Former President Richard Nixon, famous for the Watergate scandal, may have set the precedent that could save former President Donald Trump from two of the indictments he currently faces.
Special Counsel Jack Smith and Trump’s legal team is set to argue before the Supreme Court on whether the president’s actions leading to the January 6 protest are protected under presidential immunity. Should the Supreme Court rule in Trump’s favor, Smith and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ cases against Trump could collapse.
CNN’s senior legal analyst Elie Honig on Tuesday suggested that a precedent set during the Nixon era could make the court rule in the former president’s favor.
JUST IN – FEAR ON THE LEFT: CNN's Elie Honig warns that Jack Smith, by going directly to the Supreme Court, may be making a HUGE mistake, as this could instantly end two of the most serious Trump trials. WATCH pic.twitter.com/yf4cvuiF82
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) December 11, 2023
“So there are some things we do know and some things we don’t know. Let’s start with what we do know. There is such thing as what we call civil immunity. Meaning that a federal official or former federal official cannot be sued civilly for anything that falls within the scope of the job. We actually got that from a decision back in 1982 involving Richard Nixon. Nothing to do with Watergate. Basically a former federal official had been fired during the Nixon administration, sues Richard Nixon and the Supreme Court says ‘You can’t sue him because firing and hiring federal officials, that’s part of the job as president, that’s within the scope of working in the White House.’”
However, Honig noted that there was a slight difference between Nixon’s and Trump’s cases. Nixon’s case was one of civil immunity while Trump’s case is based on criminal immunity.
“Now, here’s what we don’t know but we’re going to find out very soon. First of all, criminal immunity…We don’t know whether there is such a thing as criminal immunity. Can be immune from criminal prosecution? And the question really is first, is there such thing as criminal immunity? The second thing, if so, did Donald Trump’s conduct fall within the scope of his job as president or not?” Honig said. “The district judge here has already ruled on this case, she has rejected Donald Trump’s criminal immunity argument. She has said there is “no divine right of kings” therefore there is no criminal immunity. But that’s the issue as it’s teed up now.”