How Trump’s Criminal Cases Test the US Constitution

Like no one before him, Donald Trump is at once a former president, a presumptive candidate to be nominated for the presidency again, and a criminal defendant. He faces 88 felony charges in four separate cases for conduct before, during and after his presidency, including conspiring to defraud the US in his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, mishandling classified documents, and falsifying business records to cover up hush money to an adult film actress. This unprecedented situation raises questions that previously would have been implausible law school hypotheticals. These are some of them.

Trump has made immunity claims in all four criminal cases — asserting that some of his actions in each case constituted official acts, rendering him immune from prosecutionBloomberg Terminal. In the election case against Trump brought by the Justice Department, a federal judge in Washington rejected his immunity bid, suggesting he was seeking “the divine right of kings to evade the criminal accountability that governs his fellow citizens.” That decision was unanimously upheld by a three-judge appeals court panel on Feb. 6. The US Supreme Court is scheduled to hear Trump’s appeal Bloomberg Terminalon April 25. His Washington trial is on hold in the meantime and could be pushed until after the Nov. 5 election.

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