Mr Trump was speaking to host Sean Hannity on Thursday night, saying, “If the president of the United States and I'm not talking about myself, I'm talking about any president, has to have immunity, because if you take immunity away from the president, so important, you will have you have a president that's not going to be able to do anything”.
“Because when he leaves office, the opposing party, president, if it's the opposing party, will indict the president for doing something that should have been good, like Obama dropped missiles, and they ended up hitting a kindergarten or school or the apartment house, a lot of people were killed,” he added.
“Well, if that's the case, he's going to end up being indicted when he leaves office. He meant well, the missile went in the wrong direction and other things,” Mr Trump said, seemingly referring to Mr Obama as if he was still in office, even though the 44th president departed the White House as Mr Trump himself assumed the office.
Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough, who served in the US House as a Florida Republican between 1995 and 2001, said on MSNBC on Friday morning that “Donald Trump is not well, we know this”.
“He really does think that Barack Obama is still president of the United States,” he added.
Mr Scarborough noted that Jonah Goldberg of The Dispatch wrote on X on Thursday: “Just curious: What is the ‘serious’ Trumper explanation for why Biden can’t order Seal Team Six to take out Trump right now, given that Trump says even presidential acts that ‘cross the line’ must be immune from criminal prosecution?”
“It is pure, sheer authoritarianism and tyranny,” Mr Scarborough said of Mr Trump’s arguments for immunity.
Earlier this month, Mr Trump attended a hearing at the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC.
His legal team argued that he’s immune from prosecution in the election interference case brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith.
Mr Trump appeared in front of a panel of three judges – Michelle Childs, Karen LeCraft Henderson, and Florence Pan – on 9 January.
The judges pressed Mr Trump’s lawyer John Sauer on the claim pushed by the former president’s legal team that he’s covered by the “right not to be tried” for actions during his presidency – pushing for examples of precedent including explicit mentions that a president is immune.
Mr Sauer argued that President George W Bush hadn’t been charged with obstruction of justice after falsely leading the country into the Iraq war on false pretences and asked if Mr Obama should be charged with murder for civilians killed in drone strikes.
He added that there was no prosecution of President Bill Clinton after he pardoned Marc Rich, a fugitive whose ex-wife made large contributions to the Clinton Presidential Center and the Senate campaign of then-first lady Hillary Clinton.
The argument of the Trump team appeared to hinge on the impeachment clause.
Mr Sauer repeatedly argued that Mr Trump would only be subject to prosecution if he had been impeached and convicted by Congress, something he narrowly escaped twice after being acquitted with the help of Senate Republicans.
By that standard, Judge Pan in particular pressed for a yes or no answer from Mr Sauer on if a Senate conviction is a requirement for Mr Trump to be prosecuted, something Mr Sauer appeared unwilling to give a one-word answer to.
The judges and the government prosecutors put forward the examples of a president ordering the Navy SEALs to kill a political rival or a critic, selling pardons or military secrets, and simply resigning before being impeached – would such a president be immune from prosecution?
Judge Pan noted that the impeachment clause narrowed the issue since Mr Sauer agreed that a president could be prosecuted following a conviction by Congress – meaning that a president’s immunity is not absolute.
“All your other arguments fall away” if you concede that a president can be prosecuted, Judge Pan told Mr Sauer.
Mr Sauer cited on several occasions the worry of the founding fathers of criminal prosecution being used to crush a presidency.
Pointing to Mr Trump and raising his voice, Mr Sauer claimed that President Joe Biden was prosecuting his top political rival, despite there being no evidence that Mr Biden has given any directions to the Department of Justice regarding his predecessor.
“If a president has to look over his shoulder every time he has to make a controversial decision, worrying about ‘this could send me to jail when my opponent comes into office’ – that damages the presidency,” he added.
Speaking about Mr Trump’s recent Fox News appearance, Mr Scarborough said, “it is Trump at his most dangerous, but also Trump at his most detached from reality. He's really losing it”.
“We've been getting glimpses out of him shuffling around and looking lost, and getting up on stage talking about World War II, talking about President Obama, and here he did it again and said, ‘listen, President Obama may have bombed kindergartens, but he was trying to do good things. And when he leaves office, when he leaves office, he could face a conviction’. It's crazy,” he added.
Last year, Mr Trump pushed back on the notion that he’s confused whenever he appears to mistake Mr Biden for Mr Obama.
“Whenever I sarcastically insert the name Obama for Biden as an indication that others may actually be having a very big influence in running our Country,” he wrote on Truth Social in November.
“Ron DeSanctimonious and his failing campaign apparatus, together with the Democrat’s Radical Left ‘Disinformation Machine,’ go wild saying that ‘Trump doesn’t know the name of our President, (CROOKED!) Joe Biden. He must be cognitively impaired,” he added. “No, I know both names very well, never mix them up, and know that they are destroying our Country.”