Trump claims immunity as President in lawsuit
President Donald Trump is making trending news again as he is now claiming he cannot be sued as he is in the White House. He is using his presidency as defense in a lawsuit that alleges he incited rally-goers to violence when they allegedly assaulted protesters during a 2016 campaign. In a court filing last week, Trump's lawyers argue twice that the President has blanket immunity against the lawsuits. His lawyers say that he is immune from the suit because he is President of the United States. The attorneys also add that he is immune from proceedings under Clinton v. Jones. In the case, three protesters, Kashiya Nwanguma, Henry Brousseau and Molly Shah, accuse two men, Alvin Bamberger and Matthew Heimbach, of assaulting them at a rally in Kentucky in March 2016. The lawsuit also names President Trump for allegedly inciting the men's actions, pointing to Mr. Trump telling the crowd, to "Get them out of here" with regard to protesters during the rally. President Trump's lawyers contend that he was speaking to security and not the crowd, but the federal judge in the case has already ruled that it's plausible Donald Trump had incited a riot, allowing the lawsuit to move forward.
In this trending news, President Trump's lawyers make several claims in response to the lawsuit, including that President Trump had a right to remove protesters from his event. They also claim that getting tickets to the rally waived their claims and that their claims are barred by their unclean hands, in addition to claiming immunity. Experts say that the President immunity argument, will be tough for the Trump administration to justify and the reference to the Clinton v. Jones case is especially puzzling.
There were two major Supreme Court cases, one under President Andrew Johnson and the other with President Richard Nixon. Both cases held that presidents have broad immunity when it comes to their actions in office. But the court decided unanimously in former President Bill Clinton's case that he could face a lawsuit for actions that he allegedly took before becoming the President, leading to his now famous impeachment. In that case, former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones alleged that Bill Clinton sexually harassed her when he was the governor of Arkansas. Generally speaking, things that were done before the President is the president, in the President's ordinary capacity, there are no special immunity from any sort of suit, says the University of Chicago Law School professor William Baude, who works on immunity.
The Supreme Court first recognized presidential immunity in the United States versus Nixon in 1973. The Court concluded that the privilege was not absolute but presumptive and ordered that President Richard M. Nixon complies with a subpoena requesting some tapes of his conversations with his aides. The Court also determined that Nixon's generalized need for confidential communications with his staff was outweighed by the need for the materials sought in a pending criminal prosecution against members of his staff. And then there was Clinton versus Jones in 1997 when a unanimous Court acknowledged that the President's unique constitutional status but held he was not immune from the civil actions based on his unofficial conduct. The Court left unaddressed whether a President may be criminally prosecuted or imprisoned before impeachment and from removal from office, though it suggested for official actions a President may be disciplined principally by an impeachment, not by private lawsuits for the damages. This is just one of the trending news stories you will find on the CNN site. CNN is the top online source for new trending news, trending videos, new tech, politics and more. **
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