Just before the Christmas Holiday weekend, the United States Supreme Court rejected special counsel Jack Smith’s request to expedite former President Donald Trump’s immunity case.
“This case presents a fundamental question at the heart of our democracy: whether a former president is absolutely immune from federal prosecution for crimes committed while in office or is constitutionally protected from federal prosecution when he has been impeached but not convicted before the criminal proceedings begin,” Smith wrote in a filing to the Court on December 11.
Trump’s lawyers argued Smith had given “no compelling reason” as to why the justices should circumvent the appeals court process.
Now that the Supreme Court has refused to intervene, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear oral arguments on the issue on January 9. Once the appeals court gives its ruling, the High Court could take up the case.
National Review reports that The dispute between the prosecution and defense comes after Washington, D.C.-based U.S. district court judge Tanya Chutkan earlier this month rejected Trump’s motion to dismiss his election-interference indictment on presidential immunity and constitutional grounds. The case is currently on pause while Trump appeals Chutkan’s decision.
The federal case, which accuses Trump of conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential election, is slated to begin trial on March 4, although the trial date could be pushed back depending on the result of the appeals proceedings. Trump has pleaded not guilty to the following four charges: conspiracy to defraud the U.S., conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction, and conspiracy against the right to vote and to have one’s vote counted.
DOJ says FBI informant on Biden had ‘high-level’ contacts with Russian intelligence
In a memorandum filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada to support Alexander Smirnov’s continued pre-trial detention, the Department of Justice(DOJ) wrote that he claimed to have had “contacts with multiple foreign intelligence agencies…[who] could resettle Smirnov outside the United States if he were released.”
Smirnov, a dual citizen of the United States and Israel, was arrested and charged on Feb. 14 with making false statements to the FBI about Biden’s connections to the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings Limited, which employed his son Hunter Biden as a member of the board with a monthly salary of $50,000 during his term as vice president.
“During his custodial interview on February 14, Smirnov admitted that officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in passing a story about [Hunter Biden],” wrote special counsel David Weiss in the filing. “Smirnov apparently attended a separate meeting with Russian Official 1, [an] individual who controls groups that are engaged in overseas assassination efforts.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation reports that Smirnov was a confidential human source who provided information that was used to prepare a report, known as an FD-1023, about Joe Biden’s alleged connections to the Burisma business partners of Hunter Biden. That report has previously served as evidence contradictingJoe Biden’s claim that he knew nothing of his son’s business dealings; a notion at the center of an impeachment inquiry against him.
The FD-1023 detailing Smirnov’s claims was released by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa on July 20, 2023, after it was provided to him by government whistleblowers. “[The] indictment confirms several points Senator Grassley has made repeatedly. The informant behind the FD-1023 was, indeed, a long-serving, trusted FBI source used by the agency for criminal investigations since the Obama administration. In fact, he was so trusted that the FBI provided him authorization ‘to engage in illegal activity for investigative purposes’,” a spokesperson for Grassley told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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