CNN anchor presses Trump lawyer on Kagan military coup questioning

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CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins pressed an attorney for former President Trump on a line of questioning by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan in the former president’s presidential immunity case at the Supreme Court Thursday.

“What are the circumstances where ordering a military coup is an official act of the presidency?” Collins said, referring to a back-and-forth between Kagan and Trump lawyer D. John Sauer in which she questioned him on presidential immunity in the case of a president ordering the military to stage a coup.

“When you’re talking about official acts, you don’t look to intent, you don’t look to purpose, you look to their underlying character,” Scharf responded. “So if that were — if that sort of situation were to unfold using the official powers of the president, you could see there being an aspect of officialness to that.”

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The two went back and forth, and Collins later remarked that Sharf was making “a pretty brazen argument, that military coups could potentially be official acts.”

Sharf retorted that the argument is not meant to justify such things, but to define the scope of immunity presidents have been acting in office.

“Just because a military coup or any of these sort of parade of horribles could constitute an official act doesn’t mean that they’re right, doesn’t mean that they would be allowed under a constitutional system and doesn’t mean that we’re in any way shape or form justifying that,” he said. “What we’re talking about here, though, is the scope of immunity that presidents need to be able to rely on to discharge their core article to responsibilities as president.”

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When asked about if a president ordering “the military to stage a coup” is an “official act” by Kagan on Thursday as the Supreme Court held a hearing on Trump’s claims of immunity, Sauer responded that “it could well be.”

On the same day of the Supreme Court hearing, the former president was in court in New York for his hush money case, which began last week. The case marks the first criminal trial of a former American president. He has been charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in relation to reimbursements to his attorney at the time, Michael Cohen, who paid an adult film actor $130,000 prior to the 2016 election to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Trump, which he denies.

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