Former White House lawyer Ty Cobb recently weighed in on Trump’s legal team’s argument that the ex-president cannot be prosecuted for his attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Cobb warns that Trump is the “gravest threat to democracy that we’ve ever seen.”
Cobb spoke with CNN’s Erin Burnett to discuss Trump’s team’s latest arguments for his immunity claim in front of a federal panel of three judges: Judge Pan, Judge Henderson, and Judge Childs. According to his lawyers, Trump is entitled to presidential immunity and therefore cannot be prosecuted for his attempts to overturn the 2020 election.
No one is above the law
Cobb is one of several lawyers and government officials arguing against Trump’s claim to immunity. At the end of last year, the lawyer signed an amicus curiae in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals stating that Trump’s argument “is inconsistent with our Constitution and would subvert the bedrock principle that no person is above the law.”
A fateful day for Trump
When asked whether Trump’s attorney’s latest arguments had changed his opinion on the ex-president’s immunity claim, Cobb was resolute in his original position. “Oh, absolutely not,” he said. “And in fact, I think Trump may have approached this hearing with some optimism and attended with interest. But I think his lawyers knew that today would be a fateful day.”
A key concession
“Judge Pan carefully extracted the concession that they had to make based on the law and the Constitution,” he continued. “They no longer have the argument that he’s absolutely immune because they have conceded that under certain circumstances he could be prosecuted for even official acts.”
‘The gravest threat to democracy’
Referencing Trump’s past remarks about the merits of controversial leaders such as Putin and Kim Jong Un, Burnett asked Cobb whether it was important to take Trump’s statements literally. “I think you have to take Trump seriously because he poses the gravest threat to democracy that we’ve ever seen,” Cobb declared.
Trump’s team aims for delay
“On the other hand, I think his legal arguments are, you know, interposed solely for a delay,” he continued. The former White House lawyer also emphasized that “it would be very scary if there was no accountability.”
Trump avoids accountability
“When a president tries to prevent the peaceful transfer of power and uses the levers available to him to subvert the Democratic Republic and the electoral system, I think the lack of accountability that he desires, which Putin has …” Cobb argued, mentioning several other infamous leaders, “I think that he may want an America that is like that.”
No king for America
Cobb additionally highlighted that the U.S. founders intended that “this was not going to be a country where we had a king. This was going to be a country where we had an accountable executive.”
Judges remain skeptical
The judges appointed to hear Trump’s argument appeared similarly unconvinced. “I understand your position to be that a president is immune from criminal prosecution for any official act that he takes as president even if that action is taken for an unlawful or unconstitutional purpose. Is that correct?” Judge Pan questioned Trump’s lawyer.
A paradoxical argument
Judge Henderson also pointed out that “it’s paradoxical to say that his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed allows him to violate criminal law.”
Cobb’s past remarks
This is not the first time Cobb has publicly expressed his thoughts on the Trump case. “I think this original indictment was engineered to last a thousand years, and now this superseding indictment will last an antiquity,” the former White House lawyer told CNN last year. “This is such a tight case; the evidence is so overwhelming.”