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Justice Dept. Opposes Trump’s Motion to Dismiss Jan. 6 Case

Matt Gluck
Thursday, October 19, 2023, 9:56 PM
The government opposed Trump’s motion to dismiss the case on grounds of presidential immunity, asserting that Trump “is subject to the federal criminal laws like more than 330 million other Americans.”

Published by The Lawfare Institute
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On Oct. 19, the government filed a response to former President Donald Trump’s Oct. 5 motion to dismiss the Justice Department’s Jan. 6 case against him. Trump had sought to dismiss the case on grounds of presidential immunity. The government argues that Trump’s motion for absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct during his presidency “would violate the fundamental principle that no one in this country, not even the president, is above the law.” 

The government asserts in its filing that presidents have two forms of immunity. The first is immunity from criminal liability that shields presidents while they are in office. The second is absolute immunity from civil liability for official presidential conduct that protects current and former presidents. But what Trump seeks is an “unprecedented form of absolute immunity from criminal liability” that is not included in either category, according to the government. 

Moreover, the government contends that even if Trump were to successfully convince the court to establish a new form of immunity from criminal prosecution for former presidents, his motion should still be rejected—as Trump does not resolve the “substantial challenges regarding [the] scope and application” of this novel immunity. 

You can read the filing here or below.

Matt Gluck is a research fellow at Lawfare. He holds a BA in government from Dartmouth College.

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