Following last week’s arguments before the DC Court of Appeals, Donald Trump warned of “bedlam” if the criminal charges he is facing caused him to lose the election, the Washington Post reported.
Trump voluntarily attended last week’s hearing in which the appeals court heard arguments on the question of whether Trump’s actions after the 2020 presidential election fell under presidential immunity.
Trump’s attorneys have argued that the former president could not be criminally prosecuted because his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results fell under his official duties as president, making him immune from criminal prosecution.
US District Judge Tanya Chutkin, who is overseeing the federal election interference case, rejected the defense’s argument in early December, arguing that presidential immunity was never intended to be a lifetime “get-out-of-jail-free pass.” The defense appealed her decision to the US Appeals Court for the District of Columbia.
Speaking to reporters following last Tuesday’s appellate hearing, Trump claimed that he was only being prosecuted because the polls showed him beating President Biden in November. He warned that if the charges damaged his presidential campaign, it would cause “bedlam in the country.”
Trump claimed that criminally prosecuting him would open “a Pandora’s box” and set “a very bad precedent.”
He insisted that a president must have immunity and claimed that anything a president does in office is protected by “absolute immunity.”
Trump claimed that if a president did not have absolute immunity, President Biden or former President Barack Obama could be prosecuted for the Afghanistan withdrawal, “drone strikes,” or “border policy changes.”
Trump also suggested that President Biden could be prosecuted for withholding aid to Ukraine to pressure officials to fire the prosecutor investigating Burisma.
According to the Associated Press, the 3-judge appellate panel appeared skeptical of Trump’s arguments for immunity during last week’s hearing.
While it is unclear when the appeals court will deliver its decision on the case, the court is expected to rule quickly.