Trump argues he can’t be indicted for Jan. 6 because of ‘double jeopardy’

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Former President Donald Trump on Friday floated the unfounded legal theory that he can’t be indicted by federal prosecutors over the Jan. 6 capitol riot because he was already impeached by Congress over the matter. 

The 76-year-old former president made the argument at an America First Policy Institute gala held at his Mar-a-Lago estate on Friday. During his speech, Trump also railed against Attorney General Merrick Garland’s appointment of a special counsel to handle federal investigations into him.  

“I thought this was all done … or very close to being done,” Trump said of the federal probe into him related to Jan. 6.

“I was tried on the fake impeachment hoax on Jan 6, and they tried it in the Senate, they went through the whole process, and we won,” Trump said. 

US Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed, on Friday, a special counsel to run two investigations on Trump.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed, on Friday, a special counsel to run two investigations on Trump.
REUTERS

“We went through the whole process, so wouldn’t this sort of be a — and then you take a look at the other, we went through two of them – and isn’t this sort of like double jeopardy?” the former president floated. 

“In the old days they used to call it double jeopardy,” Trump added. 

Trump’s argument doesn’t appear to pass legal muster. 

The Fifth Amendment’s double jeopardy clause prohibits anyone from being prosecuted twice for the same crime, however, the Constitution explicitly states that impeached individuals  “shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment.”

The former commander-in-chief added that he saw the defeat of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), vice chairwoman of the House Jan. 6 committee, in Wyoming’s Republican primary as the “final nail in the coffin” related to the government’s probe into his actions leading up to the riot at the Capitol building.

Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice-chairwoman for the House Jan. 6 committee was a fierce rival to the former President even before the riots at the Capitol.
Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice-chairwoman for the House Jan. 6 committee was a fierce rival to the former President even before the riots at the Capitol.

A file photo of the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when rioters briefly took over the Capitol building. Many politicians believe Trump is responsible for the events.
A file photo of the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when rioters briefly took over the Capitol building. Many politicians believe Trump is responsible for the events.

Trump said that it appeared the Justice Department appointed special counsel Jack Smith to “start the process all over again,” referring to Smith as “a super radical left special counsel, better referred to as a special prosecutor.” 

Smith, a former federal prosecutor in the Brooklyn and Nashville, Tenn., US Attorney’s offices, as well as a former Manhattan assistant district attorney, has spent the past four years in The Hague as a specialist prosecutor of war crimes related to the war in Kosovo.

Smith has been tasked by Garland to continue the federal investigations into Trump’s actions leading up to Jan. 6 and his handling of presidential documents after his presidency and  determine whether charges should be brought against him or any other parties involved. 

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