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State officials react to Supreme Court Trump immunity ruling

File photo of Trump in Michigan.
Steve Carmody
Michigan Public
File photo of Trump in Michigan.

State and political leaders in Michigan took drastically different viewpoints Monday of a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling that could have a lasting impact on presidential accountability.

The case was over whether federal prosecutors could charge former President Donald Trump for allegedly using his office to further an effort to overturn his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

In its 6-3 ruling, the high court took an expansive view of presidential immunity.

It found Trump was acting within his official power of the presidency while he allegedly urged the Justice Department to pressure key states into awarding him their electoral college votes. The court found Trump had absolute immunity while acting within his official capacity as president.

Michigan is among the states Trump allegedly targeted with a pressure campaign.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, said the Supreme Court decision prevents election officials from feeling secure in doing their jobs in a state where election workers say they've been subject to threats and intimidation.

“It would certainly seem to be a green light for the type of pressure that we experienced in 2020 to escalate in future elections. Which would, again, be antithetical to everything we’re supposed to be in our Democracy,” Benson said Monday.

Federal prosecutors also accused Trump of pressuring former Vice President Mike Pence to “fraudulently alter the election results,” and of sparking his supporters to stage an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, as the election results were set to be certified.

The court’s opinion found Trump may have been acting under the presumption of immunity but sent those issues back to the lower courts to work out.

In a social media post, Michigan Republican Party Chair Pete Hoekstra hailed the decision.

“The left cannot use the justice system to politically prosecute their opponents. Today’s Supreme Court decision was a huge win for President Trump, the Constitution, and the American People,” Hoekstra wrote.

On the platform Telegram, Trump himself weighed in in support of the decision.

“The Supreme Court totally dismantled most of the charges against me,” Trump wrote.

But that’s another reason that Michigan Democrats, including state Attorney General Dana Nessel, said citizens should be wary of the decision.

In a press release, Nessel criticized the court’s decision to block official acts of a president from being admitted as evidence in a trial.

“The majority has bent over backwards to shield former President Donald Trump from an consequences of his crimes,” Nessel’s statement read.

This all occurs as Trump could potentially face prison time after felony convictions in New York and still faces charges in Georgia.

Meanwhile he and Biden are continuing to fight hard for support in Michigan ahead of the upcoming general election—with both candidates making multiple trips to the Great Lakes state this year.