The Supreme Court has provided President Joe Biden with new protections following its ruling on former President Donald Trump’s immunity claims, according to former federal prosecutor and elected state attorney Michael McAuliffe, who spoke with Newsweek.

On Monday, the court ruled that Trump has presidential immunity for official acts but not for unofficial acts, sending the case back to the lower courts for Judge Tanya Chutkan to determine whether the acts alleged in the indictment are official or unofficial. Judge Chutkan is currently overseeing Trump’s federal election interference case. “In theory, the decision provides [Biden] more protection from what Trump has publicly said he would pursue against Biden if Trump were elected again as president,” McAuliffe said.

Trump has vowed to seek revenge against his political opponents if he returns to the White House in November. Last week, during the first presidential debate, Trump claimed that Biden “could be a convicted felon with all of the things that he’s done,” referring to Biden’s policies on immigration and Ukraine. “This man is a criminal,” Trump declared about his rival.

However, the Supreme Court’s ruling that official conduct by a president is protected from criminal prosecution makes it unlikely that Trump would succeed in bringing such charges against Biden if he wins the 2024 election.

For Trump, the ruling means “numerous additional hearings and a determination by the trial judge as to what types of conduct are alleged in the pending indictment—core presidential, official, or nonofficial,” McAuliffe said. “Depending on the trial judge’s determinations, the next issue is what evidence will be allowed to prove any allegations of nonimmunized conduct,” he added. “That process will effectively push the case, assuming some of the indictment survives—both as to allegations and the ability to prove them—beyond the election.”

Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told Newsweek that the Supreme Court had been expected to grant Trump some type of immunity, although not as broadly as the former president wished. “It was clear from the question presented when they accepted the case and the oral arguments that the Supreme Court was going to allow some immunity for official acts, even for former presidents,” Rahmani said. “That’s where the D.C. Circuit got it wrong.”

Rahmani stated that the real question was whether the court would classify Trump’s conduct leading up to the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot as official acts or leave it to Judge Chutkan to decide. By choosing the latter, Rahmani believes the Supreme Court “gave Trump a huge win.”

“Not substantively, because I think Judge Chutkan will decide that Trump’s actions were personal and not official, but procedurally because the additional delay will push his criminal cases past the November election,” Rahmani explained. “Trump is likely to be president in 2025, and a sitting president can’t be prosecuted.”

The Supreme Court’s decision clarifies that while Trump has immunity for his official acts as president, his unofficial actions remain subject to legal scrutiny, impacting the timeline and proceedings of his ongoing cases.



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