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Durbin Statement On Supreme Court Ruling In Donald Trump Immunity Case

CHICAGO – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Trump v. U.S., which held that “the nature of Presidential power entitles a former President to absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for actions within his conclusive and preclusive constitutional authority. And he is entitled to at least presumptive immunity from prosecution for all his official acts. There is no immunity for unofficial acts.”

“No one should be above the law, not even a sitting United States President. And yet today’s ultra-conservative Supreme Court majority ruled that not just Donald Trump, but future presidents, may be immune from abusing the levers of government to overturn an election or engage in other misconduct.

“Importantly, today’s ruling also undermines longstanding policies that protect DOJ’s investigations and prosecutions from partisan political interference. In ruling that Donald Trump is ‘absolutely immune from prosecution for the alleged conduct involving his discussions with Justice Department officials,’ the Court has stripped the Justice Department of its valued independence and undermined its commitment to the rule of law.

“Relatedly, it is disgraceful that Justices Thomas and Alito brazenly refused to recuse themselves from this case. As I’ve said before, the appearance of impropriety or partiality require recusal. Until Chief Justice Roberts uses his existing authority to enact an enforceable code of conduct, I will continue to push to pass the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act.”

Durbin repeatedly called on Justice Thomas to rescue himself from cases related to the 2020 election, including Trump v. U.S., given efforts by his wife, Ginni Thomas, to overturn the 2020 presidential election and her attendance at the rally Donald Trump held on January 6, 2021. In May, Durbin called on Justice Alito to recuse himself from cases concerning the 2020 election and the January 6th insurrection following reports from the New York Times that Justice Alito flew, at two separate residences, flags that were carried by insurrectionists at the Capitol on January 6th. Justice Alito announced in a letter to Durbin on May 29 that he would not be recusing himself from these cases. 

In October 2021, following an eight-month investigation, the Senate Judiciary Committee released testimony and a staff report entitled “Subverting Justice: How the Former President and his Allies Pressured DOJ to Overturn the 2020 Election.” The report and testimony revealed that we were only a half-step away from a full blown constitutional crisis as then-President Donald Trump and his loyalists threatened a wholesale takeover of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The report also revealed how former Acting Civil Division Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark became Trump’s Big Lie Lawyer, pressuring his colleagues in DOJ to force an overturn of the 2020 election.