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Update on Trump’s Legal Cases

Posted on Wednesday, January 3, 2024
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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President Donald J. Trump gestures with a fist pump as he walks across the tarmac

Sigh. Time for an update on Trump’s legal cases. Let’s speak truth, not untruth – as is so common – about this. Let us address two decisions rendered in December – one early by a DC district judge on Trump’s “presidential immunity” from criminal prosecution for his January 6th speech, the other later by a three-judge panel of the DC circuit court on civil immunity, also part of Jack Smith’s wildly overreaching case.

First, on December 1, Democrat-appointed federal DC district court judge Tanya Chutkan found, perhaps not surprisingly, that even if Trump’s January 6th speech was an “official act,” his 1st Amendment claim to “free speech” did not hold, as words spoken were a crime; his 5th Amendment right not to face “double jeopardy” based on impeachment did not hold, as he can be prosecuted criminally after office; and his 5th Amendment “due process” claims did not hold because, using circular logic, the law “forbids” his words.

Second, we get the DC circuit court decision – three judges, an Obama, Clinton, and Trump appointee – which the media declares “denied Trump presidential immunity” on the civil side, arguing his speech may not have been an “official act” as president, so that question must still be litigated.

If this sounds both confusing and rather twisted, it is. These decisions are both legally wrongheaded.

The first one, by a partisan Obama appointee, amounts to a conclusory finding about 1st Amendment rights, gutting the president’s free speech rights by concluding, ahead of time, that he committed a crime.

She then disposes of double jeopardy protection by saying – without analysis – impeachment does not foreclose prosecution. It may not, which means Biden is in trouble, but where is historical analysis? Absent.  

Finally, she ignores the substance of Trump’s due process claim by saying, again without serious analysis, that the law “plainly forbids” his words. Who says? Where is due process? As in the impeachment, missing.

Net-net, that case is all politics, and that judge is all politics, which the ruling makes clear. Trump will have to suffer the rulings, plead his case, and look for relief for non-harmless constitutional violations later.

The other case, however, is interesting. The appellate court offered three concurring opinions, which did not deny Trump might have “presidential immunity” from civil prosecution. The media misreported the ruling. The ruling: He must prove the speech was an “official act” of a president, triggering immunity.

Plainly, the speech was a “matter of public concern,” since what could be more concerning for the nation than that election? The court says that is not enough; it must also be an “official act” of the president.

Okay, strong supporting arguments exist that it was “official” not “private.” The speech was almost certainly written by presidential speechwriters, as official speeches are, put on White House paper, printed there, practiced there, copies left there, perhaps aided by a government teleprompter.

The event, like hundreds of other “official” speeches given by presidents, senators, congressmen, and government officials was clearly on government property, the Ellipse, and tied to the federal process. No further voting was ahead, so status as a candidate versus a president tips to the president.

Finally, not pitching a specific criminal act, that speech expressly urged listeners to “peacefully and patriotically make their voices heard,” consistent with Mall protests since time immemorial.

In short, the first case will go forward, subject to later constitutional appeal, one basis for which may be partisanship of the bench, as in New York and Georgia. The second will go forward, immunity undecided.

Looking around several corners, what can we expect? A lot of distractions, lots of legal machinations intended to interfere with the presidential election, and lots of appeals as the legal process proceeds.

Saddest is the public confusion created by a Justice Department that improperly empowered a federal prosecutor, one known for trashing political opponents, and a federal bench timid about correcting it.

Eventually – and that is the operative word – these cases will end up before the US Supreme Court. Until then, that’s the update. Sigh.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

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Max
Max
6 months ago

RBC, you know the powers in charge will continue to do everything they can to keep Trump from regaining office that will slow their agenda from becoming reality. The nation has as seen and heard what Colorado and your Maine has done. Of course, all of this is leading to the US Supreme Court to make a decision should these cases be accepted to be heard. Until the nation as a whole wakes up and stops listening to the Left and MSM agendas, our nation will remain in turmoil.

Elizabeth Misa
Elizabeth Misa
6 months ago

This is so pathetic! The only way to take people down is to have everyone including MSM continue to propagate the lies. Keep them in court adnausiatim, bankrupt them until they fold or are imprisoned! No one in this regime is following the Constitution!

Pat R
Pat R
6 months ago

These cases will continue through October as leftists and anti-Trump folks will do anything and everything possible to keep DJT from taking the WH in 2025.

Felix
Felix
6 months ago

“They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.” Ephesians 4:18. Out of darkness comes light, I truly believe that because of this darkness, there is a silver lining, and many people will wake up and see the light to how they have been gas lit, and realize that everything that’s been fed to them about what Trump has been charged with, is exactly what they (the Biden justice department) is doing.

michaelR
michaelR
6 months ago

It’s pretty remarkable how the crats continue to redefine English language according to their definitions,… for the sole purpose of,…. “getting Trump”.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
6 months ago

All I can say is Trump better not accept any cases of congratulatory Delaware wine on his plane…

Perry Thompson
Perry Thompson
6 months ago

Totally a miss use of the courts. Counter suits to all the people involved. The world is watching the dark side of American law.

John Shipway
John Shipway
6 months ago

Again, someone please explain to me exactly when the citizenry should initiate the rights provided to us by the Second Amendment. Those rights have NOTHING to do with hunting but everything to do with the removal of a tyrannical government.
Please explain

CB
CB
6 months ago

Can you say revolution?

CB
CB
6 months ago

John I whole heartedly agree with you. As for smith and chitkan they suffer from cranial anal retention. Me thinketh that would be the best start. There is just something exciting about a revolution!

Silhouette of the President of the United States of America Donald Trump while attending a conference
1960s and 2020s; history repeats itself
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