Inside Donald Trump and Speaker Johnson’s mutually beneficial relationship

Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., was in New York for various events when he reached out to former President Trump to inform him he would be at the Manhattan courthouse, where Trump's criminal trial was taking place the very next morning.

Johnson made the decision himself and contacted Trump directly, a source close to the speaker told Fox News Digital. Multiple people said he rode with Trump in his motorcade on Tuesday morning.

"I came here… today on my own to support President Trump because I am one of hundreds of millions of people and one citizen who is deeply concerned about this, so I’m glad to be here," he told reporters afterward.

Johnson was the highest-ranking federal lawmaker to show up at Trump’s criminal proceedings so far – a public symbol of the staunch alliance the two have built since Johnson became speaker after a tumultuous series of events in October.

SPEAKER JOHNSON RIPS 'ATROCITIES' AGAINST TRUMP AT MANHATTAN HUSH MONEY TRIAL

Multiple people close to Trump and Johnson told Fox News Digital that they speak frequently, with one GOP lawmaker estimating they talk "at least weekly" but added "it depends on the issue."

The source close to Johnson told Fox News Digital that the speaker keeps Trump in the loop on the major moves being made in the House of Representatives.

Those same allies stressed that the relationship, a close one for an elected congressional leader and their party’s presumptive presidential nominee, is positive for both the House and the GOP as a whole.

"It helps both sides. It helps the House, but it also helps the party, because you're coming in from two different directions at the same general goal," Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., who previously served in Trump’s Cabinet, told Fox News Digital.

Zinke said Trump and Johnson have a very good working relationship, arguing their "uniquely different" personalities make for a good match.

SPEAKER JOHNSON TO ATTEND TRUMP TRIAL IN MANHATTAN IN SHOW OF SUPPORT

"I think they both understand that unity of effort is required, and it has to be a cordial relationship… I think there's a realization that if we hold the House, that would be an imperative for the America First agenda," Zinke said. "You have a 100% New Yorker with high elbows and a lot of bravado. And then you have a Louisiana son of a firefighter that is kind and low-key. So maybe it's a good match."

Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Pa., told Fox News Digital, "President Trump, behind the scenes and in public, speaks well of [Johnson]. I think, like a lot of people, he trusts him."

Meuser added, "[Trump] thinks he could probably improve in certain areas. As I’ve said, some of those bills, I just think we should have fought harder for. But I think they really have a special relationship."

Indeed, Trump has exercised his powerful influence to help Johnson out of legislative jams before – like expressing public support against GOP rebels’ threats to oust the speaker from leadership, and showing tacit support for Johnson’s plan on foreign aid.

Johnson, for his part, has vehemently defended Trump amid his criminal trials and even recently floated defunding Special Counsel Jack Smith. 

TRUMP REBUKES MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE'S FAILED ATTEMPT TO OUST SPEAKER: 'NOT THE TIME'

That support extends behind closed doors as well – Johnson touted Trump’s poll numbers in critical swing states during a members-only House GOP Conference meeting on Wednesday morning, multiple people said.

And while he was not the first House GOP leader to endorse Trump’s re-election, his decision to do so was swift and, like much of Johnson’s political calculus surrounding the ex-president, appears to have been a unilateral decision.

Ahead of his November CNBC interview when Johnson made news by endorsing Trump, the source close to him recalled it was suggested that the speaker wait until his political team could put together a formal rollout. 

But Johnson argued that it made no sense to wait because he already supported the ex-president’s re-election, the source said, and then caught staff off guard when he told "Squawk Box," "I'm all in for President Trump."

Multiple lawmakers categorized Trump and Johnson's relationship as a productive but working one – the GOP lawmaker who spoke with Fox News Digital said they started out at "nearly zero" – but the source pushed back, citing a recent interview in The Atlantic where Johnson said Trump called him the day after Johnson had to abruptly leave a meeting because his sons had almost drowned.

JOHNSON WARNED AGAINST MAKING 'SIDE DEALS' WITH GOP REBELS: DON'T 'GREASE A SQUEAKY WHEEL'

"President Trump heard about it somehow – miraculously, this never made the news," Johnson had said. "He was just so moved by the idea that we almost lost them… and we talked about the faith aspect of that, because he knows that I believe that, you know – that God spared the lives of my sons. That’s how I understand those events, and we talked about that."

Trump also had a good relationship with Johnson when the latter was part of Trump’s impeachment defense team in 2020, the source said.

Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, another staunch Trump ally, told Fox News Digital, "I think it's a healthy relationship. I think they both respect each other. And they don't always agree, but who does? But you know, I think that they’ve got a relationship where they can get together in person or get on the phone and talk about stuff and come up with a common plan, a common strategy."

Rep. Andy Barr, of Kentucky, another Republican close to both, said their relationship was "very beneficial" to both sides.

"A lot of credit [goes] to both gentlemen for recognizing that they need each other. We need to collaborate and not just politically, but we want to have an effective first 100 days. We want to grow our majority, take back the White House and flip the Senate, and we want to be ready day one," Barr said.

Fox News Digital reached out to the Trump campaign for comment.

Liz Cheney joins old foe Trump in public slam of Biden’s latest move in Israel: ‘Wrong and dangerous’

Former Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney has found common ground with former President Trump, who she previously voted to impeach, as they both oppose President Biden’s latest move in Israel.

On Wednesday, the anti-Trump Republican said withholding aid from America’s closest ally in the Middle East "wrong and dangerous." The comment came just hours apart from Trump tweeting that Biden was helping the Hamas terror group and "taking the side of these terrorists."

"Withholding aid to Israel is wrong and dangerous. America must not abandon Israel. Doing so would mean victory for Iran and all its terrorist allies," she wrote.

Both Republicans chided Biden after he vowed to withhold weapons from Israel if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes forward with an invasion of Rafah, the last stronghold for Hamas in Gaza.

TRUMP RESPONDS TO JUDGE WHO THREATENED TO TOSS HIM IN JAIL OVER GAG ORDER: 'GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH'

Cheney’s public criticism of Biden comes amid his re-election rematch with Trump, who has called Biden "weak" and said his foreign policies were "leading the world straight into World War III."

In Trump’s own post, he reminded Biden about Hamas’ terror attack on Israeli border communities on Oct. 7, when 1,200 people were killed, making it the deadliest terror attack in Israel’s history.

BIDEN VOWS TO WITHHOLD WEAPONS FROM ISRAEL IF NETANYAHU GOES FORWARD WITH RAFAH INVASION

"Crooked Joe Biden, whether he knows it or not, just said he will withhold weapons from Israel as they fight to eradicate Hamas Terrorists in Gaza. Hamas murdered thousands of innocent civilians, including babies, and are still holding Americans hostage, if the hostages are still alive," Trump wrote. "Yet Crooked Joe is taking the side of these terrorists, just like he has sided with the Radical Mobs taking over our college campuses, because his donors are funding them."

He added: "Biden is weak, corrupt, and leading the world straight into World War III. Remember - this war in Israel, just like the war in Ukraine, would have NEVER started if I was in the White House. But very soon, we will be back, and once again demanding peace through strength!"

WITH CHENEY OUT, TRUMP HAS PURGED MOST PRO-IMPEACHMENT HOUSE REPUBLICANS FROM GOP

Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was an ally of Trump's at times when he was in office and ascended to chair of the House Republican Conference.

She then vehemently opposed him after Biden defeated Trump in the 2020 election. She further angered Republicans when she joined the Jan. 6 House Select Committee that investigated the events surrounding the 2021 Capitol riot.

Upon the Jan. 6 committee, Cheney recommended and ultimately voted to impeach Trump.

As a result, she was defeated in a landslide in her GOP primary race for Wyoming's at-large congressional seat in 2022.

Trump attorney, Supreme Court justice clash on whether a president who ‘ordered’ a ‘coup’ could be prosecuted

An attorney for former President Donald Trump in the presidential immunity hearing clashed with Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan over a hypothetical question on whether a president who "ordered" a "coup" could be prosecuted. 

"If it's an official act, there needs to be impeachment and conviction beforehand," Trump's attorney John Sauer argued Thursday before the Supreme Court, which is being broadcast publicly via audio only. 

Sauer's statement was in response to Justice Elena Kagan's hypothetical question, asking if a president who is no longer in office directing the military to stage a coup would constitute an "official act."

"He's no longer president. He wasn't impeached. He couldn't be impeached. But he ordered the military to stage a coup. And you're saying that's an official act?," Kagan asked.

LIVE UPDATES: TRUMP NY TRIAL TESTIMONY RESUMES AS SUPREME COURT HEARS IMMUNITY ARGUMENTS

"I think it would depend on the circumstances, whether it was an official act. If it were an official act, again, he would have to be impeached," Sauer responded. 

"What does that mean? Depend on the circumstances? He was the president. He is the commander in chief. He talks to his generals all the time. And he told the generals, 'I don't feel like leaving office. I want to stage a coup.' Is that immune [from prosecution]?" Kagan pressed.

SUPREME COURT TO HEAR ARGUMENTS IN TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL IMMUNITY CASE

Sauer responded it would "depend on the circumstances of whether there was an official act" if the hypothetical president would be immune from prosecution. 

"That answer sounds to me as though it's like, 'Yeah, under my test it's an official act.' But that sure sounds bad, doesn't it?" Kagan said.

TRUMP SAYS NY JUDGE MERCHAN 'THINKS HE IS ABOVE THE SUPREME COURT' AFTER BARRING HIM FROM IMMUNITY ARGUMENTS

"That's why the framers have a whole series of structural checks that have successfully, for the last 234 years, prevented that very kind of extreme hypothetical. And that is the wisdom of the framers. What they viewed as the risk that needed to be guarded against was not the notion that the president might escape, you know, a criminal prosecution for something, you know, sort of very, very unlikely in these unlikely scenarios," Sauer responded.

"The framers did not put an immunity clause into the Constitution. They knew how there were immunity clauses in some state constitutions. They knew how to give legislative immunity. They didn't provide immunity to the president. And, you know, not so surprising. They were reacting against a monarch who claimed to be above the law. Wasn't the whole point that the president was not a monarch and the president was not supposed to be above the law," Kagan said. 

The back and forth came as the Supreme Court weighs whether Trump is immune from prosecution in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s election interference case. Smith’s case is currently on pause until the Supreme Court issues a ruling. The case charged Trump with conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights. The case stems from Jan. 6, 2021, when supporters of Trump breached the U.S. Capitol. 

TRUMP SLAMS 'BIDENOMICS' AHEAD OF COURT, CLAIMS TO HAVE A 'GOOD CHANCE' OF WINNING LIBERAL STATE

Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges in August, and called on the Supreme Court to weigh whether a former president can be prosecuted for "official acts," as the Trump legal team argues. 

The Supreme Court is expected to reach a resolution on whether Trump is immune from prosecution by mid-June. 

Trump is also part of an ongoing trial in New York City where he is accused of 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. He pleaded not guilty to each charge. The trial prevented Trump from attending the Supreme Court hearing Thursday. 

BIDEN INSISTS RED STATE WON TWICE BY TRUMP IS SUDDENLY 'IN PLAY'

The NY v. Trump case focuses on Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen paying former pornographic actor Stormy Daniels $130,000 to allegedly quiet her claims of an alleged extramarital affair she had with the then-real estate tycoon in 2006. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels. 

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Prosecutors allege that the Trump Organization reimbursed Cohen, and fraudulently logged the payments as legal expenses. Prosecutors are working to prove that Trump falsified records with an intent to commit or conceal a second crime, which is a felony.  Prosecutors this week said the second crime was a violation of a New York law called "conspiracy to promote or prevent election."

Fox News Digital’s Brooke Singman contributed to this report. 

The anti-Trump movement’s secret Zoom calls give their target ammo

At first glance, it might seem like inside baseball.

A bunch of former prosecutors and cable pundits talking to each other about how much they don’t like Donald Trump and how he’s in deep legal trouble? Doesn’t that happen every day in green rooms and the corner bar?

But this, as disclosed by Politico, is different. These are some of the most prominent commentators in the media universe, and they appear to be consulting/coordinating/conspiring about their main target.

DAVID PECKER CALMLY LINKS TRUMP, MICHAEL COHEN TO SUPPRESSING STORIES, PUSHING FAKE NEWS

Even if that’s not the case, it looks awful.

It plays into the hands of conservatives who back Trump that the media are part of the resistance, determined to bring him down at all costs.

They can now say that it is a cabal, confirming all their darkest suspicions about the press determined to bring him down.

Every Friday, these media hotshots join in a secret, off-the-record Zoom call.

In a high-road description, the piece says the goal is to "intellectually stress-test the arguments facing Trump on his journey through the American legal system." But a beat later it says, "most are united by their dislike of Trump."

The origins of the group are telling, beginning during the Jan. 6 hearings, when committee staffers began briefing legal commentators on their work. I can think of classified military matters that haven’t remained secret as long.

TRUMP BLASTS JUDGE AFTER BARRING HIM FROM ATTENDING IMMUNITY ARGUMENTS

Who’s doing the zooming? Norman Eisen, an Obama administration official who worked with House Democrats on Trump’s first impeachment and is a CNN legal analyst, is the founder. 

He’s joined by Bill Kristol, a leader of the anti-Trump conservatives; longtime Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe; Watergate figure John Dean; and George Conway, ex-husband of Kellyanne, co-founder of the Lincoln Project and a fixture on MSNBC. 

AT A TURNING POINT? COLUMBIA ARRESTS AND ANTI-JEWISH HARASSMENT SHUT DOWN CAMPUS

That’s just the beginning. There is MSNBC analyst Andrew Weissman, who investigated the fruitless Russian collusion accusations against Trump as a prosecutor for Bob Mueller; why would anyone doubt his objectivity?

There are CNN legal analysts Jeffrey Toobin, Elliott Williams and Karen Agnifilo, along with L.A. Times columnist Harry Litman. And there’s Mary McCord, a former DOJ official who co-hosts an MSNBC podcast. 

Sometimes there are guests, which is also revealing. After Trump was held liable in E. Jean Carroll’s first defamation and sexual assault suit, her attorney, Roberta Kaplan, addressed the group. And, says Politico, former conservative judge J. Michael Luttig, who spearheaded a campaign to kick Trump off state ballots under the 14th Amendment, was another guest. The Supreme Court rejected the anti-democratic move.

Despite efforts to rationalize this as a meeting-of-great-minds exercise, I’m not buying it. Even Politico concedes the calls could "breed groupthink" – what a shocking thought.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

And cable news drives plenty of other coverage, particularly when certain themes are constantly pounded.

All these folks are smart enough to think for themselves. Which makes it surprising that they lack the common sense to see how troubling the Zooming looks.

Vulnerable Dem who demanded ‘fair’ Trump Senate trial changes tune on Mayorkas impeachment

Longtime Democratic Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey voted to kill the impeachment trial of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas last week, but has a long track record of supporting impeachment proceedings when former President Trump was in the hot seat with Democrats. 

The Senate voted against two articles of impeachment Mayorkas faced last week, including one that charged Mayorkas with "willful and systemic refusal to comply" regarding immigration law, and a second article that charged him with a "breach of trust" after saying the border was secure. The Senate voted 51-48 and 51-49 against the articles. 

The votes were largely along party lines, with Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska serving as the only Republican who voted "present" when asked about dismissing the first article, and voted against dismissing the second article. 

Republicans were pushing for a trial of Mayorkas for "willfully" refusing to enforce immigration laws, while millions of illegal immigrants have poured across the border into the U.S. since he was sworn in as the Biden administration’s secretary of Homeland Security in 2021. 

GOP PREPS ATTACKS ON VULNERABLE DEM SENATORS OVER MAYORKAS IMPEACHMENT TRIAL DISMISSAL

Casey was among the Democrats who voted to kill the impeachment trial of Mayorkas, but had largely been tight-lipped ahead of the vote. Fox News Digital reported last week ahead of the Senate vote that Casey had not yet revealed his plans, while Politico reported on April 10 that Casey "did not directly answer a question on whether or not he’d support a motion to dismiss the trial."

He did tell the outlet at the time that "the Senate should be spending time passing the bipartisan border deal" and that he has "no doubt at all" that Republicans would use the impeachment trial against him and other vulnerable Senate Democrats ahead of the election. 

Senate Democrats quashing impeachment proceedings against Mayorkas was historically significant, as he is still serving in his role in public office. It marks a first for an impeachment trial to be dismissed, tabled or effectively tossed without the accused official first exiting their role, Fox Digital previously reported. 

"The Senate has no constitutional authority to rule that the articles approved by the House do not state impeachable offenses," Andrew McCarthy, a former chief assistant United States attorney in the Southern District of New York and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, said last week. 

McCarthy added that the House has the sole power to determine impeachable offenses, and the Senate deeming the articles of impeachment unconstitutional and killing the potential trial, "essentially nullifies the House’s important role in the impeachment process." 

REPUBLICANS PREDICT DEMS TO PAY 'HEAVY PRICE' IN ELECTION AFTER MAYORKAS IMPEACHMENT BID FAILS

The Senate voting against carrying through with the trial of Mayorkas comes after Casey repeatedly publicly supported impeachment proceedings against Trump when he was president.

"There can be no justice without accountability for those involved in the insurrection against the federal government. As a Nation, we cannot advance our shared democratic values without consequences for those who have betrayed those values. Those who stormed the Capitol should face charges. President Trump should be impeached and removed from office because he betrayed his oath to the Constitution and incited a mob to violence," Casey said in 2021, following protesters breaching the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 of that year. 

‘CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY’ OF SENATE DEMS QUASHING MAYORKAS IMPEACHMENT TRIAL QUESTIONED BY EXPERTS

In 2020, when Democrats accused Trump of soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election, Casey said, "Americans deserve a fair trial" when touting articles of impeachment against the 45th president. 

"Soon the Senate will take a critical vote on whether we should hear from relevant witnesses like John Bolton. Americans deserve a fair trial. Anything less is a cover-up," he said on X at the time.

That same month, he also called for "answers, under oath, in full view of the American people," as part of Trump’s first impeachment.

He added in 2019 of the Trump impeachment that failing to pursue proceedings against Trump would be "an insult to our Constitution and to our values."

PENNSYLVANIA POLICE SLAM LONGTIME DEM SEN. CASEY 'ALIGNING' HIMSELF WITH DEFUND THE POLICE GROUP: 'DANGEROUS'

"Our Constitution indicates that impeachment is for ‘treason, bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.’ A failure by Congress to pursue impeachment in the face of grave offenses by the President is an insult to our Constitution and to our values."

Trump was ultimately impeached twice, an historical first for a president, and acquitted on all counts by the Senate. 

Casey has served in the Senate since 2007, and is anticipated to have one of the most closely watched elections this year as he gears up for a campaign against anticipated Republican challenger Dave McCormick. Pennsylvania holds its primaries Tuesday, which will solidify the expected race between Casey and McCormick

REPUBLICAN DAVE MCCORMICK LAUNCHES BID FOR VULNERABLE SENATE SEAT IN BATTLEGROUND STATE

The Pennsylvania Democrat and fellow vulnerable Senate members have now come under greater focus from the Republican Party following the Mayorkas vote, including the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) previously telling Fox Digital that their votes against proceeding with the trial will become a focal point of election season. 

"Joe Biden’s wide open border is going to be a top issue for voters headed into November," NRSC spokesperson Maggie Abboud told Fox News Digital in a statement last week. 

BATTLEGROUND STATE DEM DISTANCES HIMSELF FROM DEFUND MOVEMENT, BUT POLITICAL RECORD SHOWS DIFFERENT STORY

"You can bet we are going to highlight Senate Democrats’ refusal to hold Joe Biden’s DHS Secretary accountable on the campaign trail, in advertising, and in every other way possible," she continued. 

Fox News Digital reached out to the Casey campaign for comment on the Mayorkas vote and his previous remarks on Trump’s impeachment proceedings, and were directed to the Senate office. The Senate office did not immediately respond to the inquiry.  

"Together, Casey, Biden and Mayorkas have enabled drug cartels to flood Pennsylvania communities with deadly drugs like fentanyl," Elizabeth Gregory, a spokesperson for McCormick, said last week.

Immigration has become a top concern for voters ahead of November, alongside other concerns such as inflation, the economy and crime. Nearly 7.3 million migrants entered the U.S. between President Biden taking office and February 2024, a Fox News Digital analysis previously reported. The figure is more than the population of 36 individual states. 

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

Fox News Digital's Julia Johnson contributed to this report. 

Supreme Court prepares to debate Trump immunity claim in election interference case

In what may be the most closely watched case this term at the Supreme Court – involving the highest-profile appellant – former President Donald Trump has offered a sweeping argument for why he should not face trial for alleged election interference.

The high court will hold arguments Thursday morning in what could determine the former president's personal and political future. As the presumptive GOP nominee to retake the White House, Trump is betting that his constitutional assertions will lead to a legal reprieve from the court's 6-3 conservative majority – with three of its members appointed to the bench by the defendant himself.  

The official question the justices will consider: Whether, and if so, to what extent does a former president enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office?

This is new territory for the Supreme Court and the nation. No current or former president has ever been criminally indicted.

The stakes could not be higher – both for the immediate election prospects, and the long-term effect on the presidency itself and the rule of law. But it will be the second time this term the high court will hear a case directly involving the former president. 

TRUMP HUSH MONEY TRIAL ENTERS DAY 2

On March 4, the justices unanimously ruled that Trump could remain on the Colorado primary ballot over claims he committed insurrection in the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riots.

The decision to intervene at this stage in the immunity dispute is a mixed bag for both Trump and the Special Counsel. The defendant wanted to delay the process longer – ideally past the November election – and Jack Smith wanted the high court appeal dismissed immediately so any trial could get back on track quickly. 

A federal appeals court had unanimously ruled against Trump on the immunity question.

"For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant," the three-judge panel wrote. "But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution." 

Smith has charged the former president with conspiracy to defraud the U.S.; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights. 

Those charges stemmed from Smith's investigation into Trump's alleged plotting to overturn the 2020 election result, including participation in a scheme to disrupt the electoral vote count leading to the subsequent Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot.

Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges in August.

In its brief on the merits submitted this month, the Special Counsel told the high court that "presidents are not above the law."

"The Framers never endorsed criminal immunity for a former President, and all Presidents from the Founding to the modern era have known that after leaving office they faced potential criminal liability for official acts," said the government. 

But Trump's legal team told the high court, "A denial of criminal immunity would incapacitate every future President with de facto blackmail and extortion while in office, and condemn him to years of post-office trauma at the hands of political opponents."

His lawyers added: "The threat of future prosecution and imprisonment would become a political cudgel to influence the most sensitive and controversial Presidential decisions, taking away the strength, authority, and decisiveness of the Presidency."

In a series of supporting briefs, 19 GOP-controlled states and more than two dozen Republican members of Congress are among those backing Trump's legal positions.

Some of the issues the court will have to consider:

Can a former president ever be prosecuted for "official acts," or does he enjoy "absolute immunity?"

By including the words "whether and to what extent" in its official question framing the case, the Supreme Court – in the eyes of many legal scholars – may be prepared to limit or narrow "absolute immunity," at least in this case.

But court precedent may give Trump some protection – that former presidents should not face civil liability "predicated on his official acts" (Fitzgerald v. Nixon, 1982). Trump, of course, is facing criminal charges brought by the government. The question remains: Will the court now extend any implied civil protection to a criminal prosecution? 

What constitutes an official act of a president? Will the court distinguish between Trump's alleged election interference as clearly acting in his executive capacity, or was he acting in a purely political or personal capacity as an incumbent candidate? 

A federal appeals court that rejected Trump's arguments in a separate civil lawsuit alleging that he incited the violent Capitol mob with his "Stop the Steal" rally remarks on Jan. 6, 2021 concluded that "his campaign to win re-election is not an official presidential act." Trump is making the same immunity claims in those pending lawsuits.

Justice Clarence Thomas, in a separate 2020 case involving Trump financial records sought by New York prosecutors, wrote, "This Court has recognized absolute immunity for the President from 'damages liability predicated on his official acts,' But we have rejected absolute immunity from damages actions for a President's nonofficial conduct." 

Thomas cited the 1997 Clinton v. Jones case, which determined that a sitting president did not have immunity from civil suits over his conduct prior to taking office and unrelated to his office. Again, the current dispute involves a criminal prosecution, and the justices may weigh whether that deserves greater deference to the constitutional claims from both sides.

What acts are within the outer rim of a president's constitutional duties?  

The lower federal courts deciding the matter pointedly avoided addressing that issue, but the high court now has full discretion to take it up. Questions or hypotheticals from the bench may offer hints about how broadly the justices may want to explore the orbit of presidential authority, when weighing political or "discretionary" acts vs. duty-bound or "ministerial" acts.

During January oral arguments before the DC-based federal appeals court, Trump's lawyer, John Sauer, suggested that if a president were to order Seal Team Six military commandos to assassinate a political rival, he could then be criminally prosecuted only if first found guilty by Congress through the impeachment process. 

Given the stakes, the Supreme Court may compromise here and issue a mixed ruling: rejecting Trump's broad immunity claims while preserving certain vital executive functions, like the national security role of commander-in-chief. The big unknown is what side Trump's election-related conduct would fall, in the eyes of the nine justices.  

Do federal courts have any jurisdiction to consider a president's official discretionary decisions?  

On this separation-of-powers question, Smith's team and others have cited the 1952 Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer case that limited a president's power to seize private property – even in a wartime emergency – absent any express congressional authorization. That landmark ruling curbing executive power also affirmed the judiciary's binding role to review a president's actions in office.

Will the Supreme Court ultimately decide not to decide, and throw the competing issues back to the lower courts for further review?

The justices may get buyer's remorse and conclude that weighty questions were not fully considered at the intermediate appellate or trial court level. That could significantly delay any trial.

Or they may let the trial play out first, and give both sides a chance to make their claims before a jury. Depending on the verdict, the Supreme Court would then likely revisit the immunity questions. 

Despite Trump's urging, the court pointedly chose not to address another lingering issue: whether the criminal prosecution violates the Fifth Amendment's ban on "double jeopardy," since he was acquitted by the Senate in February 2021 for election subversion, following his second impeachment.       

Trump faces criminal prosecution in three other jurisdictions: He faces a federal case over his alleged mishandling of classified documents while in office; a Georgia case over alleged election interference in that state's 2020 voting procedures; and a New York fraud case involving alleged hush money payments to an adult film star in 2016.

Jury selection in the New York case began on April 15.

But the start of the election interference trial in Washington remains in doubt. Depending on how the court rules, proceedings might not get underway until later this summer, in early fall or perhaps much later.

EXCUSED JUROR REVEALS SELECTION PROCESS FOR TRUMP'S HUSH MONEY TRIAL: 'NOT A FAN'

There is one other factor to consider: Trump could win re-election and then, upon taking office, order his attorney general to dismiss the Special Counsel and all his cases. Neither side's legal team has yet to publicly speculate on that scenario. 

So, Jack Smith's case is frozen for now.

And while this appeal would normally be decided in late June at the end of the Court's term, it is being expedited – so a ruling could come sooner.  

If the Supreme Court rules in the government's favor, the trial court will "un-pause" – meaning all the discovery and pre-trial machinations that have been on hold would resume.  

Trump's team would likely argue to trial Judge Tanya Chutkan that they need several months at least from that point to actually be ready for a jury trial.  

Chutkan said in December that she does not have jurisdiction over the matter while it is pending before the Supreme Court, and she put a pause on the case against him until the justices decide the matter on the merits.

A sweeping constitutional victory for the former president would almost certainly mean that his election interference prosecution collapses, and could implicate his other pending criminal and civil cases. 

But for now, Trump may have achieved a short-term win, even if he eventually loses before the Supreme Court – an indefinite delay in any trial that may carry over well past Election Day on Nov. 5.   

Democrat lawmakers who pushed Trump impeachment sing different tune on Biden border chief

Some lawmakers in Washington, D.C., who pushed for the impeachment of former President Donald Trump sang a different tune as they threw out articles of impeachment against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday.

Both articles of impeachment against President Biden's Homeland Security secretary were deemed unconstitutional by the Senate on Wednesday in two party-line votes.

The first article alleged Mayorkas engaged in the "willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law" regarding the southern border in his capacity as DHS secretary, while the second claimed Mayorkas breached public trust.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., proposed a point of order declaring the first article unconstitutional, to which the majority of senators agreed following several failed motions by Republicans. It was then deemed unconstitutional with a vote of 51-48, with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, voting present. 

INSIDE GOP PLAN TO FORCE AS MANY VOTES ON MAYORKAS IMPEACHMENT TRIAL AS POSSIBLE

The second article was deemed unconstitutional as well, with a party line vote of 51-49. This time Murkowski rejoined the process.

"The decision by the Senate to reject House Republicans’ baseless attacks on Secretary Mayorkas proves definitively that there was no evidence or Constitutional grounds to justify impeachment," DHS spokesperson Mia Ehrenberg told Fox News Digital on Thursday.

 "As he has done throughout more than 20 years of dedicated public service, Secretary Mayorkas will continue working every day to enforce our laws and protect our country. It’s time for Congressional Republicans to support the Department’s vital mission instead of wasting time playing political games and standing in the way of commonsense, bipartisan border reforms," Ehrenberg added. 

After the vote, Schumer turned to X to say, "Impeachment should NEVER be used to settle policy disagreements."

"If the GOP spent a fraction of the effort they spent on this meritless impeachment towards working with Democrats on border reform, we might have passed the bipartisan border bill," he said. "But Trump told his GOP allies in Congress to kill it. Trump even said: ‘Please, blame it on me.’"

‘CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY’ OF SENATE DEMS QUASHING MAYORKAS IMPEACHMENT TRIAL QUESTIONED BY EXPERTS

Senate Republicans blocked the Biden-backed border bill earlier this year because they said it didn't address what's fueling the crisis. 

"They put forward this legislation, ask for more authority, more funds, and frankly, more flexibility — and they say if we don't go for it, Republicans are now responsible for the crisis at the southern border. It's preposterous," Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., said back in February. 

Trump campaign spokesperson Karoline Leavitt fired back in a statement to Fox News Digital, saying, "Crooked Joe Biden and Secretary Mayorkas reversed President Trump's effective border policies have allowed a border invasion of more than 14 million illegal criminals, murderers, rapists, and even known terrorists into our country. They must be held accountable. In November, President Trump will fire Crooked Joe Biden and Mayorkas and secure the southern border on day one." 

When it came to Trump’s impeachment in 2021, Schumer sang a different tune.

The House impeached Trump for a second time in January 2021 after 10 Republicans abandoned the former president and joined Democrats.

RASKIN SAYS TRUMP'S REFUSAL TO TESTIFY AT IMPEACHMENT SUPPORTS ‘HIS GUILT’

Schumer said at the time, "I regret to say for 45 Republican senators to vote for a spurious constitutional objection to the coming impeachment trial was deeply, deeply irresponsible."

During the Trump impeachment trial, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., broke from Schumer and said he believed the Senate had a responsibility to hold an impeachment trial but that it was an open question of whether the trial was constitutional.

But on the matter of Mayorkas, Murphy called the impeachment "bs."

"Republicans only see the border as a campaign issue," Murphy posted on X. "They don't want to solve the problem. They could have worked with us to pass the bipartisan border security bill. Instead, they wasted time on this bs impeachment, which doesn't solve the problem - just keeps it in the news."

Murphy and Schumer did not respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment on the impeachment.

40 HOUSE DEMOCRATS JOIN LEGISLATION TO BAR TRUMP FROM PUBLIC OFFICE

SENATE PREPARES FOR MAYORKAS IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES WHILE GOP BRACES FOR POSSIBLE DISMISSAL MOTION

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., told Fox News at the time of the Trump impeachment that the process was "plainly unconstitutional."

Cotton joined several other Senate Republicans in signing a letter last week, lobbying for Schumer to hold a full impeachment trial for Mayorkas.

The Republican lawmakers said in the letter, "The American people deserve to hear the evidence through a Senate trial in the Court of Impeachment."

Cotton could not be reached for comment on Wednesday regarding the latest ruling in the Senate for Mayorkas and how it differs from Trump’s impeachment process.

Fox News Digital's Julia Johnson and Jamie Joseph contributed to this report.

Trump says Biden ‘should be in jail’ and ‘on trial,’ while blasting NY case: ‘The whole world is watching’

Former President Trump declared it is President Joe Biden who "should be in jail" and "be on trial," while blasting the case against him and saying "the whole world is watching this New York scandal," as he left court after the third day of his historic and unprecedented criminal trial. 

The former president, shortly after a full jury was selected to hear arguments from his defense attorneys and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg as he seeks to make his case, stood in the hallway of the courthouse and addressed the press. 

TRUMP HUSH MONEY TRIAL: MEET THE JURORS WHO WILL HEAR BRAGG'S CASE AGAINST THE 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

Trump, the presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee, held a thick stack of news articles from a range of different news outlets and media organizations. 

Trump said "every one of them" knows the case is "very unfair" and a "very bad thing." 

"The whole world is watching this New York scandal," he said, calling it a "spectacle." 

"It is political and it is a shame—it is a shame," he said. "And I am sitting here for days now from morning until night in that freezing room—everybody was freezing in there—and all for this."  

TRUMP JUROR PREVIOUSLY ARRESTED FOR RIPPING DOWN RIGHT-LEANING POLITICAL ADS DISMISSED FROM TRIAL

The former president blasted Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg as "out of control" and said Judge Juan Merchan who is presiding over the case is "highly conflicted." 

"The whole thing is a mess," he said. 

"Joe Biden—he’s the one that should be in jail," Trump said. "He’s a crook. We’ve got a crooked president. He should be on trial with all the stuff he’s done in his family." 

Trump was seemingly referring to the Biden family's business dealings, which have been under investigation by House Republicans. Those lawmakers launched an impeachment inquiry against Biden. 

Hunter Biden is currently under investigation by Special Counsel David Weiss who has charged the first son twice, in two separate jurisdictions. 

Trump again said Biden "should be on trial," but said: "He’s the one in charge." 

TRUMP HUSH MONEY TRIAL: JUROR EXCUSED AFTER SAYING SHE DOES NOT THINK SHE CAN BE FAIR

Trump claimed that Biden’s "top people are here working with the DA’s office to make sure everything goes right." 

"But it shouldn’t go right because they have no case," He said. "And that is what this is all about." 

Trump said that under Biden, the United States is "devolving into a Third World country, between having no borders, having no justice, and having a press that doesn’t want to cover the facts." 

TRUMP SAYS CRIMINAL TRIAL IS HAVING 'REVERSE EFFECT' AS HE CAMPAIGNS AT NEW YORK BODEGA, VOWS TO SAVE CITY

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has been charged by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. The charges are related to alleged hush money payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election. 

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all counts. He has blasted the trial as pure politics, a "political persecution" and maintains his innocence. The former president is expected to testify during his trial. 

"I tell the truth," Trump said last week, when asked about his possible testimony. 

Trump is the first president in United States history to stand criminal trial. 

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates. 

Biden mocks Trump for legal woes: ‘A little busy right now’

President Biden took a jab at his presumptive Republican rival for the presidency while campaigning in Pennsylvania.

Biden made the remark while speaking at the United Steelworkers headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday.

"Under my predecessor, who’s a little busy right now, Pennsylvania lost 275,000 jobs," Biden said while boasting of his economic policies' benefit to blue collar workers.

WHITE HOUSE DEEMS HOUSE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY 'OVER,' PRESIDENT BIDEN FORMALLY DECLINES TO TESTIFY

United Steelworkers endorsed the Biden-Harris ticket last month, applauding the president's investments in "worker-centered trade policy."

"President Biden proved time and again during his first term that he stands with working families," USW International President David McCall said in the March announcement. 

He added, "His vision and leadership allowed our nation to strengthen workers’ access to collective bargaining, grow the middle class, and embark on a path to widespread prosperity."

BIDEN RETURNS TO CAMPAIGN TRAIL AS TRUMP FORCED TO REMAIN IN COURT FOR SECOND DAY OF NEW YORK HUSH MONEY TRIAL

While Biden is on the road campaigning, Trump is currently stuck in New York City for his criminal trial surrounding alleged hush money payments to Stormy Daniels during his successful 2016 presidential campaign. 

Trump has been charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. It is the first ever criminal trial of a former president.

Trump has been ordered to attend the daily court proceedings of the trial. Judge Juan Merchan told Trump that if he fails to be present, a warrant will be issued for his arrest.

"It’s a scam. It’s a political witch hunt," Trump said after court adjourned Monday. Trump pleaded not guilty to all counts last year.

Fox News Digital's Lawrence Richard contributed to this report.

Supreme Court to debate ‘sleeper’ case that could affect Trump federal prosecution

It is the "sleeper" case that could upend the most closely watched criminal prosecution in the nation. And how the U.S. Supreme Court decides the fate of an obscure Capitol riot defendant will have immediate legal and political implications for the former and perhaps future president.    

The justices on Tuesday will hold oral arguments in the appeal of Joseph Fischer, one of more than 300 people charged by the Justice Department with "obstruction of an official proceeding" in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection in Washington.

That charge refers to the disruption of Congress’ certification of Joe Biden's 2020 presidential election victory over Donald Trump.

Special counsel Jack Smith has also brought an obstruction charge against Trump, which is among four counts the 2024 presumptive Republican presidential nominee faces. His trial in that case was slated to begin March 4, but the Supreme Court's decision to hear this case and a separate dispute over Trump's claim of presidential immunity has delayed proceedings indefinitely.

THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO MAYORKAS' IMPEACHMENT TRIAL

A federal judge earlier dismissed the obstruction offense against three Jan. 6 criminal defendants, ruling it did not cover their conduct on the Capitol grounds. Those defendants are onetime police patrolman Fischer, Garret Miller of the Dallas area and Edward Jacob Lang of New York’s Hudson Valley.

Fischer's appeal was the one the high court accepted for final review.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols, a 2019 Trump bench appointee, determined prosecutors stretched the law beyond its scope to inappropriately apply it in these cases, ruling a defendant must have taken "some action with respect to a document, record or other object" to obstruct an official proceeding under the law.

He concluded the statute in question focused on tampering with evidence and did not apply to those allegedly engaged in "assaultive conduct" like participating in a riot.

The Justice Department challenged that ruling, and a federal appeals court in Washington agreed with prosecutors that Nichols’ interpretation of the law was too limited.

"The vast majority of courts interpreting the statute have adopted the natural, broad reading" of the provision, the three-judge appellate panel wrote, "applying the statute to all forms of obstructive conduct that are not covered" specifically under that provision. 

Other defendants, including Trump, are separately challenging the use of the charge, but not as part of the current Supreme Court appeal.

The relevant statute — 18 U.S. Code Section 1512(c)(2) — of the Corporate Fraud Accountability Act, part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, states: "Whoever corruptly … obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both."

Congress passed the law in 2002 after the Enron financial and accounting scandal. Executives at the Texas-based energy company were charged with fraud, and the company eventually went bankrupt.

Judge Nichols in his ruling in the Miller case cited then-Sen. Biden, who referred to the new provision at the time as "making it a crime for document shredding."  

Both the government and Fischer, who was a North Cornwall Township Police officer in Pennsylvania at the time, offer contrasting accounts of his actions on Jan. 6, 2021.

His lawyers in their high court appeal say Fischer "was not part of the mob that forced the electoral certification to stop; he arrived at the Capitol grounds well after Congress recessed."

And while he admits entering the Capitol building and pushing his way through the crowd, Fischer claims he also helpfully returned a pair of lost handcuffs to a U.S. Capitol Police officer. After being pepper-sprayed by law enforcement, the defendant then says he left the complex just four minutes after entering.

But the Justice Department says Fischer "can be heard on the video yelling 'Charge!' before pushing through the crowd and entering the building. Once inside, petitioner ran toward a line of police officers with another rioter while yelling" a profanity.

And the government points to text messages he sent just before attending the "Stop the Steal" rally where President Trump spoke and the subsequent march to the Capitol.

"Take democratic congress to the gallows," he said in one post, and, "Can't vote if they can't breathe.. lol."

Fischer has pleaded not guilty to several charges, including disorderly and disruptive conduct; assaulting, resisting or impeding law enforcement officers; civil disorder; and the obstruction count. His trial is pending.

His legal team argues hindering or affecting an official proceeding is too ambiguous, as applied to Fischer's conduct on the Capitol grounds.

"That definition encompasses lobbying, advocacy, and protest, the very mechanisms that citizens employ to influence government. These are all forms of political speech that the First Amendment protects." 

But the government says Congress in enacting the statute meant it to be applied widely, to include "corruptly engaging in conduct to obstruct court, agency, and congressional proceedings."

MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE'S RED LINE ON SPEAKER JOHNSON

"The proof in this case would show that on January 6, 2021, petitioner and other rioters corruptly sought to prevent Congress from counting the certified votes of the Electoral College in the joint session," said government lawyers.

Some legal scholars say the conservative high court may be wary of giving the government too much leeway.

"Prosecutors love obstruction statutes, and they love conspiracy statutes, because those statutes are so broad and can be applied in a variety of circumstances to encompass all sorts of conduct," said Thomas Dupree, a leading appellate attorney and former top Bush Justice Department official. 

"The Supreme Court is going to look at what was Congress trying to do when it criminalized these things? Did Congress really intend these laws to sweep so far? And can you take a statute that was enacted to address, for example, corporate crimes and apply it to what happened on Jan. 6?"

How a Supreme Court ruling in the Fischer case would affect Trump's separate prosecution for alleged election interference is unclear. If Fischer prevails, the former president could then ask the federal courts to formally dismiss his own obstruction charge.

That could prompt a new round of separate legal appeals that might go back to the Supreme Court for final review.  

Nine days after oral arguments in the Fischer case, the justices will hold a public session to debate whether Trump enjoys absolute immunity from prosecution for conduct in office when allegedly seeking to overturn the 2020 election results and certification.

That has paused Trump's criminal conspiracy and obstruction trial indefinitely.

The separate challenge over the obstruction charge would also likely push the schedule well into next year.

The pending high court case is Fischer v. U.S. (23-5572). A ruling is expected by early summer.