Efforts to overturn the 2020 election were part of Trump’s 'official duties,' his lawyers argue

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WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump on Thursday argued in a court filing that he should be shielded from prosecution in the 2020 election interference case because of presidential immunity, claiming his efforts to overturn his election loss and remain in the White House were at “the heart of his official responsibilities as President.”

Describing what prosecutors allege was a conspiracy to disenfranchise American voters as “efforts to ensure election integrity,” Trump’s legal team argued that special counsel Jack Smith’s team had “falsely” claimed that “President Trump’s motives were impure — that he purportedly ‘knew’ that the widespread reports of fraud and election irregularities were untrue.” Trump’s legal team said that “hundreds of years of history and tradition” make clear that the president’s motivations are not for prosecutors or judges to decide.

Trump’s actions “are within the ambit of his office, and he is absolutely immune from prosecution,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in the court filing, citing a 1982 Supreme Court decision that involved former President Richard Nixon.

Trump’s lawyers also argued that contemplating replacing the head of the Justice Department with Jeffrey Clark, a civil environmental lawyer who believed the 2020 election had been stolen via smart thermostats fell within his presidential duties.