While speaking to a court on Wednesday, lawyers working for former U.S. President Donald Trump requested that said court rule in favor of Trump and cite “absolute immunity” as the standing for such a move.
His lawyers asked that he be completely removed from any and all punishment pertaining to the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol building.
The former president is appealing a ruling that was originally made back in February by U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta which stated that Trump can be sued and held liable for damages left in the wake of the riot. The ruling also sought to disregard Trump’s claims of immunity due to his actions and words that day disqualifying him from such.
The Judge claimed that Trump’s actions on the day of the attack were “plausibly words of incitement not protected by the First Amendment.” The court also clarified that Trump was seemingly not protected by presidential immunity either for the same reason.
However, despite the initial ruling, Trump’s lawyers requested once again on Wednesday that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reverse the ruling. They argued that the former president has “absolute presidential immunity.”
“President Trump is shielded by absolute presidential immunity because his statements were on matters of public concern and therefore well within the scope of the robust absolute immunity afforded all presidents,” his lawyer argued on Trump’s behalf.
“No amount of hyperbole about the violence of January 6, 2021, provides a basis for this Court to carve out an exception to the constitutional separation of powers,” the brief added.
Furthermore, Trump’s lawyers argued that impeachment is the only true way to offer consequences to a president in the United States. While the House of Representatives impeached Trump a total of two times, the second time happening not long after the January 6 attack, the Senate failed to do so due to a threshold vote not being met properly.
“A Democratic-controlled House of Representatives already brought impeachment charges against President Trump for allegedly inciting an insurrection on January 6, 2021,” the brief went on.
“Their effort failed, and President Trump was acquitted. These further lawsuits are an attempt to thwart that acquittal, and it is just this type of harassment that presidential immunity is meant to foreclose.”
In his ruling, Mehta stated that Trump’s falsified claims of a “rigged” and “stolen” election laid the groundwork for his immunity exemption.
“The President’s actions here do not relate to his duties of faithfully executing the laws, conducting foreign affairs, commanding the armed forces, or managing the Executive Branch,” Mehta wrote. “They entirely concern his efforts to remain in office for a second term. These are unofficial acts.”
“He called for thousands ‘to fight like hell’ immediately before directing an unpermitted march to the Capitol, where the targets of their ire were at work, knowing that militia groups and others among the crowd were prone to violence.”
Mehta also wrote, nothing that Trump’s goal in the ordeal “was to encourage the use of force, intimidation or threat to thwart the Certification from proceeding, and organized groups such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers would carry out the required acts.”