Trump may face a fact-finding hearing — a mini-trial of sorts — shortly before the election

Trump may face a fact-finding hearing — a mini-trial of sorts — shortly before the election

The New York Times reports:

The Supreme Court’s decision on Monday about executive immunity makes it all but certain that former President Donald J. Trump will not stand trial on charges of seeking to overturn the last election before voters decide whether to send him back to the White House in the next one.

But the ruling also opened the door for prosecutors to detail much of their evidence against Mr. Trump in front of a federal judge — and the public — at an expansive fact-finding hearing, perhaps before Election Day.

It remains unclear when the hearing, which was ordered as part of the court’s decision, might take place or how long it would last.

But it will address the big question that the justices kicked back to the trial court, which is how much of Mr. Trump’s indictment can survive the ruling that former presidents enjoy immunity for official actions they take in office. And it will be held in Federal District Court in Washington in front of the judge, Tanya S. Chutkan, who was handling the case before it was frozen more than six months ago as a series of courts considered his immunity claims.

Almost from the moment that Judge Chutkan was assigned the case, she moved it forward expeditiously, showing little patience for Mr. Trump’s efforts to delay it — or his complaints that it was getting in the way of his campaign.

At one point, she told the former president that his “day job” as a candidate would not affect her administration of the case, later declaring, “This trial will not yield to the election cycle.”

Mr. Trump’s lawyers will no doubt seek to narrow the scope of the proceeding and push it off for as long as possible. And if he wins the presidency again, he could avoid the proceeding altogether by ordering his Justice Department to drop the entire case.

But if Judge Chutkan sticks to her practice of dealing quickly with procedural matters and is able to schedule the hearing for September or October, it could lead to something extraordinary: a mini-trial of sorts unfolding in the nation’s capital in what could be the homestretch of the presidential campaign. [Continue reading…]

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