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History As It Happens

Apr 18, 2024

Former President Donald Trump claims he is absolutely immune from criminal charges as he tries to stop Special Counsel Jack Smith from prosecuting him. Trump is to stand trial for attempting to overturn the 2020 election, an effort that culminated in the Jan. 6 riot attack on the U.S. Capitol. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in Trump's immunity claim on April 25. In an amicus brief filed with the court, fifteen founding-era scholars contend there is no historical basis for Trump's claim. In this episode, historians Jack Rakove and Joseph Ellis discuss the founders' fears of unaccountable monarchs and the possible consequences for American democracy should the Supreme Court validate Trump's claim.