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July 01, 2024

STATEMENT: Rep. Schiff Slams SCOTUS Ruling on Trump’s Claims of Presidential Immunity

Washington, D.C.— Today, Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s unprecedented and destructive ruling in Donald Trump v. United States:

“Today’s Supreme Court decision on Donald Trump’s immunity claim is far worse than anything I imagined, effectively giving a president immunity for any crimes committed while in office as long as that president can plausibly claim the action was taken in some form of official capacity. 

“It must now be presumed that the president, as king, is immune from accountability. The rule of law applies to everyone except the most powerful person on Earth. It would be difficult to overstate how much this opinion shifts the balance of power away from Congress and towards the presidency, and how unshackled a corrupt president will now be. The Court gives the president absolute power, and it will corrupt him, absolutely. 

“As Justice Sotomayor says so powerfully, this new immunity ‘now lies about like a loaded weapon’ for any President that wishes to place his own interests, his own political survival, or his own financial gain, above the interests of the Nation.

“The Court holds that when a president acts within his ‘core’ authority, he is fully immune. And when he acts outside his core authority, but in an official capacity, the presumption of immunity is so strong as to be nearly absolute. Even if he acts in a purely personal capacity, and the Court majority gives no indication of when that would be, his statements while acting officially may not be used as evidence, and his motives may not be questioned. 

“Having taken up a case they never should have, having waited until the last day to issue the opinion, having known it was the defendant’s strategy to deny justice by delaying it, the Court now remands the case for further proceedings of indeterminate length, ensuring there will be no accountability for Trump’s insurrectionist crimes before the election. 

“During his abortive coup attempt, Trump told his acting attorney general and other top Justice Department officials to ‘just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen.’ Now the Supreme Court says he is immune from ordering his Justice Department to lie, and the evidence of his malice, his very words, may not be used as evidence against him.

“Under this ruling, a president can order the assassination or jailing of their political rival, and be immune. They can take a bribe in exchange for an official act, and still be immune. They can organize a military coup to hold onto power, and still be immune. If that sounds mad, that’s because it is.

“This is a day that will live in legal infamy. When justices on the Court that bears Roberts’ name, paid back their appointment by a corrupt president with an opinion that provides immunity to all corrupt presidents, and weakened our democracy and the rule of law for the ages. 

“Our only remedy is the ballot box, a new congress, and a new Court — that has more reverence for the Constitution than the lust for power.”