US Supreme Court considers Trump immunity

The US Supreme Court has heard arguments over whether former President Donald Trump can be prosecuted for actions he took while in office. They held the hearings on Thursday.

Trump claims he is immune from prosecution on charges of trying to subvert the 2020 election. Lower courts dismissed his arguments, which led him to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Trump refused to accept his loss to President Joe Biden, and in a speech on January 6, 2021, he told his supporters to "fight like hell." Thousands of them then stormed the Capitol.

Trump is accused of conspiracy to "overturn the legitimate results" of the election. He was expected to face a trial in a federal court in March. However, prosecutors had to put the case on hold to await the justices' decision on immunity.

Appearing before the court, Trump's lawyer D. John Sauer said, "If a president can be charged, put on trial and imprisoned for his most controversial decisions as soon as he leaves office, that looming threat will distort the president's decision-making, precisely when bold and fearless action is most needed."

The justices have suggested they are skeptical of giving a president "absolute immunity." Still, they worry about the lack of any protection. Justice Brett Kavanaugh said the case has "huge implications for the presidency, for the future of the country."

The justices usually issue their last batch of opinions around the end of June. US media say that could make it difficult to complete a trial on the case before the presidential election in November.