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The president “now gets to behave like a king, or a dictator,” legal expert says

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President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a rally in Washington, on Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that former and future presidents enjoy some immunity from prosecution, handing former President Donald Trump a victory in his bid to stave off criminal prosecution of an alleged plot to subvert the 2020 presidential election — and recasting the scope of executive power. The 6-3 vote, which states that Trump is entitled to “presumptive” immunity from prosecution for all of his “official acts,” was along party lines. 

“Under our constitutional structure of separated powers, the nature of Presidential power entitles a former president to absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for actions within his conclusive and preclusive constitutional authority,” Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. said, writing for the majority. “And he [Trump] is entitled to at least presumptive immunity from prosecution for all his official acts.” There is no immunity, however, for “unofficial acts,” the court wrote.

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