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Trump asks US Supreme Court to intervene in his immunity bid By Reuters

Trump asks US Supreme Court to intervene in his immunity bid

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during his Iowa caucus night watch party in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., January 15, 2024. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo

By John Kruzel and Andrew Chung

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Donald Trump on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to put on hold a judicial decision rejecting his claim that he is immune from being prosecuted for trying to overturn his 2020 election loss, arguing that without such a shield “the presidency as we know it will cease to exist.”

Trump, seeking to regain the presidency in the Nov. 5 U.S. election, asked the justices to pause a Feb. 6 ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejecting his claim of immunity from prosecution.

Trump’s lawyers in a brief to the Supreme Court warned that “conducting a months-long criminal trial of President Trump at the height of election season will radically disrupt President Trump’s ability to campaign” against President Joe Biden ahead of the election.

They asked the justices to halt the trial proceedings pending their bid for the full slate of judges on the D.C. Circuit to reconsider the case, and, if necessary, an appeal to the Supreme Court. A March 4 trial date for Trump in federal court in Washington on four criminal counts pursued by Special Counsel Jack Smith already was postponed, with no new date set.

Trump, the first former president to be criminally prosecuted, is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination to challenge Biden, a Democrat who defeated him in 2020.

Slowing the case could benefit Trump. If he wins the November election and returns to the White House, he could use his presidential powers to force an end to the prosecution or potentially pardon himself for any federal crimes.

Trump’s lawyers painted a dark picture – rejected by the D.C. Circuit – of what would befall future presidents if his criminal prosecution is allowed to proceed, warning of partisan prosecutions, extortion, blackmail and more.

“Without immunity from criminal prosecution, the presidency as we know it will cease to exist,” his lawyers wrote.

“Any decision by the president on a politically controversial question would face the threat of indictment by the opposing party after a change in administrations. All presidential decisions would be exposed to undue, wrongful pressure from opposing political forces, under a threat of indictment after…

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