Most in new survey reject Trump immunity claims

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Over half of Americans believe former President Trump should not be immune from prosecution for alleged crimes committed while he was in office, according to a new poll.

In the survey, published Wednesday by Marquette Law School, 56 percent of participants said they believe Trump should not have immunity from criminal prosecution for his official acts, while 62 percent said the same about “former presidents” in general.

When surveying participants, pollsters pointed to Trump’s immunity claim in special counsel Jack Smith’s case over the former president’s alleged actions during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection. Prosecutors allege Trump was involved in a conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and stood at the center of a campaign to block the certification of votes for President Biden that day.

The former president and his legal team have repeatedly argued his actions leading up to and surrounding the insurrection are protected by presidential immunity.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up the issue, with oral arguments set to begin on April 22 on an expedited schedule. The landmark decision is likely to be handed down by the end of June or sooner.

Americans’ views on Trump’s immunity argument varied across party lines, pollsters noted, with the wide majority of Democrats rejecting the former president’s claim.

About 89 percent of Democrats rejected the immunity argument, while only 4 percent agreed with it and 7 percent said they did not know.

Over half of Republicans — 55 percent — said Trump should be immune from prosecution for official acts, while 27 percent said he should not and 18 percent did not know. Fewer Republicans — about 32 percent — supported the immunity claim in the broader context of “former presidents,” while 49 percent rejected it.

“The striking finding is that Republicans reverse themselves when asked about Trump rather than ‘former presidents,’” Charles Franklin, a professor of law and public policy and the director of the Marquette Law School poll, told CNN.

“One implication is that Republicans are not paying enough attention to Trump’s Supreme Court appeal to realize without prompting that the immunity case is about Trump,” he continued. “Only when the question directly says, ‘This is about Trump’ do they swing sharply, reversing what they would think about ‘former presidents’ in general.”

Independents fell somewhere in the middle between Democrats and Republicans, with 44 percent rejecting the immunity argument for Trump in particular, 11 percent supporting it and 45 percent saying they did not know.

The poll was conducted March 18-28 through interviews with 1,000 adults nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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