King Donald Trump

King Donald Trump -
King Donald Trump -

THIS FOURTH of July, as America marks the day it declared independence from Britain’s King George III in 1776, it does so poised to engineer a perverse reversal of history through the coronation of a new monarch: Donald Trump.

It is no exaggeration to say this is the effect of the US Supreme Court’s ruling on July 1 which, in a case necessitated by multiple criminal indictments against the presumptive Republican nominee, effectively bestows presidents of that country absolute immunity from prosecution.

Mr Trump’s supporters frequently claim all the cases against him, including one which has culminated in a stunning 34-count conviction, are bad for America because they make it look like a pariah state in which political adversaries are being targeted by law enforcement.

But it is the court’s promulgation of a convoluted and nonsensical scheme in which presidents have immunity for “core constitutional powers” while also having “at least presumptive immunity” for “official actions” that renders the country a banana republic, if even that.

There is no republic in the world where a democratic leader is above the law.

In France, Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced to prison time for campaign misconduct and corruption.

In Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva faced charges of sleaze and money laundering.

Even in little TT, we have had the experience of seeing a former prime minister in the prisoner’s dock.

Meanwhile, in Britain Boris Johnson was fined for the Partygate scandal, as was Rishi Sunak, the outgoing prime minister.

In drawing a confusing and completely arbitrary line involving a president’s “official” and “unofficial” acts, his “core” duties and those within “the outer perimeter of his official responsibility,” the conservative justices have concocted a legal standard of a most freakish kind.

They have thrown out the conventional wisdom which prevailed since the days of the Watergate scandal, when Richard Nixon sat in the Oval Office and conspired to cover-up spying on rivals through the obstruction of an FBI probe.

Back then, after audio capturing that misconduct emerged, Mr Nixon’s own party immediately moved to oust him. He had to be pardoned by Gerald Ford.

But now, under the incoherent, unworkable scheme set out this week, all would have to ask, seriously and incredibly, whether Mr Nixon’s clear abuse of power fell within the grounds of “official” conduct.

Now, all must set aside Mr Nixon’s motives. “In dividing official from unofficial conduct, courts may not inquire into the President’s motives,” decreed the justices.

There is no guardrail.

The court, comprising three officials appointed by Mr Trump – and two conservatives with glaring conflicts – has, by a 6-3 decision, given the most powerful leader in the world the fiat to rule as king.


"King Donald Trump"

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