Neal Katyal Comments Special Counsel Jack Smith for Challenging Trump’s Immunity Claims

Jack Smith
Photo: Robin Van Lonkhuijsen/AFP via Getty Images

Neal Katyal, who previously served as the acting solicitor general, recently lauded Special Counsel Jack Smith for his compelling legal argument that effectively challenged former President Donald Trump’s assertions of absolute immunity from criminal prosecution. During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Last Word,” Katyal delved into the intricacies of Smith’s latest submission to the Supreme Court, which was aimed at refuting Trump’s claims of immunity.

“I think he did a very good job of taking Trump’s best argument and using it against him,” Katyal said.

The crux of the issue revolved around Trump’s legal team’s assertion that there was a contradiction in Smith’s stance. They argued that Smith was sending mixed messages by suggesting that the Supreme Court did not need to consider the immunity argument, despite having previously requested that the Court bypass the D.C. Court of Appeals to expedite the hearing of the case earlier in the year.

Katyal’s endorsement of Smith’s filing highlights the significant legal challenges Trump faces, particularly about his claims of being immune to criminal prosecution. The discussion on MSNBC brought to light the complexities and legal maneuvers involved in this high-stakes legal battle, with Smith’s response to Trump’s immunity claims being a focal point of scrutiny and analysis.

This legal contention underscores the ongoing tug-of-war in the courts over the extent of presidential immunity, especially as it pertains to actions taken while in office. The debate over Trump’s immunity claims and the special counsel’s rebuttal represents a critical juncture in the broader investigation into the former president’s conduct, signaling a pivotal moment that could have far-reaching implications for the understanding of presidential powers and accountability in the United States.

Katyal said that Smith’s retort was masterful in answering Trump’s arguments.

“What Smith said is basically, ‘No way.'” he said. “The way the Supreme Court operates is they consider themselves a court of review, not a first view; that is to say, they like legal issues to percolate in the lower courts and get ventilated between the different judges before the U.S. Supreme Court gets involved.”

“And what Smith said is, ‘That’s what’s happened now. You had this unanimous decision in the Court of Appeals, our nation’s second-highest court, and on that panel of judges was a diverse group of judges. It wasn’t just liberal judges, it was one very prominent conservative judge as well,” he elaborated. “Everyone agreed Trump’s claim was bogus. So you don’t need the Supreme Court to rule.”

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