'Citizen Trump': Donald Trump is not immune from criminal prosecution

The stakes couldn't be higher as Donald Trump seeks re-election in November, ITV News US Correspondent Dan Rivers reports

There were 57 pages of dense legal argument in today’s ruling, but one line stood out: “President Trump has become citizen Trump.”

It summarised the verdict of three judges (two appointed by Democrats, one Republican appointed) from the DC Court of Appeals, deciding that former presidents do not enjoy immunity from prosecution.

President Trump had been trying to argue he could not be prosecuted for attempting to overturn the result of the 2020 election.

This news will be a blow to the 45th president, whose spokesman described it as a “Nation Destroying Ruling”, and has already vowed to appeal.

Team Trump has until Monday to lodge their case with the Supreme Court, but there is no guarantee the nine justices will take up the case.

The federal case led by Special Counsel Jack Smith is arguably the most serious case Donald Trump faces.

Essentially, it accuses him of seeking to overturn the bedrock of American democracy, by his refusal to accept he lost against Joe Biden.

If the Supreme Court agrees to consider the case, it will inevitably lead to further delays.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) case was supposed to begin on March 4 before Judge Chutkan, but a Supreme Court deliberation might delay it for months.

Trump is doing everything he can to hold up the start, knowing the more he kicks the can down the road, the greater the chance there will be no verdict before November’s election.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…

He’s hoping to delay the case and win the election, so as president he’s be empowered to  order the case is dropped.

It’s not guaranteed the Supreme Court will hear the appeal, especially as the ruling of the lower Court of Appeal was unanimous.

But if it does, it will put the highest court in America at the centre of a remarkable political drama.

Ruling not to hear the appeal will ensure the federal case goes ahead, meaning a former president and presumptive Republican nominee potentially faces an epic trial and possibly a prison sentence before the election.

If they agree to hear the appeal, it might mean the federal case is delayed so long it might never be heard.

Either way, the stakes could not be higher. 

Have you heard our new podcast Talking Politics? Every week Tom, Robert and Anushka dig into the biggest issues dominating the political agenda…