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February 7, 2024

Trump Denied Presidential Immunity in Election Interference

Ask students: What actions by former president Donald Trump are at the center of legal action against him? Why do Trump's lawyers argue that he should be immune from criminal charges for his actions while president?

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A federal appeals court in Washington rejected former president Donald Trump's claims of presidential immunity for actions he took to remain in office after the 2020 election. It clears the way for his federal trial on conspiracy and obstruction charges to move forward, but Trump is expected to appeal the ruling.

For a transcript of this story, click here.

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Discussion Questions

  1. What actions by former president Donald Trump are at the center of legal action against him?
  2. Why do Trump's lawyers argue that he should be immune from criminal charges for his actions while president?
  3. Where is the appeals court that issued the ruling described in this story?
  4. How did the appeals court rule?
  5. Who will likely hear Trump's argument next?

Focus Questions

Do you think presidents should have legal immunity for actions taken in office? What are some pros and cons of extending legal protections to presidents?

Media literacy: Examine the following chart on public opinion around Trump's claims of immunity. What does this chart tell you about public opinion? What does it suggest about Trump's legal problems and the 2024 election? What else would other questions would you like to ask those who participated in this poll?

poll chart

Extension Activity

Watch the following Crash Course video produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios and discuss — what are appeals courts, and why do they exist? Why is the appeals court in this story hearing this case even though it hasn't gone to trial yet?

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Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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