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Mitch McConnell says presidents shouldn't be immune from prosecution

The Senate minority leader made the comments in an interview with NBC News' "Meet the Press" as the Supreme Court weighed Donald Trump's claim of absolute immunity.
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in an interview Thursday with NBC News' "Meet the Press" that he doesn't think presidents should be immune from criminal prosecution for actions taken while in office, as the Supreme Court heard arguments on the issue.

The Kentucky Republican also told "Meet the Press" moderator Kristen Welker that he stands by his acquittal vote and comments he made in 2021, when he voted against convicting former President Donald Trump in a Senate trial after he was impeached by the House on charges related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

“President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office. ... He didn’t get away with anything, yet,” McConnell said in 2021, adding, “we have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former presidents are not immune from being [held] accountable by either one.”

Kristen Welker, the moderator of Meet the Press, interviews Minority Leader Mitch McConnell  on April 25, 2024 in the U.S. Capitol.
Kristen Welker, the moderator of "Meet the Press," interviews Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday.Frank Thorp V / NBC News

"That’s [still] my view," McConnell said Thursday, as the Supreme Court heard arguments from Trump's attorneys and federal prosecutors about whether the former president can face charges for acts he committed while in office.

"But my view is only my view. I mean, the court is going to decide," McConnell added.

Thursday's Supreme Court arguments stem from federal charges that Trump unlawfully interfered in the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. Trump has argued he has absolute immunity from prosecution for what he did while president, and the court is set to decide the scope of presidential immunity.

"The president clearly needs some kind of immunity, or he’d be in court all the time," McConnell noted. But he said he didn't think it should be absolute, as Trump has argued.

"I’m not on the Supreme Court. I don’t get to make the final decision on that," McConnell told Welker.

The Senate Republican leader also spoke about a phone call he had earlier in the day with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, just days after both chambers of Congress approved over $60 billion in aid for Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

McConnell told Welker that Zelenskyy "was grateful, because he knew that the big challenge was in my party. And I think he — it was nice of him to mention that we had a bigger vote than we did a couple months ago," when the Senate voted on a separate measure that included Ukraine aid. That measure later died in the House.