Mitch McConnell Disagrees With Trump on Presidential Immunity

Senate leader discusses judicial limits on presidential powers

by Zain ul Abedin
Mitch McConnell Disagrees With Trump on Presidential Immunity
© Andrew Harnik/Getty Images

As the U.S. Supreme Court contemplates whether former President Donald Trump can claim immunity from prosecution for his actions while in office, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has voiced his dissent. In a recent interview scheduled to air on NBC's "Meet the Press," McConnell articulated his opposition to the notion that presidents possess absolute immunity.

Speaking with the show's moderator, Kristen Welker, McConnell was asked about his stance on presidential immunity, particularly in light of his comments following the January 6 impeachment trial. In 2021, after voting to acquit Trump, McConnell had stated that former presidents are not beyond the reach of the judiciary.

Welker probed further, referencing the current Supreme Court case where Trump's lawyers argue for broad presidential immunity. McConnell responded ambiguously, highlighting the Court's role in resolving these complex legal questions.

"We're going to find out, aren't we? The Supreme Court is addressing that exact issue, and I think we'll hear their decision soon," he noted.

McConnell's Firm Stance

McConnell clarified his position on whether he endorsed such extensive presidential immunity.

"Obviously, I don't think that presidents should have absolute immunity. They require some level of protection, or they’d be embroiled in litigation constantly. But ultimately, it's not for me to decide. We'll see how the Supreme Court handles it," McConnell remarked.

Despite repeated questions for clarity from Welker, McConnell repeatedly deferred to the Supreme Court, emphasizing its responsibility in making the final judgment. He reiterated his belief that former presidents could be held accountable but reminded viewers that his opinion does not dictate the Court's decision.

McConnell's comments come at a critical time as Trump faces a criminal trial in Washington, D.C., for his involvement in the January 6 insurrection. The trial is paused, and we are awaiting the Supreme Court's verdict, which may not arrive until July.

McConnell's stance underscores a significant departure from Trump's legal arguments, highlighting ongoing Republican divisions over the extent of presidential powers and accountability.