Should the President be Immune from Prosecution

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    Reb Eliezer

    If asks advice in his presidential duties. like leaving Afghanistan yes, otherwise like creating an insurrection, no.


    The American president is merely the “first servant”. Unlike a monarchy, the “sovereign” is the people, or arguably the states (equivalent, in theory to King Charles in the United Kingdom). The president is the chief civil servant and the chief general. There is no logic is arguing the a servant (i.e. the president) is immune from prosecution if he willfully disobeys orders from his master (i.e. the people, as expressed by law).

    Note that in halacha, a king’s servants who disobey the king have no immunities from prosecution.


    absolutely NO

    Reb Eliezer

    akuperma, I like your reasoning.


    You don’t want the president to be double-checking his decisions – what if I’ll be sued for that? He is delegated certain authorities and he is checked by other branches of government, this should be enough. If Congress wants, they can restore office of independent prosecutor.

    And you would create wrong incentives. Look at Putin – he would probably gladly retire if someone could guarantee him life & liberty after that. So, he has to stay in power.


    there’s a big difference between a president doing what he thinks is within scope of his job responsibilities and that which is not.

    he should not be able to get off murdering someone in the oval office

    he should be able to contest an election that he believes to be unfair

    J6 was not an “insurrection”, and if you think it was, you have been misled by the media.

    Reb Eliezer

    There is a saying that if people say you are drunk, then you should lie down.

    Reb Eliezer

    The rebbi ends up in Gan Eden and the talmidim go to Gehonim.



    please don’t confuse being sued, a civil action (put on hold until Presidential term is over) with prosecution: a criminal charge brought by the government

    Trump was subject to criminal prosecution twice during his term, it’s called impeachment and he was not convicted

    Civil suits, such as the sex charges and defamation that he lost in NY had their statute of limitations clocks stopped until he was out of office

    The question the OP should have asked is whether former Presidents should be immune from prosecution?
    My answer is a resounding no


    I think Trump should be subjected to capital punishment for hurting so many peoples feelings both on twitter and on Jan 6.


    unommin – “J6 was not an “insurrection”, and if you think it was, you have been misled by the media.”
    you, sir, is being misled.
    if you watched january6 on t.v., as I , and millions of others, watched it live (and I have a feeling you never did watch it)
    – it SURE WAS AN INSURRECTION ! you can say black is white and white is black, but the truth is still the truth.



    I think this is such a nuanced question that it needs to be tackled in multiple directions. Firstly is this a moral question or a practical question?

    Morally, I think noone should be prosecuted for a crime that prosecutors look aside and/or are piety. In other words if the only reason they go after the individual is because they are famous and its scores brownies but the crime itself isn’t one they’d normally go after the layman for then its morally wrong. For example, what Shelly Silver a’h went thru. He committed a questionable quid pro quo crime that was very piety and questionable if wrong to begin with. Its vague in nature. Its like they got him right over the red line. Same with Rubashkin and Eisman in Lakewood. As it pertains to Trump, the same should apply. His real estate shtick, classified docs, or the stormy stuff are all things we don’t usually go after laymen for. As it pertains to election interference or insurrection, if he committed those crimes, that’s not piety or silly crimes. It warrants prosecution.

    Just as a side note, (since I brought it up) the punishment for some of these piety crimes are mortally wrong. We seem to have 10 statutes for every little monetary crime so that when convicted these people get the slammer for 25+ years. Meanwhile rapists and murderers get less. There is something very morally wrong when Shelly Silver has to die in prison without family and loved ones nearby while everyone else got out on Covid safety rules or other technicalities. The same is for Rubashkin who would have sat there for another 15 years. For what? What was the crime already? (I forgot it was 20 crimes because it was 20 statutes. Cmon ) Are they so evil. We became so cruel when it comes to money. I think its because we love saying we got the famous rich white guy.

    Back to main topic, The second issue is practically. So if trump is found guilty, how will you jail him? Lets say he wins elections then what? Will you jail a sitting president? what if it invokes dysfuction or some kind violence in the country? I mean say there is a republican congress and trump is sent to prison, they will bring down the country via severe govt shutdowns, and other disobedinece like you never saw before. There also can be cv’s mass shootings and a decay in the streets with Trump crazies. And if trump is found innocent, this will embolden him and make him crazier. Ask yourself if its practical and/ or worth the consequences? Its horrible to say people are above the law but maybe thats just life and its not worth it.



    This thread is about Presidential immunity from prosecution. I will ignore your
    discussion of non-Presidents.

    piety???? did you man petit…means small, pronounced petty as in petit larceny
    felonies are not petit

    as much as I detest Trump, I would not want him imprisoned if convicted of a federal crime

    Gerald Ford did the right thing in pardoning Richard Nixon saving the country from turmoil.

    Trump”s NY convictions should not be shielded by Federal immunity, he committed state crimes and was
    fined, not ordered to jail
    I did not suffer millions in lost taxes and profits as governments and lenders did, but he did beat my brother for over 200k in unpaid invoices when filing bankruptcy for Atlantic City casinos

    please excuse my typos, broken right hand



    Lets not got piety or petty on typos. It doesn’t reflect intellect and its a distraction.
    Re Trump if you don’t want him convicted what’s the point in prosecuting him? In fact it just riles his base and increases the chances of any wins. Do you mean to suggest that you are only for prosecuting Trump financially via fines but not criminally?


    > punishment for some of these piety crimes are mortally wrong.

    Indeed, we learn from the Megilla that an insurrection is punished mortally. Even when they are undocumented Persians speaking in foreign language!


    Chaim, your list of “wrongfully convicted” is scarily long. We live in a country that is way nicer to us than many others we lived in. Their laws are not perfect, but pretty reasonable. Maybe it should be a minhag Yisroel to show our appreciation by staying way to the right of the line between legal and not, so that “unfair” prosecutions do not happen. With so many business opportunities and even availability of “free money”, it is not impossible to choose a path in life that does not create unnecessary risks. If our forefathers were able to stay Jewish under Russian czars and Persian kings without selling out, surely we can make a little effort.


    CTL, refuah shleima. I am happy to hear that you are reasonable here. There is another problem here – criminal/civil charges are inevitably comingled with political ones. Political ones are subject to constant lies from the media. So, inevitably, law is losing respect of people who see the political mud fight. Chaim shows us a good example how people can nullify the legal system this way.



    You bring out a great point. But that doesn’t make our justice system so great. Should we be extra vigilant? 100% That doesn’t negate the fact that the legal system in our country is morally corrupt. You also have not morally disproven my point. You take the legal system for granted as being morally upstanding just because we are in a medina shel chesed. I asy ask yourself it it is moral? I see it all based on which prosecutor scores the most brownies and gains fame. The idea that our democracy is so holy and that you can never say its corrupt, is morally flawed. Ina similar note, its OK for BLM to smash stores on 5th Ave and loot but if you a rich dude and you steal front he govt you get the slammer for 25 years. meanwhile Yankel Rosenbaum’s murders, OJ and Cosby are all out on the streets. This is all very relevant to Trump too. the man is a low life and probably a criminal but who says the prosecutions are all just



    My question about piety and petit was quite serious as I don’t believe in government prosecution based on religious beliefs.

    You misquote me saying I don’t want Trump convicted. I don’t want Trump jailed.
    When he was impeached by the House I wanted him convicted by the Senate (which did not happen) which would have forced him from office.

    I don’t believe a former President should be tried on federal charges for actions while in office (such as Jan 6) which are political in nature.
    That said a President who commits a violent crime such as murder should be subject to criminal prosecution and appropriate punishment.


    Chaim, I do understand that there are cases of unfair prosecution and other injustices. I am just suspicious when a member of a certain group considers most prosecution of his group unfair. What are the chances that every black arrested by police is innocent? same for the Jews …

    This attitude is just creating a license for the group to misbehave further. If we could stay away from helping illegals getting fake documents; keep one set of books; do not commit wire fraud and use welfare programs beyond the bare minimum, those anti-semite will have a hard time building a case against us, right?


    I totally get you. My question was what’s the point in “convicting” Trump when you can’t jail him? Secondly, is you rule only about non violent crimes committed when in office? How about his 2015 crimes now being charged in NY? Or his classified documents which occurred in 2021?

    @ Always_Ask_Questions,
    I think many blacks or prosecuted unfairly and that also must be examined. But that’s a different issue. Blacks do tend to commit more crimes and mass incarceration with overzealous prosecutors is just an altitude of how to deal with it. In the case of rich white powerful people, it’s about prosecutors looking to gain fame via nitpicking and finding gotcha moments. We also more generally have a flawed legal system where if you commit a monetary crime it’s automatically ten statutes for each dollar stolen so that the punishment is so high. We need to fix that too so that it’s one punishment for one crime.

    And no I don’t just say it because Jews got caught. I don’t think SBF or Elizabeth Holmes should not get that much time either.

    Of course Jews should be more careful in golus but it’s easier said than done . In Albany that’s how all legislators make money. It’s a part time job and the other part of tue time it’s about lobbying and meeting special interests. You can’t make a living from simply being a legislator.



    Presidential immunity can/does only apply to Federal action. It has nothing to do with state actions such as brought in NY for violation of state not federal laws. By convention the clock stops on state and civil actions until the President is no longer in office.

    I don’t make rules, I offer personal opinion, such as prosecuting a violent crime such as murder by the President. During term of office the House can indict for high crimes and misdemeanors and the Senate conducts the trial.

    In Trump’s situation, he is fabricating the premise that Presidential immunity runs with his natural life instead of ending with term in office.

    BTW, the classified documents were removed from the White House while in office, it does not matter when they were discovered. Since impeachment can’t occur for someone not in office, only a federal prosecution can occur. Should he go to jail? no, fines and repay costs of retrieval and return of documents? yes…why should taxpayers bear the expense of his misdeeds?

    Regarding your comments about Albany and legislative pay:
    state legislators are supposed to be part-time citizen legislators and not depend on the pay for their entire livelihood. Here in CT the legislature passes a two year budget in the full session. In the short session year no new bills can be introduced from the floor, only committee chairs move necessary legislation to deal with societal change or emergency. Our legislators get 40k per year for this part time work

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