Fri. May 24th, 2024

What Trump’s lawyer conceded at the Supreme Court: From the Politics Desk

By 37ci3 Apr25,2024



Welcome to the online version of From the policy deskevening bulletin that brings you the latest reporting and analysis from the campaign trail, the White House and Capitol Hill from the NBC News Politics team.

In today’s edition, reporters Lawrence Hurley and Ryan J. Reilly comment on what happened in the Supreme Court arguments regarding Donald Trump’s claim of absolute immunity from prosecution for events that occurred during the presidency. Plus, reporters Alexandra Marquez and Bridget Bowman walk through the aftermath of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s passage of Ukraine aid.

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What Trump’s lawyer admitted to the Supreme Court

By Lawrence Hurley and Ryan J. Reilly

Former President Donald Trump has long argued for absolute immunity in his federal election meddling lawsuit, but his attorney struck a different tone during arguments at the Supreme Court on Thursday. Indeed, attorney D. John Sauer did something his client rarely does: He made some concessions.

Sauer agreed with special counsel Jack Smith, who led the prosecution, that there were some allegations in the indictment that did not involve “official acts” by the president.


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Sauer’s main argument was that all indictments are based on official acts, which should be protected by partial immunity to ensure that presidents are not handcuffed by fear of prosecution after leaving office.

But Sauer acknowledged that Trump could be prosecuted for personal actions unrelated to his official duties as president.

During oral arguments, the judges reduced the public-private distinction to zero. Conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett and liberal Justice Elena Kagan both questioned Sauer about whether specific allegations in the indictment constituted official acts.

Sauer said Trump’s behavior in three of the five cases he was asked about involved personal actions, meaning they could be prosecuted. Go through these situations and read more here.

Concessions came as the Supreme Court He pointed out that any legal process related to Trump’s interference in the election will not take place soonwith judges expressing concern about whether certain presidential acts should be prohibited.

The justices, who will examine arguments from both sides, will reject Trump’s claim of broad immunity. But the court could send the case back for further proceedings, making it less likely that the trial will take place before the 2024 election.

In other words, Sauer’s withdrawal may have little consequence from an electoral perspective. Further delaying Trump’s impeachment, which Sauer is close to achieving, is a form of victory in itself.


Read more from Day 7 of Trump’s silent money trial NBC News live blog.


McConnell takes a victory lap — and a phone call from Ukraine

By Alexandra Marquez and Bridget Bowman

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., scores a victory after a bipartisan group of senators passed a more than $60 billion foreign aid package for Ukraine. He also had a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

McConnell “Meet the press,” he told NBC News When the pair spoke Thursday morning, Zelenskyy acknowledged the GOP leader’s struggle with his own party as a push for additional aid.

“Well, he was grateful because he knew the big problem was in my party,” McConnell told moderator Kristen Welkere in a taped interview Thursday. McConnell also noted that Zelenskyy said more Republicans supported the sweeping aid package Tuesday than when the Senate passed a similar measure in February, which ultimately stalled in the House.

“I think there’s a growing sense in the Senate Republican conference that the isolationist path is not a good idea,” McConnell said.

In a separate interview with NBC News’ Frank Thorp and Ryan Nobles on Wednesday, McConnell said that the foreign aid package. one of the most important victories calling it “undoubtedly one of the most important issues I’ve dealt with in all these years” of his nearly 40-year career.

“If you look at it from a world perspective, you could argue that it’s the most important,” McConnell said.

McConnell’s victory comes as he plans to step down as GOP leader later this year. And while that package fills his list of accomplishments, his legacy will also include shaping the conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court after the Senate decided in 2016 not to consider then-President Barack Obama’s nominee.

Discussing the case, which is currently in court, McConnell said on “Meet the Press” that he doesn’t think presidents should be immune from prosecution for actions they take while in office.

The Republican leader has stood by his comments since 2021 after voting to acquit Trump of the former president’s second impeachment for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. At the time, McConnell said, “We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. Former presidents are not immune to being either [held] is responsible for both”.

“That’s my opinion,” McConnell reiterated Thursday. “But my view is only my view. In other words, the court will decide.”

Read more McConnell’s “Meet the Press” interview and watch the interview on Sunday. →



🗞️ The best stories of the day

  • 🌵Additional charges: An Arizona grand jury has indicted Trump aides and so-called fraudulent voters with state crimes for their conduct after the 2020 presidential election. More →
  • 🇮🇱The “painful” proof of life: The family of Israeli-American hostage Hersh Goldberg-Pauly spoke to NBC News about a new video showing him still being held hostage by Hamas. More →
  • 🏫Protests Expand on College Campuses: Pro-Palestinian protests are spreading to more college campuses. More →
  • 🇺🇦In the push for aid to Ukraine: The Washington Post writes about how President Joe Biden and congressional leaders helped Speaker Mike Johnson change his mind about aid to Ukraine. More →
  • ❓Is there a problem with Morehouse? Morehouse College officials will discuss concerns about Biden serving as commencement speaker amid protests by young voters over his handling of the war between Israel and Hamas. More →

For now, that’s it from The Politics Desk. If you have feedback – like it or not – send us an email politicsnewsletter@nbcuni.com

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