ABC Panics SCOTUS Case Is ‘Absolute’ Win for Trump; ‘Hard to Square’ With Constitution

While CBS and NBC were far more balanced in perspectives and even behaved on Monday morning when it came to Special Reports on the Supreme Court’s Trump immunity case, it was not the case on Disney-run ABC as they kvetched over what they said was an “absolute”, “big”, and “total” win for Trump that was “hard to square” with the Constitution as we know it.

The meltdowns started within minutes of breaking in. Supreme Court reporter Devin Dwyer showed he hadn’t read the full opinion as he told fill-in anchor Whit Johnson the 6-to-3 ruling was “in no short sense, Whit, a big win for Donald Trump” as “[i]t means [more] delay” and “all but impossible” for him to face more criminal charges before Election Day.

“So, as much as many Court observers had hoped that this Court would somehow try to find a decision that would unify their bench and the country, they did not do that here and this is a sharply divided opinion,” he added after giddily quoting the dissent from far-left Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Not quite 15 minutes later, Dwyer returned to hilariously claim that while this marked “a very good day for Donald Trump in terms of the timing of any potential prosecution…the Supreme Court makes clear, by writings by Chief Justice John Roberts, that in no way is this a free pass for Donald Trump” and wrote “at length…what is still fair game” in terms of potential illegalities by a president.

Back to the initial reactions, chief Washington correspondent and three-time anti-Trump author Jonathan Karl seemed to be faux crestfallen (given the chances he’ll be able to make more hay off of Trump) (click “expand”):

KARL: Now, look, this is an absolute win for Donald Trump, not just the substance of the opinion, but also the Court had the option here to make the decision effective immediately or go through a traditional waiting period of 25 days. There is no expedited period. This effectively grants Donald Trump blanket immunity because it makes it – it seems to me now – impossible for a trial to go forward, either in the classified documents case, because this is this is also at stake there and the January 6 case and I think when you look at the dissenting opinion – Devin read part of it. This line stands out to me, says the decision, “makes a mockery of the principle foundational to our constitution and system of government that no man is above the law.” Now, look, this decision doesn’t say that what Trump did – to – to – in his effort to overturn the election is covered by – by this immunity. But it would take time. It’s going to take time that simply isn’t there and you have an election coming up and you have – Donald Trump has made it abundantly clear that if he wins this election, this case goes away.

JOHNSON: And the timing is so key here. And I do want to put that graphic back up on the screen. We were listing out the various charges because now the special counsel would have to take another look at all of this. That’s the graphic there. The Trump criminal trials and the charges there.

Senior congressional correspondent Rachel Scott was also hyperbolic, bemoaning “[t]here is no question…this is big for Donald Trump because time is something that his campaign, that the former President deeply worried about.”

Karl, like Dwyer, tweaked his tune a few minutes later. After emphasizing his gripe about Monday’s ruling as “an absolute total victory for Donald Trump in the legal sense,” he correctly noted “this the Court does not affirm what Trump has been saying on the campaign trail” in demanding “absolute immunity for anything”.

Senior White House correspondent Selina Wang parroted Team Biden’s spin, eagerly boasting the ruling “underscores the core theme of President Biden’s reelection” with Trump being “a threat to democracy, someone who is obsessed with power”, and “wants the power of a king or a monarch to have an absolute power without accountability.”

Legal analyst Kate Shaw – wife of MSNBC host Christ Hayes – naturally sounded the most worried. She told Johnson that the split ruling (as opposed to opening presidents up to constant and frivolous allegations and suits) was “hard to square with previous constitutional decisions” and “a very big win for former President Trump, recognizing for the first time this sort of immunity of ex-presidents from criminal prosecution” even though it’s “not for everything they do.”

She added the ruling delineating official acts being protected and others being dubious to not protected was “an enormous addition of new powers and protections to the President in a way we just haven’t seen before, so I think the dissent is quite right to say this is a seismic opinion.”

Before signing off, Karl touted as though it were fact the apocalyptic and wildly false claim from Sotomayor’s dissent that Trump (and any future president) could kill Americans without impunity using Navy SEAL Team Six (click “expand”):

JOHNSON: Let’s go back to Jon Karl here again as we’re reading more of this decision, we have the political implications here as well. And you were referencing a specific incident that’s getting a lot of attention.

KARL: You remember when the argument came before the Court that – this example was given about SEAL Team Six. If a President ordered SEAL Team Six to assassinate a political opponent, would that be immune? And Trump’s lawyers said yes, it would be, unless the President was first impeached and then –and then tried. So, it’s interesting to read the dissent here. Again, Sotomayor writing the dissent, saying “the President of the United States is the most powerful person in the country and possibly the world When he uses his official powers in any way under the majority’s reasoning, he is now insulated from criminal prosecution.” And then, she goes through examples orders. “The Navy SEAL Team Six to assassinate a political rival? Immune. Organizes a military coup to hold on to power? Immune. Takes a bribe in exchange for a pardon? Immune, immune, immune.” That’s how Sotomayor sees the implications of this decision.

JOHNSON: And again, that decision along ideological lines there with the, you know, the three liberal justices, you know, teaming together and the six conservative justices with that decision.

Johnson and Scott wrapped up, fretting this was yet another example of a win for Trump in what’s been “a good couple of weeks” for him, but it could all come crashing down when he’s sentenced July 11.

To see the relevant ABC transcript from July 1, click here.

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