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Trump immunity hearing live updates: Trump arrives at court but doesn’t address press

Former U.S. President and Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump arrives for a “Commit to Caucus” rally in Clinton, Iowa, on Jan.6, 2024. (TANNEN MAURY/AFP via Getty Images)

(WASHINGTON) — The Washington, D.C., Court of Appeals will hear arguments today over former President Donald Trump’s efforts to dismiss his federal election interference case based on his claim of presidential immunity.

Trump, who in August pleaded not guilty to charges of undertaking a “criminal scheme” to overturn the results of the 2020 election, is seeking the dismissal of the case on the grounds that he has “absolute immunity” from prosecution for actions taken while serving in the nation’s highest office.

The former president has denied all wrongdoing and denounced the charges as “a persecution of a political opponent.”

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Jan 09, 9:54 AM EST
Prosecuting a president opens ‘Pandora’s box,’ Trump lawyer says

Echoing the words of Donald Trump, his lawyer D. John Sauer told the court that allowing the prosecution of a former president would open a “Pandora’s box.”

“To authorize the prosecution of a president for its official acts would open a Pandora’s box from which this nation may never recover,” Sauer said at the start of his prepared remarks.

“Could George W. Bush be prosecuted for obstruction of an official proceeding for allegedly giving false information to Congress to induce the nation to go to war in Iraq under false pretenses?” Sauer asked. “Can President Obama be potentially charged with murder for allegedly authorizing drone strikes targeting U.S. citizens located abroad?”

In response, Judge Florence Pan asked Sauer if presidential immunity could provide unlimited powers for actions outside a president’s official acts.

“You’re saying a president could sell pardons, could sell military secrets, could order SEAL Team Six to assassinate a political rival?” Pan said, suggesting actions that would not be official acts.

Jan 09, 9:36 AM EST
Hearing is underway

With all participants in place, the hearing has begun.

D. John Sauer, an attorney for Trump, is set to begin arguments on behalf of the former president.

Jan 09, 9:23 AM EST
Trump arrives in court

Donald Trump’s motorcade arrived at the courthouse at 9:15 a.m. ET.

He entered the building through an underground garage and did not make remarks.

Jan 09, 9:08 AM EST
Jack Smith and his legal team arrive in court

Special counsel Jack Smith and his legal team have entered the courtroom for today’s arguments before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Smith is with his top prosecutor in the case, Thomas Windom, as well as Michael Dreeben, a former deputy solicitor general who recently joined Smith’s team to assist in arguing through the appeals process.

Former President Trump has not yet entered the courtroom ahead of the 9:30 a.m. ET hearing.

Jan 09, 6:09 AM EST
Trump plans to attend today’s hearing

Donald Trump plans to attend today’s arguments on his efforts to dismiss his federal election interference case, the former president said in a social media post early Monday.

It will be the first time that Trump appears at the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., since his arraignment on federal election subversion charges in August, when he pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Trump, who is seeking the dismissal of the case based on presidential immunity, wrote on social media, “Of course I was entitled, as President of the United States and Commander in Chief, to Immunity. I wasn’t campaigning, the Election was long over. I was looking for voter fraud.”

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