Retired Marine Commandant Signs Brief Against Trump's Immunity Claim

Thirty-first Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Charles Krulak speaks to Marines and guests attending the 2018 Commandant's Birthday Ball at the Washington Hilton in  Washington, D.C.
Thirty-first Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Charles Krulak speaks to Marines and guests attending the Commandant's Birthday Ball at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C., Nov. 10, 2018. (Sgt. Olivia G. Ortiz/U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Gen. Charles Krulak, the former president of Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama and retired Marine commandant, was among dozens of retired four-star generals and admirals and ex-cabinet officials who filed an amicus brief Monday before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging ex-President Donald Trump's claim of immunity against prosecution.

"The notion of such immunity, both as a general matter, and also specifically in the context of the potential negation of election results, threatens to jeopardize our nation's security and international leadership," the brief stated. "Particularly in times like the present, when anti-democratic, authoritarian regimes are on the rise worldwide, such a threat is intolerable and dangerous."

If Trump's legal argument that he is immune from prosecution is not rejected by the Supreme Court, argued Krulak and the other signees, "we risk jeopardizing America's standing as a guardian of democracy in the world and further feeding the spread of authoritarianism, thereby threatening the national security of the United States and democracies around the world."

The brief was filed by retired four-star generals and admirals and former cabinet secretaries who served under former presidents dating back to President John F. Kennedy.

Krulak was the highest-ranking Marine from 1995 to 1999, when he served as commandant under President Bill Clinton.

Krulak and the other retired military officials and cabinet officials "are deeply interested in this case because presidential immunity from criminal prosecution would threaten the military's role in American society, our nation's constitutional order, and our national security," the brief stated.

"It also would have profoundly negative effects on military service members, who answer to the orders of the President as Commander-in-Chief," the brief went on to say. "This submission is based on amici's collective experience serving in and leading our military, as well as their collective interest in safeguarding our national security. Amici's short biographies listed below only begin to describe their distinguished service to our country."

Trump is asking the Supreme Court to find that he has immunity from criminal liability as he faces charges stemming from his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the events of Jan. 6, allegations he used hush money payments to silence adult film star Stormy Daniels in the runup to the 2016 election, alleged interference in Georgia's 2020 election and alleged mishandling of classified documents.

The court is scheduled to hear Trump's argument April 25.

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