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Trump and the Law: A Scripps News special report

Even as he gains momentum in primary elections, former President Donald Trump could face legal challenges to his eligibility to run for president.
Trump and the Law: A Scripps News special report
Posted at 8:38 PM, Jan 18, 2024

Fresh off a resounding win in Iowa and looking ahead to next week's New Hampshire primary, crucial court dates may impact the state of the race for former President Donald Trump.

The outcome of one of those cases could address whether he's immune from criminal prosecution. Another could remove his name from state ballots.

Officials in Colorado became the first to declare that Trump was ineligible to be on their primary election ballot. They believe he engaged in insurrection on Jan. 6, in violation of the 14th Amendment's insurrection clause. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in this case just weeks from now on Feb. 8.

The former president's legal team has said Colorado has no authority to try to kick him off the ballot. They will argue that Trump took a different oath than what other elected officials have taken, and therefore the 14th amendment's insurrection clause doesn't apply to him.

SEE MORE: Trump wins Iowa caucuses as weather depresses turnout

Also looming is whether Trump is immune from criminal prosecution.

Last August special counsel Jack Smith charged the former president with conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding — referring to the certification votes after he lost the election.

Trump has said he's immune from prosecution because he was acting in his official capacity as president. Trump's attorneys have already made the immunity argument in a lower court, but they've gotten pushback from judges.

SEE MORE: Special counsel Jack Smith seeks gag order on Trump in election case

Going forward, the legal calendar continues to overlap with the political one.

New Hampshire votes in a matter of days; South Carolina votes next month, and then there's Super Tuesday on March 5.

It's possible Trump could be well on his way to becoming the Republican nominee, even before any of these major legal questions are answered — and before some of the cases against him actually go to trial.

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