President Trump Immunity Struck Down by Court of Appeals


Jordan Sekulow

February 6

4 min read

Election Law



The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit – a panel of three judges, two of which were appointed by President Biden – has ruled that it is “unpersuaded” by President Trump’s arguments for presidential immunity for any actions he took on January 6. How will this ruling affect President Trump’s 2024 presidential election bid?

Fox News reports on the big win for Special Counsel Jack Smith’s federal prosecution against Trump:

Former U.S. President Trump is not immune from prosecution in the 2020 federal election case, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The U.S. Court of Appeals - D.C. Circuit considered Trump’s claim of presidential immunity from prosecution for his actions in office, including his alleged role in overturning his 2020 election loss, ultimately saying it was “unpersuaded by his argument” and ruled a case against him can proceed.

“We have balanced former President Trump’s asserted interests in executive immunity against the vital public interests that favor allowing this prosecution to proceed,” the court wrote in its ruling Tuesday.

Trump’s defense goes back to the fundamental issue of presidential authority – and the roles of the courts and the President. Let’s put President Trump aside for a minute and consider the implications of any President being criminally prosecuted for their actions while they were President. This would reverse the order of the Constitution and prioritize the Judicial Branch over the Executive Branch – giving more power to the courts.

My dad, ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, argued presidential immunity cases at the U.S. Supreme Court. This form of immunity protects the President from being held liable or prosecuted for decisions made while fulfilling their constitutional duties of office – even controversial decisions.

For example, it applies to President Bush going into Iraq to look for weapons of mass destruction. It also applies to a President deciding to create an open border so fentanyl can come in freely and kill innocent U.S. citizens. Presidential immunity protects all Presidents from criminal prosecution for such decisions, even bad ones.

If this ruling against President Trump stands, it would fundamentally change the Constitution as we know it. Do we want to open this Pandora’s box and create a future where Presidents are afraid to make hard decisions because they could go to prison? The trickle-down effect would be catastrophic and weaken the office of the President for generations to come.

ACLJ Senior Counsel Andy Ekonomou elaborated on the absurdity of the ruling against Trump:

To say that somehow presidential immunity evaporates after you leave office is ridiculous. To say that this President, while acting as President of the United States, is no longer clothed with immunity once he leaves office and becomes just citizen Trump is to chill any action taken by a President to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. . . . It makes them subject not just to civil actions but to criminal prosecution because they no longer have that cloak of immunity once they leave office – a ridiculous concept.

So how does this appeals court ruling affect President Trump’s 2024 election bid? President Trump has until February 14 to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Justices could then take the case, grant a motion for a stay, or refuse to take the case.

If the Supreme Court doesn’t take the case, President Trump’s trial would likely resume in the district court this summer. Who knows what would happen next?

As we told you, we officially filed our final brief at the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday to defend your right to vote for the candidate of your choice. Oral argument will be on Thursday, with a ruling coming quickly. We remain vigilant in stopping the far Left’s greatest election interference attempt in U.S. history.

If your head is spinning from all the cases against President Trump, it’s perfectly understandable. There are a lot of moving parts in state, federal, civil, and criminal trials. Read our recent breakdown of the six most important cases pending against Trump and how they could affect your right to vote.

Today’s Sekulow broadcast provided a full analysis of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s ruling against President Trump. ACLJ Senior Advisor for National Security and Foreign Policy Ric Grenell reacted to the news of Trump’s presidential immunity being denied.

Watch the full broadcast below: