Rubio says Trump immunity claims raise a ‘legitimate issue’

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) defended former President Trump’s claims that he is immune from prosecution for actions surrounding the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, saying presidents are under undue political pressure from potential future prosecution.

Trump’s attorneys are set to argue the case before the Supreme Court next month, claiming the former president should not be charged.

“I do think there’s a legitimate issue here that we need to talk about writ large, especially after what we’ve seen in the last three years,” Rubio said Sunday in an ABC “This Week” interview with Jonathan Karl.

“Do we want to live in a country where basically the opponents of the president can kind of extort them, can have leverage over them during their entire presidency and say, ‘Don’t worry, once you’re out of office, we’re going to prosecute you,’ or ‘we’re going to come after you, charge you with this crime or that crime,’” Rubio continued.

“We’re living in a country now, where basically, if you’re president now, you have to think to yourself, ‘I gotta be careful what I do as president,’ not even legal or illegal, even on policy,” he added.

Trump’s attorneys have made similar arguments in their plea for immunity. In a Supreme Court filing last week, they argued immunity would protect the president from “de facto blackmail.”

“A denial of criminal immunity would incapacitate every future President with de facto blackmail and extortion while in office, and condemn him to years of post-office trauma at the hands of political opponents,” the filing reads.

“That bleak scenario would result in a weak and hollow President, and would thus be ruinous for the American political system as a whole. That vital consideration alone resolves the question presented in favor of dismissal of this case,” it continues.

The Florida senator and former Trump primary challenger used the opportunity to blast the other legal cases against Trump as politically motivated, specifically calling out New York Attorney General Letitia James.

“Look at these prosecutions that are coming about. You got this lady, [a] clear partisan in New York, who’s basically prosecuting the president over loans — something that’s never been done to anybody before,” Rubio said. “That’s just one example. They’re trying to bankrupt him, put him in jail.”

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