CNN Legal Analyst Points To One Case That Could Serve As Important Backdrop For Trump’s Fight Against Jack Smith

[Screenshot CNN]

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
Font Size:

CNN’s senior legal analyst Elie Honig pointed to a case dating back to the Nixon-era that could serve as an important backdrop as special counsel Jack Smith seeks to nail former President Donald Trump.

The Supreme Court asked Trump’s lawyers to respond by next week to Smith’s request for the justices to weigh in on the 2020 election case. Smith asked the high court to consider Trump’s bid to dismiss the case based on presidential immunity before the appeals court decides on the issue. The Supreme Court granted Smith’s expedition request.

“So there are some things we do know and some things we don’t know. Let’s start with what we do know. There is such thing as what we call civil immunity. Meaning that a federal official or former federal official cannot be sued civilly for anything that falls within the scope of the job. We actually got that from a decision back in 1982 involving Richard Nixon. Nothing to do with Watergate. Basically a former federal official had been fired during the Nixon administration, sues Richard Nixon and the Supreme Court says ‘You can’t sue him because firing and hiring federal officials, that’s part of the job as president, that’s within the scope of working in the White House.'” (RELATED: Jack Smith Seems To Be Doing All He Can To Get Trump In Court Before The Election)

“Now, here’s what we don’t know but we’re going to find out very soon. First of all, criminal immunity…We don’t know whether there is such thing as criminal immunity. Can be immune from criminal prosecution? And the question really is first, is there such thing as criminal immunity. The second thing, if so, did Donald Trump’s conduct fall within the scope of his job as president or not?” Honig said. “The district judge here has already ruled on this case, she has rejected Donald Trump’s criminal immunity argument. She has said there is “no divine right of kings” therefore there is no criminal immunity. But that’s the issue as it’s teed up now.”

Smith also revealed that one of the so-called expert witnesses he may call on during the trial will include an individual who “extracted and processed data from the White House cell phones used by the defendant [Trump] and one other individual.” Data reviewed by the witness includes images, website visits and phone “usage” around Jan. 6, 2021, according to the filing.

Smith’s efforts to nab Trump could impact Trump’s chances at re-election, with a Wall Street Journal survey finding Biden would win a hypothetical matchup against Trump 46% to 45% if Trump is convicted of a felony in either of Smith’s probes.