A judge has warned that former President Donald Trump is building a legal shield that could block him from being held accountable for inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, pointing to the bizarre move by the Department of Justice to side with Trump in a rape defamation case last year.
The DOJ’s legal stance—that anything a president does is part of his official duties, and therefore makes him a federal employee immune to lawsuits—was widely criticized at the time. But it came up again on Tuesday, when a federal appellate judge found it necessary to issue a stark warning that obviously referred to holding Trump accountable.
“Under this logic, so long as a president looks like he is engaged in conduct that is of the kind he is expected to perform—like speaking to a reporter or attending a government meeting—he is acting in the scope of his employment. But if that were so, then the mere presence of others would neutralize whatever a president did or said, for no president could be held accountable for damage done in front of a microphone or in an official meeting—whether defaming a citizen, exposing classified national security information, or inciting a riot,” wrote Judge Denny Chin in New York City.
“This is not, and should not be, the law,” he added. [Continue reading…]