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What does the Supreme Court's immunity ruling mean for Trump's federal election interference case?

Judge Tanya Chutkan must now decide whether Trump's conduct constituted official or unofficial acts.
Trump Hush Money
Posted at 9:50 PM, Jul 01, 2024

On Monday Scripps News spoke with retired Judge Shira Scheindlin about the implications of the Supreme Court's presidential immunity ruling.

Scheindlin served as United States District Judge in the Southern District of New York for 22 years. She was also appointed to the federal bench by former President Bill Clinton.

We asked her: What does this ruling mean for the federal case against Trump, in which he is charged with attempting to overturn the 2020 election? Judge Tanya Chutkan must now decide whether Trump's conduct constituted official or unofficial acts.

"[Chutkan] begins by studying this opinion carefully because it's not so clear what it says. There's the 'core constitutional acts,' and for that there is absolute immunity. But then [the Supreme Court] created what they call 'presumptive immunity' for other acts that are within the outer perimeter," Scheindlin said.

She continued: "The government can try to prove why there shouldn't be immunity. So they have a chance to overcome it for some of the things are not 'core.' The fact of the matter is they didn't have to go into all that because there's nothing 'core' in this indictment. Core constitutional matters are like foreign policy, like appointment of ambassadors, pardons, things like that which are not all in this case. So frankly, the only one they could come up is 'conversations with the attorney general' is part of the executive function that's 'core.' So that's absolutely immune."

"Even if what he says to the attorney general is 'I'd like you to help me find votes.' Well, that doesn't make any sense. But that's their ruling. So they've made these three categories, a third one being 'private,'" said Scheindlin. "And even if it's private or not official, the really bad part of the ruling was they can't use any of the evidence from the other categories to show that there was a crime in the private side."

"It's my guess that all 4 counts will actually survive. But the evidence will be not as strong as what it was," Scheindlin said. "Only certain portions of it have been eliminated by this ruling. Not all of it."

However, Scheindlin said, "That's going to be appealed and then it will be appealed again. This will take forever and this would not be tried before the election. That's for sure."

Watch more: Supreme Court sends Trump case back to lower court, giving former president limited immunity