Donald Trump’s lawyers argued in a court filing last week that Trump has immunity from any lawsuits due to the fact that he is the president.
The words “Trump” and “lawsuit” have become pretty much synonymous over the years. The current president currently has over 3,500 lawsuits filed against him but the reason Trump’s lawyers are arguing he has immunity now stems from a more recent suit.
If you remember back on the campaign trail, Trump had a rather controversial way of handling protestors at his rallies. Trump has been accused of inciting violence and riots against protestors, suggesting that his supporters “knock the crap out of them” and “get them out of here.”
A federal judge has already ruled that it is possible Trump tried to incite a riot, allowing the suit to move forward. Trump’s lawyers though, contend that Trump’s comments were directed toward security officials. As for having immunity, Trump’s lawyers cited two Supreme Court cases, one from Andrew Johnson, and another from Richard Nixon that ruled presidents have a broad immunity from lawsuits as it pertains to their actions while in office.
But here’s why that’s bullshit:
These rallies occurred before Trump won the presidency. In fact, the lawsuit pertains to a Kentucky rally that happened in March 2016 where three protestors were assaulted by Trump supporters. Because this was before Trump took office, the Supreme Court cases that grant the president immunity no longer apply.
Trying to argue for immunity is going to be an uphill climb and probably the biggest reason for that is the Clinton V. Jones case.
In that case, former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones claimed that former President Bill Clinton sexually harassed her while he was still the Governor of Arkansas. But a court ruled unanimously that Clinton could still face a lawsuit for any actions that occurred before he took over the presidency.
Yes, presidents do have broad immunity but ONLY for actions that happened while they served in office. Once again, Trump is attempting to defend the outright indefensible but I seriously doubt that even the best team of lawyers could pull this off.