McConnell argues against presidential immunity for criminal prosecution

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he doesn’t think presidents should be immune from criminal prosecution for their actions in office, as the Supreme Court heard arguments on the issue related to former President Trump.

Asked in a Thursday interview on NBC News’s “Meet the Press” with Kristen Welker if he believes a president is above criminal prosecution, McConnell deferred to the Supreme Court.

“Obviously, I don’t think that, but it’s not up to me to make that decision,” he said. “The president clearly needs some kind of immunity or he’d be in court all the time.”

“So, we’ll just see how the Supreme Court deals with it,” McConnell continued.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court heard nearly three hours’ worth of arguments from Trump’s lawyers about why he should be immune from criminal prosecution in a case that alleges he plotted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Welker pressed McConnell on his 2021 comments and vote to acquit Trump after he was impeached by the House. At the time, he said Trump is liable for everything he did in office and hadn’t gotten “away with anything, yet.”

McConnell said he stands by his prior statements, but again, deferred to the decision the court will make in Trump’s case.

“We’re gonna find out, aren’t we? I mean, the Supreme Court is going to deal with that direct issue that I was referring to on Feb. 13, 2021. And I think we’ll find out sometime soon,” he said.

Justices on the high court voiced skepticism about assertions from Trump’s team that presidential immunity could extend to an attempted coup, even though they seemed ready to offer the commander in chief some protection from criminal prosecution.

The landmark case could create new legal battles and delay the ones Trump currently faces. A decision in the case is expected by the end of June, although special counsel Jack Smith has asked the court to work on a quicker timeline.

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