Trump Lawyers Say He’s Immune To Being Charged – Even If He Did ‘Shoot Someone On 5th Avenue’
Donald Trump’s lawyers left a panel of three federal appeals court judges perplexed by the idea that he can get away with murder while in office because he’s the president and according to them, presidents can’t be charged for a crime while in office.
Carey Dunne, New York District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.’s general counsel, said the president’s position is too absolute, according to NBC News.
There could be examples in which a state should be able to conduct a criminal investigation of a sitting president, “if, for example, he did pull out a handgun and shoot someone on Fifth Avenue.”
“This is not a permanent immunity,” Consovoy said when asked if the president could be charged with such a crime once he was out of office or if he was impeached and removed from office
“I’m talking about while in office. Nothing could be done? That’s your position?” Judge Denny Chin asked.
“That is correct,” Consovoy said.
Even assuming a president cannot be indicted, the appeals court judges questioned whether that immunity applies to earlier stages in the criminal justice process and noted that President Richard Nixon turned over White House tapes in 1974 in response to a grand jury subpoena.
Trump’s attorneys said that subjecting Trump to a criminal investigation would be a distraction from his presidential duties.
“Where is the distraction if the subpoena is served on his accountants? The president doesn’t have to do anything to comply with that subpoena,” Chin asked.
Dunne told the court that the president’s claim is too broad.
“There is no privilege for tax returns, whether it’s the president or anyone else in this country,” he said. “He may view them as embarrassing or sensitive. But tax returns do, in fact, get subpoenaed all the time in financial investigations.”
At the end of Wednesday’s courtroom argument, Judge Robert Katzmann expressed what everyone in the courtroom was undoubtedly thinking — whatever the ruling is, the case is headed to the Supreme Court.
“We have the feeling that you may be seeing each other again in Washington,” he said