Rachel Maddow Warns That SCOTUS Trump Immunity Decision Is ‘a Death Squad Ruling’ | Video

Rachel Maddow had a bleak warning for Americans Monday night about the astonishing Supreme Court decision granting U.S. presidents dictatorial power. The opinion presidents have broad legal immunity for “official acts” is “a death squad ruling,” Maddow told fellow MSNBC host Chris Hayes.

In case you missed it, Maddow had joined Hayes on “All In” to discuss Trump v. U.S., the case over Trump’s legal argument that U.S. presidents have total legal immunity even if they were to have their political enemies murdered — and yes, Trump’s legal team literally made that argument on more than one occasion. The right wing SCOTUS majority, all but one of whom were appointed by U.S. presidents who failed to win the popular vote, agreed. The ruling complicates efforts to prosecute Trump for his attempted coup in 2021, and significantly raises the stakes of the 2024 election. Read more about that here and here.

“I remember talking to you about this Chris,” Maddow told Hayes, “the day they chose to take it up. I mean, the decision to take it up itself was so gobsmacking. And I’m generally a glass half empty kind of person. I always see the cloud before I see the silver lining. But even when they took it up, I remember you and I talking about the radicalism of that decision in itself.”

Maddow continued, explaining how every single other court where Trump’s legal team advanced the theory of presidential immunity rejected it swiftly and unanimously. “The bottom line was essentially, Duh, of course, no, a president can’t be immune. So it was gobsmacking when the Supreme Court took it up”

Maddow told Hayes that at the time, “I thought, well, the worst, even under the worst case scenario, it’s not like they’re going to decide that he’s immune. It’s just outrageous that they’ve taken it out, because this will allow for months of delay and will effectively give him temporary immunity before the election, and once the election happens, if he wins, he makes all the prosecutions go away … I really did not expect that they would do this.”

“Donald Trump and his counsel asked for this 100% absolute immunity thing, which was insane. I would say they got 105% of what they were asking for,” Maddow explained. “They got immunity from this court despite some of the language in judge Justice Roberts in the ruling saying that there was some measure of humility or some measure of restraint, the practical impact of what they have done is to give Trump immunity that even he and his counsel did not ask for.”

What’s worse, Maddow continued, is that the ruling comes with the direct context of Trump’s legal argument explicitly including the right to murder political opponents. “I think we have to look at the Supreme Court’s affirmative answer to that yes, you can, with as much seriousness as it deserves.”

“This is a death squad ruling,” Maddow put it bluntly. “This is a ruling that says that as long as you can construe it as an official or quasi-official act, you can do absolutely anything, absolutely anything, and never be held accountable, not only while you are president, but forever. And this is a president who has activated pro-Trump paramilitary groups that you know wear insignia and T-shirts and hold placards celebrating literally right wing death squads. This is a president who has talked about absolutely using the Justice Department to go after his rivals.”

“This explicitly immunizes anything the president wants to do through the Justice Department, but all but explicitly justifies anything the President wants to do full stop to anyone, and that is as serious as it gets,” she said.

Later, Maddow painted an even bleaker picture: “The only solution to this, the only way out of this, is to have non-criminals and non-authoritarian minded, would-be dictators win presidential elections. That is the only way to fix this, because if you have somebody who is a criminal or is authoritarian minded, when they get in there armed with this ruling, there is nothing they cannot do.”

“There’s no fix to this that involves a new argument or a new case,” she reiterated later in the discussion. “The only fix to this is to put someone in the White House, from here on out, who will not abuse the absolutely tyrannical power. They have just been legally granted in perpetuity.”

Watch the whole discussion at the top of the page.

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