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Biden says Supreme Court's immunity ruling 'undermines the rule of law'

President Biden gives remarks on the Supreme Court's immunity decision at the White House on July 1.
Andrew Harnik/Getty Images
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Getty Images North America
President Biden gives remarks on the Supreme Court's immunity decision at the White House on July 1.

President Biden called the Supreme Court's decision to grant his predecessor, Republican Donald Trump, broad immunity from prosecution "a dangerous precedent" that "undermines the rule of law."

“Today's decision almost certainly means that there are virtually no limits on what the president can do,” Biden said. “The power of the office will no longer be constrained by the law, even including the Supreme Court of the United States. The only limits will be self-imposed by the president alone.”

Biden's remarks from the White House came hours after the court's 6-3 decision along ideological lines that a former president has absolutely immunity for his core constitutional powers– and is entitled to a presumption of immunity for his official acts, but lack immunity for unofficial acts. The court sent the case back to the trial judge to determine which, if any of Trump actions, were part of his official duties and thus were protected from prosecution.

Biden said the court's decision puts "virtually no limits on what a president can do," and all but ensures Trump won't be tried for his role in the effort to undermine the transfer of power.

"Now the American people will have to do what the court should have been willing to do, but will not...render a judgment about Donald Trump's behavior," Biden said.

Biden, who is under pressure from his fellow Democrats to withdraw from his race after his performance in last week's presidential debate, took no questions. He spoke clearly and calmly during the statement.

But since that debate, he's held several events in the hope to assuage his supporters that he is up to the job. Last Friday, a day after the debate, Biden held a rally in Raleigh, N.C., where he attempted to persuade supporters that he could still do the job. And, more crucially, he spent the weekend doing damage control, telling donors and others that he understood their concern.

“I didn’t have a great night,” he told supporters gathered at the home of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Saturday night. “But I’m going to be fighting harder and going to need you with me to get it done.”

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Deepa Shivaram
Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.

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