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Trump’s Boldest Argument Yet: Immunity From Prosecution for Assassinations

Eight years ago, just before the Iowa caucuses, Donald J. Trump crowed about his invulnerability.

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?” he said. “It’s, like, incredible.”

On Tuesday, at a federal appeals court argument held the week before this year’s caucuses, a lawyer for Mr. Trump said that the Constitution basically states the same thing.

It took a few questions from Judge Florence Y. Pan to pin down the lawyer, D. John Sauer. But in the end he made the jaw-dropping claim that former presidents are absolutely immune from prosecution even for murders they ordered while in office.

“I asked you a yes-or-no question,” Judge Pan said. “Could a president who ordered SEAL Team 6 to assassinate a political rival, who was not impeached, would he be subject to criminal prosecution?”

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