Breaking news has just been announced. The Department of Justice has torpedoed the former U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s claim of immunity in a court filing that notes there is no presidential immunity for “the incitement of imminent private violence.” This is a game changer, and one that potentially carries epic ramifications.
As per Mediate.Com, this Thursday, the DOJ filed a brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. This took direct aim at Trump’s claim of “absolute immunity” from civil damages in lawsuits related to the deadly attack on the Capitol that Trump incited on January 6, 2021.
From the filing:
No part of a President’s official responsibilities includes the incitement of imminent private violence. By definition, such conduct plainly falls outside the President’s constitutional and statutory duties. Cf. Nixon, 457 U.S. at 749-50.
It likewise falls outside any plausible understanding of the President’s traditional function of speaking to the public on matters of public concern. As the Nation’s leader and head of state, the President has “an extraordinary power to speak to his fellow citizens and on their behalf.” Hawaii, 138 S. Ct. at 2417-18.
But that traditional function is one of public communication and persuasion, not incitement of imminent private violence. To extend immunity to such incitement would contradict the “constitutional heritage and structure,” Nixon, 457 U.S. at 748, that have informed and justified the doctrine of presidential immunity.
Trump’s claim is based on a Supreme Court precedent that presidents enjoy “absolute immunity from damages liability predicated on his official acts.”