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Trump catches another break with Supreme Court ruling on presidential immunity

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Donald Trump declared victory Monday after a Supreme Court ruling on presidential immunity pointed to further legal delays for the former president, who once faced mounting questions about how he’d balance time in court with campaigning for a return to office.

The decision that former presidents are immune from prosecution for official actions taken while in the White House, but not from unofficial acts, further complicates the timing of Trump’s D.C. trial, potentially extending the case until after the election by sending it back to a lower court. The former president faces four federal felony counts for allegedly trying to reverse President Biden’s 2020 victory.

“BIG WIN FOR OUR CONSTITUTION AND DEMOCRACY. PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!” Trump wrote on social media.

The 6-3 decision was the latest in a string of favorable developments for the presumptive Republican nominee with two weeks until the scheduled start of his nominating convention.

Biden’s widely panned performance in last week’s debate has spurred Democratic panic and broader questions about whether he should be the party’s nominee. In a win for conservatives last week, the Supreme Court curtailed federal agency power by reversing Chevron, a 40-year-old legal precedent that said courts should defer to an agency’s interpretation of the law. In a separate ruling, the court found that prosecutors improperly charged a defendant with obstruction in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, a development Trump’s legal team might use to help defend him in court.

Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign has experienced an influx of donations after his May 30 conviction in New York on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to cover up a payment to an adult-film actress — essentially erasing the cash advantage Biden and the Democratic National Committee held.

“Trump has had a lot of really good luck. His campaign couldn’t have written a better few days,” Republican strategist Alex Conant said. “Legally he still has issues, but politically he’s able to claim vindication and nobody will see him in a federal court before the election.”

Still, Trump faces some challenges. He is in uncharted territory running as a felon facing a polarized electorate, and has alienated many voters with his false claims and combative tone on the campaign trail.

While Trump is claiming complete immunity, a lower court will decide which acts count as official or unofficial. The case is expected to continue to move forward as the former president campaigns.

“This decision will give Donald Trump cover to do exactly what he’s been saying that he wants to do for months, which is an act of revenge and retribution against his political enemies,” Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Quentin Fulks, said on a call with reporters.

The Supreme Court decision caps months of uncertainty over how Trump’s legal entanglements would affect his campaign. He was found guilty in his New York hush money trial, becoming the first former U.S. president convicted of a crime. Federal prosecutors have also charged Trump with illegally hoarding classified documents, but that trial has been postponed indefinitely. Trump also faces state charges in Georgia for trying to undo election results in that state.

“If you’re the Trump legal team, you’re thrilled with this decision because it gives the opportunity to really delay the Jan. 6 trial so there’s no way it’s tried in 2024,” said John Fishwick, a former federal prosecutor.

However, he noted that “there will be a number of hearings rehashing what happened in 2021 on Jan. 6 and all around that time frame. So it’s all going to be re-litigated in some way.”

Nicole Markus contributed to this report.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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