Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
June is Men's Health Month!

Fact-check: South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace's statements on the Trump trials

AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:

Now we'll turn to NPR political correspondent Susan Davis to add some context to Representative Mace's responses. Hi, Sue. Thank you for joining us.

SUSAN DAVIS, BYLINE: Hey, Ayesha.

RASCOE: So as someone who's been covering Congress for more than 20 years now, what did you hear in that interview?

DAVIS: Well, clearly, it was contentious. But I think that Nancy Mace is like nearly every Republican in Congress right now. They are staunch defenders of Donald Trump, of his defenses in court. And they're not seeking any daylight with him, certainly not in a political election year.

A couple of points you made that I do think there's worth some additional clarity, especially in the context of election denying. She's correct, right? Like, Jamie Raskin, the Democrat from Maryland, did object to the 2016 certification in Congress. But those were protest votes, and they were not intended to overturn the outcome of that election. And Hillary Clinton - yes, she has questioned the integrity of the 2016 election, but she also conceded it. And she did not try to, again, overturn the outcome of it.

RASCOE: There was also talk about Bill Clinton. What about that?

DAVIS: Again, she has a point. She's referencing the $850,000 settlement that then-President Clinton paid to Paula Jones. But this was part of a very public legal battle. Everyone knew what she had accused him of, and the settlement was made public. The contrast here in the Donald Trump case is that these were payments that were made privately to keep something out of the public and that he is now facing legal charges for how those payments were made.

RASCOE: So I also got a legal question for you about the Supreme Court hearing last week. How much did that case Nixon v. Fitzgerald really answer that question of whether presidents have immunity for official acts, you know, both criminal and civil?

DAVIS: Well, what Nixon v. Fitzgerald established is that presidents do have immunity from civil lawsuits. But what the issue is before the court and what the arguments were this week is whether former presidents are immune from all criminal prosecution for actions they took while president. We don't know the answer to that question yet. The Court just heard the arguments. But we are expected to have an answer by the summertime, and it may well push that case until after the election. So it's quite possible the outcome of that case will not be known before election day.

RASCOE: Representative Mace also questioned the objectivity of the judge in the New York trial, Juan Merchan. What do we know about him?

DAVIS: Republicans have frequently pointed to the fact that Merchan did contribute money to Democrats to the tune of $35 in 2020 and including $15 to President Biden's campaign. It is true that the judge's daughter has worked for a Democratic consulting firm. And Trump has had a very contentious relationship with this judge. His lawyers tried to get him to recuse himself from the case, but Merchan has rejected that attempt, saying he is fair and impartial.

RASCOE: That's NPR political correspondent Sue Davis. Thank you so much for joining us.

DAVIS: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Ayesha Rascoe is a White House correspondent for NPR. She is currently covering her third presidential administration. Rascoe's White House coverage has included a number of high profile foreign trips, including President Trump's 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and President Obama's final NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.
Susan Davis is a congressional correspondent for NPR and a co-host of the NPR Politics Podcast. She has covered Congress, elections, and national politics since 2002 for publications including USA TODAY, The Wall Street Journal, National Journal and Roll Call. She appears regularly on television and radio outlets to discuss congressional and national politics, and she is a contributor on PBS's Washington Week with Robert Costa. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Philadelphia native.