Rep. Gaetz offers up plan to protect Trump with congressional immunity, hold Special Counsel Smith in criminal contempt of Congress

August 10, 2023
Ben Marquis

Former President Donald Trump is currently facing two separate criminal indictments from Special Counsel Jack Smith, and while many Republicans have been critical of the apparent political motivations of the dual prosecutorial efforts, few have taken any action to actively oppose or thwart Smith.

That is not the case for Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), however, who rather than sit back and watch Trump be persecuted by the Biden administration has instead formulated a creative plan to intervene and possibly protect the former president from prosecution, the Conservative Brief reported.

The Florida congressman's plan includes offering congressional immunity from prosecution to Trump and the threat of criminal contempt and impeachment against Special Counsel Smith and Attorney General Merrick Garland, respectively.

Congressional immunity for Trump

During a conversation this week with Charlie Kirk on Real America's Voice, Rep. Gaetz first glossed over his plan to hold Special Counsel Smith accountable before delineating his plan to offer former President Trump congressional immunity.

"You can actually bring President Trump in to give testimony to Congress and, in doing so, immunize him," Gaetz explained. "Now, there’s different forms of immunity that take place at the committee level, subcommittee level -- in some instances for full immunity, you have to have more of a supermajority vote."

"But if you had a supermajority vote of a committee, like Speaker McCarthy could set up a select committee tomorrow that can bring Trump in and immunize him," he continued. "And then we could proceed with the very legitimate investigative work that we’re doing of the Bidens and the corrupt DOJ."

"Unfortunately, none of those things are happening. Instead, Congress is not in Washington, not assembled. And I think the timing is on purpose," Gaetz added. "No timing in DC is ever just a mere coincidence. And so right as Congress is leaving town, right as we’re walking away from our equities, you see this acceleration of activity against Trump."

How congressional immunity works

Rep. Gaetz went on to describe how federal statutes like U.S.C. Section 6002 and Section 6005 grant congressional committees and subcommittees the authority to essentially "dissolve" an individual's Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination -- with a court order, if necessary -- in order to compel that individual to testify in exchange for some measure of immunity from prosecution over what was said.

"But there you’ve got the ability to say, 'Well, we’re here by compelling your testimony. We’re giving you immunity for anything you say to us and anything that that would lead to,'" he explained. "And so, for example, if President Trump came in and said, 'I’m here to give you testimony about the witch hunt, the abuse of criminal process,' that Congress has a legitimate oversight equities to resolve. And if he were to say things to us, we could immunize him for that conduct that he were to discuss."

Criminal contempt of Congress for Special Counsel Smith

Last week, during a conversation with Newsmax host Carl Higbie, Rep. Gaetz also made mention of the congressional immunity plan for former President Trump but first described what he hoped the Republican-led Congress would do to rein in Special Counsel Smith and Attorney General Garland from their partisan persecution of Trump.

"House Republicans should immediately demand that Jack Smith present himself for a transcribed interview with the Judiciary Committee in the next 15 days," Gaetz said. "If he does not do that, we should send a subpoena. If he ignores the subpoena, we should hold him in criminal contempt of the Congress so that he is the first prosecutor in American history to prosecute a case while himself under criminal contempt."

"And if Merrick Garland doesn’t enforce that criminal contempt, then we ought to impeach Merrick Garland," he continued. "And by the way, while we're doing all of that, to showcase how political and indeed dirty this has all become, we can utilize congressional immunities to immunize President Trump."

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