Are presidents above the law?

Voters are entitled to know before casting their ballots whether they are choosing a felon for president.

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Donald Trump thinks presidents should be allowed to commit crimes. Rubbish.

Trump claims that quote, “A PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES MUST HAVE FULL IMMUNITY” from prosecution for any crime committed while in office. His lawyers even claim that a president could be immune from prosecution for having a political opponent assassinated.

Trump says anything less than total immunity would quote, “incapacitate every future president.” Baloney. It would incapacitate him! He’s the only president who’s been criminally charged with trying to orchestrate a violent coup on January 6th, 2021.

Trump wants to turn the U.S. president into a supreme ruler — who is not bound to the same laws that everybody else is — the very antithesis of the bedrock values this country was founded on. A president shouldn’t be above the law.

In reality, this is all part of Trump’s plan to avoid accountability. He wants to gum up the legal system to delay his federal trial until after the 2024 election. If he really believed he was innocent, wouldn’t he want to have a trial as soon as possible?

Just as bad, the Supreme Court is abetting his plan by dragging its feet.

Trump’s criminal trial in the January 6 case was supposed to begin in March. But now, it’s on hold until Trump’s immunity claim is resolved by the Supreme Court. Who knows how long that will take?

The high court could have ruled on Trump’s immunity claim immediately — which Special Counsel Jack Smith asked it to do last December. Instead, the Supreme Court accepted Trump’s request not to expedite a ruling. Trump’s immunity claim then went slowly through the lower courts, which, not surprisingly, found that, no, presidents DO NOT have carte blanche to commit crimes.

The Supreme Court then had another chance to expedite a ruling on this, but it took weeks even to set a date for arguments.

The Supreme Court can move quickly when it wants to. When Trump appealed Colorado’s decision to keep him off the state ballot, the Supreme Court rushed to get a ruling out before the Colorado primary. Shouldn’t the court move with the same urgency on Trump’s immunity claim? Otherwise, Trump’s Jan. 6 trial may not be decided before the presidential election.

Voters are entitled to know before casting their ballots whether they are choosing a felon for president.

Read it on Robert Reich’s blog.

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Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fourteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "Saving Capitalism." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, co-founder of the nonprofit Inequality Media and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, Inequality for All.

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