Donald Trump is hoping the momentum from the Supreme Court turning down Jack Smith’s request to expedite a ruling on the election subversion case will carry over.
His legal team has requested the appeals court to dismiss the case outright.
Special Counsel Jack Smith knows that eventually, his case will wind up before the Supreme Court, so he wanted to toss the question of whether Trump has presidential immunity in the election subversion case to them to decide on now and ask the court to expedite the case.
On Friday, the court rejected his request, refusing to take the case until the legal process plays out in full, which was a significant blow to Smith’s ability to keep this case on track. The denial has more or less derailed the timeline, now all but a certainty to be delayed past the March start date that Judge Chutkan scheduled initially.
Donald Trump’s legal team has been trying to get this case dismissed from the outset on the basis that Trump is immune from prosecution because his actions to challenge the outcome of the election should be considered part of his presidential duties.
To that point, after a lower court rejected Trump’s motion to dismiss the case on this front, and with the Supreme Court refusing to take the case, Trump’s legal team officially filed the appeal with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Saturday. Trump’s attorneys argued:
“Before any single prosecutor can ask a court to sit in judgment of the President’s conduct, Congress must have approved of it by impeaching and convicting the President. That did not happen here, and so President Trump has absolute immunity.”
The original court date set by Judge Chutkan for this trial was March 4, 2024. With the Supreme Court refusing to expedite the case, that date is likely to be moved back while it works its way through the lower courts and eventually to the Supreme Court.
Oral arguments for the appeal are now slated for January 9, then we have to wait for the appeals court to announce its decision. If Trump wins the appeal, the case is over. If he loses the appeal, he will continue to elevate his appeals until the case goes before the Supreme Court, and that is just the question of immunity.
Trump is facing four federal indictments as well as a handful of civil cases, so even if Trump exhausts all appeals and loses them, he is likely to be well beyond the initial date of March 4, so the trial will have to be backed up when they can work it in between some of these other cases.
Trump’s strategy is and has always been to get these cases delayed until after the general election, knowing that his poll numbers collapse if he gets convicted of a felony. If he can somehow pull that off, his chances of victory against Joe Biden are fairly significant based on current polling.
Of course, if Trump wins that election, there is also the added benefit that the Attorney General he picks could dismiss all federal charges against him, allowing Trump to walk away scot-free. That would, however, open the door to another impeachment of Trump and his Attorney General if Democrats can take control complete control of Congress.