US Justice Department officials say Donald Trump cannot be held personally liable for “crude and disrespectful” remarks he made while president about a woman who accused him of rape.
The lawyers told a federal appeals court that responding to allegations of misconduct falls within activities that form part of any president’s office.
The lawyers want to overturn a judge’s ruling that Mr Trump, not the United States, must respond to defamation claims by E Jean Carroll.
The columnist in a June 2019 book said Trump attacked her in the 1990s at an upscale Manhattan department store.
Ms Carroll said on Monday she was angry the Justice Department has tried to stop her from holding Mr Trump accountable.
It comes just days after Mr Trump at the North Carolina GOP convention pushed Republicans to support candidates who are loyal to him in next year’s midterm elections and teased the prospect of another presidential bid of his own in 2024.