in the western states to create a separate country.

 

In fact, the main purpose of the bar was to organize a filibuster (private armed force) to seize Mexican land during the conflict with Spanish Mexico. The so-called ‘Bar Conspiracy’ ended up in the courts based on rumors spread by biased newspapers. However, he was finally acquitted in that case.

But the most recent precedent (the Trump v. Vanch case) has made the case at bar newly relevant once again. In Trump v. Vanch, the court overturned Trump’s attempts to avoid appearances and to destroy records of the porn star paying bribes to keep his mouth shut (the case is now pending in New York).

Now let’s take a look at the facts.

As we can see, the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s presidential immunity claim four years ago. According to Special Counsel Smith, United States v. Barr and Trump v. Vanch are the “real historical documents” of current prosecutions. Each of the two cases affirms, “Presidents are subject to judicial process and no individual is above the law.”

In the Trump v. Vanch case, Chief Justice John Roberts gave the majority opinion following the precedent set by Aaron Barr more than two hundred years ago. During the 1807 trial, Chief Justice Marshall issued a subpoena duces tecum, which required Jefferson to hand over certain documents to the court and possibly appear in person. Ultimately, John Roberts concluded in the Trump v. Vanch case, Jefferson was shown to be under the law.

The quote from Justice Marshall in the case at bar that boosted Smith, the government’s special counsel in the case against Trump, is that — “The president is elected by the people, and at the end of his term, he goes back to the people.”

Smith argues that a president is elected for four years. That is, he does not enjoy the status of a king under any circumstances. Only the king can enjoy immunity. According to Smith, the limits of executive power are drawn within the policy of rotating presidents by fixing four-year terms.

This principle affirms that a president is in no way a king (who is always outside the people and above the people). Only kings can claim absolute immunity. As a result, it is certain that the powers and titles of US presidents are absolutely temporary.

The issue pending before the Supreme Court today is essentially one that has already been settled. Because there is no such thing as absolute protection of the president. This is the motto of American democracy. Otherwise, the founding men of America will lie back in their graves!

 

This is not the end of the significance of the case at bar. When Barr went on trial, he was not the Vice President. He had already lost the mattress, and President Jefferson led an investigation into the allegations against Barr during his second term.

In the 1800 election, Jefferson and Burr stood on the ballot to succeed then-President John Adams. There was no such provision in the Constitution of that day as there are two posts of President and Vice President in the Electoral College vote today and voting is done separately for these two posts. At that time the person who got the most votes in the Electoral College vote would become the President. The candidate with the second highest Electoral College votes would be the Vice President.

Jefferson had previously stood on the ballot as Adams’s rival. He served as Adams’ vice president for four years as the second-highest polled candidate. In the election of 1800, Jefferson and Burr received equal votes. This result makes both of them ‘President Elect’. Later, the House of Representatives voted to appoint Jefferson as President and Barr as Vice President.

Then in 1804, the Twelfth Amendment to the US Constitution eliminated this problem and introduced separate tickets for the presidency and vice president. That same year, Jefferson chose New York Governor George Clinton to replace Barr as his vice president. Through this, we can know that the Constitution has never given or does not give absolute immunity to a President or Vice President.

If the Constitution were to allow their immunity, it would in effect recognize the executive branch as an “elected monarchy,” which none of America’s founding fathers, with one or two exceptions, ever approved.

James Wilson made a comment while serving as a Pennsylvania justice before being appointed an associate justice of the Supreme Court. Quoting Wilson’s remarks, Special Counsel Smith said that every president was and is subject to criminal prosecution for his personal misdeeds. And if he misuses the official duties entrusted to him, then he will be impeached.

From whatever point of view the judgment at bar is viewed, one thing is clear; And that is, no one is above the law. A vice president who almost became president could be tried for treason—anyone who agrees with the idea would find it hard to believe that a man once president could never be brought to justice.

Roberts, giving his opinion in the Vanche case, wrote, ‘According to Marshall’s interpretation, a king is born powerful and, according to monarchy, he can do no wrong. But the president is always elected by the people and under the rule of law.

The issue pending before the Supreme Court today is essentially one that has already been settled. Because there is no such thing as absolute protection of the president. This is the motto of American democracy. Otherwise, the founding men of America will lie back in their graves!

Copyright: Project Syndicate

By NAIS

THE NAIS IS OFFICIAL EDITOR ON NAIS NEWS

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