The Supreme Court’s ruling on presidential immunity Monday has significantly impacted the prosecution of former President Donald Trump by both special counsel Jack Smith and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. The court’s decision, which grants former presidents “at least presumptive immunity” from prosecution for all “official acts,” raises serious questions about the viability of the current indictments against Trump.

This ruling forces Smith to reassess his case as Judge Tanya Chutkan determines which parts of the indictment are covered by immunity. The process will likely delay any trial until after the upcoming election. Furthermore, a separate Supreme Court ruling on the obstruction statute related to two charges in Trump’s indictment could leave Smith with a weakened case.

“I think it could take several months for the trial court to decide what are official and unofficial acts,” stated John Yoo, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and former Department of Justice official under President George W. Bush, to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Both sides must have a fair chance to research and argue the issue before the judge undertakes her analysis,” told The Daily Caller.

The Supreme Court’s recent Fischer v. United States decision found the DOJ’s interpretation of an obstruction statute overly broad, affecting hundreds of January 6 defendants and two counts in Trump’s indictment. Yoo noted that this leaves “little left” of Smith’s case.

Yoo suggested in a Fox News column that President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland should consider ending the special counsel investigation, blaming its failures on the Supreme Court, and leaving Trump’s fate to the voters in November.

John Malcolm, vice president of The Heritage Foundation’s Institute for Constitutional Government, remarked that it is “very unclear” whether any viable charges “remain against Trump in either D.C. or Atlanta.”

“Judge Tanya Chutkan certainly has her work cut out for her,” Malcolm added. The Fischer ruling makes it “hard to see” how the charges alleging Trump “obstructed, attempted to obstruct, and conspired to obstruct an official proceeding” will hold.

Regarding the immunity decision, Malcolm explained that the court has essentially directed Chutkan to dismiss charges related to Trump’s interactions with Justice Department officials and clarified that Trump would also be immune for actions within the “outer perimeter” of his presidential authority.

Trump’s appeal pending before the Supreme Court previously put the case on hold, causing Chutkan to cancel the March 4 trial date. While a trial before the election is unlikely, Chutkan might schedule a public hearing on the immunity issue soon, allowing prosecutors to present evidence against Trump, according to The New York Times.

The immunity ruling also affects Trump’s other criminal cases, including the Georgia election interference case by Willis, which is already on hold as Trump and his co-defendants seek to disqualify her. Yoo noted that state prosecutors must now prove they are prosecuting a president for non-official acts.

For Smith’s Florida classified documents case, Malcolm indicated that removing documents from the White House could be deemed an official act, presenting another challenge for Smith unless the judge rules that his appointment was unconstitutional.

Justice Clarence Thomas raised concerns about the constitutionality of Smith’s appointment in a concurring opinion, suggesting that if there is no law establishing the office of Special Counsel, Smith cannot proceed with the prosecution.

The immunity decision has already influenced Trump’s Manhattan case, where he was convicted in May on 34 counts of falsifying business records. Judge Juan Merchan agreed to move Trump’s sentencing date from July to September after his attorneys argued that the ruling implies the verdict should be set aside.



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