On Tuesday, Donald Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow told the Supreme Court “We’re asking for temporary presidential immunity.”
Sekulow described “temporary presidential immunity” as meaning that Trump could not be investigated or prosecuted while holding the office of president. It would also mean no indictments, subpoenas, or testimony if investigators would seek them.
“Criminal process targeting the President violates the Constitution,” Sekulow said.
Justice Elena Kagan called out the argument, but Sekulow responded with “he’s president.”
“The President isn’t above the law,” Kagan retorted.
Other conservative justices expressed their concerns that a president could be harassed by prosecutors and congressional subpoenas.
It’s important to note that temporary immunity means that a former president could very well face legal consequences for his personal behavior after he has left office. It also makes it possible that the statute of limitations would run out before the individual could be prosecuted. Most crimes have a five- year window in which they can be prosecuted. If a president serves just one term his behavior could still end up a criminal case.
Robert Mueller described just that in his Russia investigation report.
“We recognized that a federal criminal accusation against a sitting President would place burdens on the President’s capacity to govern and potentially preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct,” Mueller wrote in his report.
But if the president would win a second term, he would surpass the statute of limitations.