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Schumer Hints at Bill to Carve Trump’s Jan. 6 Acts Out of Presidential Immunity

Schumer condemned the Supreme Court decision that “has effectively placed a crown on Donald Trump’s head.”

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer fields questions in the U.S. Capitol on July 9, 2024.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said on Monday that he’s working on legislation that would ensure that former President Donald Trump can be legally held responsible for his attempt to seize power during the 2020 election, after the Supreme Court’s presidential immunity ruling last week.

In remarks on the Senate floor, Schumer said that Democrats are seeking to classify Trump’s election subversion acts as “unofficial” acts that are not subject to legal immunity. This would mean that Trump could still face consequences in the case regarding his role in the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and his attempts to recruit fake electors to help him deliver a win in the election, rather than the current likely outcome that he will escape from responsibility for those acts altogether.

“We were all taught in grade school that there are no kings here in America. Well, what the conservative justices have done has effectively placed a crown on Donald Trump’s head,” Schumer said.

“We Democrats will not let the Supreme Court’s decision stand unaddressed,” he continued. “The Constitution makes plain that Congress has the authority to check the judiciary through appropriate legislation. I will work with my colleagues on legislation classifying Trump’s election subversion acts as unofficial acts not subject to immunity.”

The Supreme Court ruling specified that supposed “official” acts by a president are immune from prosecution — a decision that many have condemned as a way to allow Trump and other ill-willed presidents to abuse their power as they please. The majority’s dubiously constructed opinion said that “unofficial” acts are not immune to punishment, but the opinion is written in a vague way that leaves the distinction largely up to courts.

The legislation is one of several moves that Democrats are taking to combat the danger posed by the immunity ruling.

One House Democrat, the leading Democrat on the House Administration Committee, announced last week that he is introducing a constitutional amendment that would overturn the decision altogether.

The amendment is crafted to ensure that the president and other public officers aren’t allowed impunity for acts that are prohibited for any other Americans, said sponsor Rep. Joe Morelle (D-New York).

“I am introducing a constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court’s catastrophic decision and ensure no president is above the law,” Morelle said. “This amendment will do what they failed to do — prioritize our democracy.”

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