Prosecuting Trump — a caveat,
Infidel753, “Prosecuting Trump — a caveat,” Infidel753 Blog
It’s starting to look as if Trump may be indicted fairly soon, an event much of the left has been impatient to see for some time (what I myself most wanted was to simply never hear another word about him, but it’s clear that the reality we live in is not going to grant that wish for the foreseeable future). The case coming to a head is the Stormy Daniels hush payment, but indictments on other matters will likely follow eventually.
There may, however, be a downside. Don’t get me wrong — come what may, Trump must be held accountable for his crimes, most especially for his role in inciting the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Failure to do so would discredit American justice, showing that the wealthy and powerful are exempt from the laws that apply to everyone else. The problem is the possible effect on the 2024 election.
At the moment, the only two serious contenders for the Republican presidential nomination are Trump and DeSantis. That could change, of course; the 2024 primaries are a year away and some other major candidate could emerge. But so far there’s no sign of that.
Assuming Trump remains a viable contender, Republican hopes of winning the presidency seem doomed. If Trump is the nominee, he’ll almost certainly lose. 2020 showed that he was sufficiently hated by a large enough part of the electorate to inspire record-breaking turnout to get rid of him. There’s no reason to think that that’s changed. If he’s the nominee in 2024, the general election result will resemble 2020. If DeSantis (or anyone else) gets the nomination, Trump is likely to turn against him out of spite and resentment, or at least to ostentatiously withhold support. A substantial part of the Republican base are still die-hard Trump loyalists. If he persuades even a significant fraction of those to refrain from voting for DeSantis, then DeSantis can’t win.
But if Trump is out of the picture because he’s in prison by then, it will be far easier for Republicans to unify around DeSantis, who might win over Trump’s loyalists by promising a presidential pardon for Trump (presidential pardons don’t apply to state convictions, only to federal ones, but the average Trumpanzee may well not be aware of that). And DeSantis has shown that he has no respect for our most fundamental rights. No blogger, journalist, publisher, artist, or anyone else who depends on freedom of expression being protected, can afford the risk of this man acquiring the vast powers of the presidency. A president Youngkin or Haley or even Pence would be bad, but not really outside the norms of modern American politics. DeSantis is too dangerous.
However, Trump himself may be offering a resolution to the dilemma. He’s already preparing an all-out effort to destroy DeSantis by digging up dirt on him and publicizing it, and researching the most effective messaging to attack him. Rather than wait for the primaries, he wants to crush his most prominent rival in advance. Of course, that will take some time.
Trump must, as I said, be held accountable for his actions. But I won’t be unhappy at all if some further delay gives him time to neutralize this rising threat.
Update (Saturday AM): Trump is now predicting his own imminent arrest and calling for protests.
Trump at Mar-a-Lago: Magical Thinking and a Perp-Walk Fixation
NY Times – March 21
Donald J. Trump claims he is ready for his perp walk.
Behind closed doors at Mar-a-Lago, the former president has told friends and associates that he welcomes the idea of being paraded by the authorities before a throng of reporters and news cameras. He has even mused openly about whether he should smile for the assembled media, and he has pondered how the public would react and is said to have described the potential spectacle as a fun experience.
No one is quite sure whether his remarks are bravado or genuine resignation about what lies ahead.
If he is truly looking forward to it, he might be disappointed.
There is no indication, even if Mr. Trump is charged, that the authorities would have him take part in that storied New York City law-enforcement tradition known by detectives and crime reporters alike — walking the newly arrested past a cluster of journalists. …
Another person who has spoken with Mr. Trump, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said the former president was less concerned with the particulars of where he would be seen than with being assured of the opportunity to show the public he is not slinking away in shame. …
When Mr. Trump has focused on the case — one of four criminal investigations in Georgia, New York and Washington now facing the front-runner for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination — he has concentrated on projecting strength and avoiding any signals of shame over his circumstances, an approach that mirrors his handling of repeated political crises and his flair for creating dramatic, made-for-TV moments. Seeing Mr. Trump after a court appearance could also galvanize his supporters, whom Mr. Trump urged over the weekend to protest in the event of his arrest.
“He wants to be defiant — to show the world that if they can try to do this to him, they can do it to anyone,” said one person who spoke to Mr. Trump over the weekend. …
The Politics of a Trump Indictment
NY Times – Ross Douthat – March 22
If you intend to indict and try a former president of the United States, especially a former president of the United States whose career has benefited from the collapse of public trust in the neutrality of all our institutions, you had better have clear evidence, all-but-obvious guilt and loads of legal precedent behind your case.
The case that New York prosecutors are apparently considering bringing against Donald Trump, over hush-money payments made to Stormy Daniels that may have violated campaign finance laws, does not have the look of a slam dunk. The use of the phrase “novel legal theory” in descriptions of what the case might entail is not encouraging.
Neither are the doubts raised by writers and pundits not known for their sympathy to Trump. Or the fact that we have a precedent of a presidential candidate indicted over a remarkably similar offense — the trial of John Edwards for his payments to Rielle Hunter — that yielded an acquittal on one count and a hung jury on the rest.
The Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky precedent is a little less legally relevant, involving perjury rather than campaign-finance law. But the Clinton scandals established a general principle that presidents are above the law as long as the lawbreaking involved minor infractions covering up tawdry sex. If a potential Trump prosecution requires overturning that principle, then prosecutors might as well appear in court wearing Democratic Party campaign paraphernalia; the effect will be the same. …
The campaign finance felony is one of a long list of crimes, not the least of which are terrorism and treason. They might as well toss racketeering in there since he did that as well. And they should get the family and all close associates under RICO allowing them to seize all the assets (LOL, $9 after paying off the loans?).
Best get him for treason & sedition, maybe. Can a President be seditious, when he is after all, the state. Certainly Donald was ‘the state’, Louis XIV style.
He is a pretty scary guy, but terrorism? I dunno.
Maybe get him on tax evasion, like Al Capone.
Also Spiro Agnew!
By every measure, America elected a certified Bad-Boy President back in 2016.
More so by far than Bill Clinton in 1992.
Then we un-elected him in favor of Joe Biden. Trump really wants to get back into office, settle some scores maybe? All he has to do is flip Arizona, Georgia & Wisconsin. Then the House of Reps will do its thing, and back in he will be. Certainly seems doable, to him.
Yes, Donald Trump, You Said That
NY Times – Billy Bush – Dec 3, 2017
Hmmm. Get him for ‘theft of public property’ maybe?
A Massive Trump Painting Has Mysteriously Gone Missing
NY Times – March 21
… Nearly three years after the (eight-oot portrait) was delivered to Mr. Trump, the artist says he is honored that the artwork is one of several gifts given to the former president and his family during his presidency that are unaccounted for, according to a report released Friday by Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability.
“I’m flattered that he cherished it. Because he’s a billionaire,” said the artist, Francisco Antonio López Benavides, 59. “He can have a thousand paintings of him. But if he took my painting, it’s because he loves and values the art. I’m happy.”
Other missing gifts include a piece of ornate jewelry gifted by officials in Saudi Arabia and an expensive golf putter from the former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, the report said.
The portrait is one of about 100 gifts worth more than $250,000 that were given to the presidential family, but were never disclosed …
Missing Trump Portrait Found, Next to Some Old Yoga Mats.
NY Times – March 23
In the bowels of the Trump National Doral hotel in Miami, in a small space leading to electrical rooms, an enormous portrait of the 45th president of the United States rests on a piece of deteriorating purple-colored foam.
Stored next to a stack of old yoga mats, the former president’s portrait sits underneath a halogen light and the metal sheen of air ducts, propped between two doors with placards that read “ELECTRICAL ROOM No Storage.”
The tiny room is overwhelmed by the grandiose portrait, standing about eight feet tall and featuring a grinning Donald J. Trump.
While the portrait has apparently sat there ignored for months, back in Washington, it is at the center of a debate over the laws and ethics covering presidential gifts. …
… Just last week, the artwork was listed as one of about 100 gifts from foreign governments, worth over $250,000 in total, that went missing after Mr. Trump vacated the White House, according to a report released by Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability. …
The portrait was a present from El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, given to Mr. Trump his last year in office.
While the hunt is still on for many of the missing items, The New York Times found the artwork only a few days after profiling the Salvadoran artist who painted it. After that article was published, a reader emailed a tip that he had seen the portrait at the hotel back in October.
The reader, who requested anonymity so he would not be barred from future visits to the hotel, said that he and his son had attended a golf tournament last fall at the Doral and decided to have a peek around the grandiose property. They began opening up random doors to discover ornate ballrooms, marble clad hallways and wooden furniture with golden filigree. …
Too glib. Neither you nor anyone else has the kind of knowledge you pretend to here. You are indulging in the kind of forecast which Philip Tetlock has debunked. We don’t know whether Desantis is going to run well. We don’t know whether those who are politically motivated by dislike for Trump would bother showing up at the polls if our system seems to give him free passes. We don’t know if Trump will be tried, much less convicted, in Georgia. And so on.
Let’s admit to the limits to our knowledge.
Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld – “But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
Quaint phrase “showing up at the polls”. Trump ran ahead in Wisconsin and Georgia (and maybe othe states he lost) among people who showed up at the polls, including early voting. He got crushed in mail-ins.
Quaint phrase “showing up at the polls.” Yes, very true the same as “hand counting votes.” Both have a meaning of which are meant to impact voting. How do we know it is you, if we can not see your face? Was that vote counted or was it set aside?
Paranoia striking deep.
The state of Wisconsin has its issues. Wisconsin official whose term ending just stay on. Ideological Republican judges, doing the old wink-wink. Getting tougher to maintain control without blocking the voters, new appointees, and controlling the counting of the votes.
Do you feel any better when the state legislature blocks 91,000 people from Medicaid convening and adjourning in less than a minute. How do you feel Eric? Vindicated, that Wisconsin will not extend healthcare to people barely above poverty?
So, what was your piece of the action when trump passed the tax cuts? Were you a part of the 1% of the taxpayers in the upper income brackets? Wisconsin is an embarrassment.
I was not commenting on any of those things. Simply that “showing up at the polls” was already not critical in 2020. You don’t seem to dispute that.
You have a limited view of what showing up at the polls means. Voting in whatever means one can is showing up at the polls.
Furthermore, Republicans in Wisconsin are fearful of what the public really wants. Voting is one indicator of what the public wants. Wisconsin had the worst maternal mortality rate for Black Americans. Why is that Eric? When 90% of Medicaid expansion is paid for, . . . hmmmm? The cited reason is the support may be repealed. Repealed by whom, Democrats? Or a Republican Congress and Presidency?
Like a lot of heartland states, Wisconsin looks very red on an electoral map.
There are two blue regions, around Madison & Milwaukee, urban areas I reckon. Those areaa represent enough of the state population to get them a narrow victory in the guv’nahs race, and perhaps that explains why only one of their US senators is a Trumper. Of their five congressmen, two are Dems.
However their legislature is overwhelmingly GOP, as are their courts.
Wisconsin’s proud progressive history is just ‘history’
Jan 11, 2023 — Once a beacon of progressive legislation, the state has become a backwater of regressive policies and backstabbing politics. …
So, the GOP goes all in next year to quash mail-in voting.
you are philosophically correct, i suppose. but if we took you seriously we would never do anything.
which of course is what we do anyway.
If you took me seriously, that would not have been your reply.
I’m asking this blog to be better than mere opinion. Nobody is short of mere opinion. There is a world of information out there which can be put to use. “I think this will happen” falls short.
Angry Bear has been around for a long time, and has done a lot of good work. Your own assessment of common, erroneous claims about economic policy was some of the best. Your Social Security work, too. Those assessments were based in fact. Is that too much to ask for?
you may have taken me too seriously.
I agreed with you philosophically. Indeed you were saying much the same thing I say often…though I may concentrate a littl more on the stunning lack of ….well, logic, but that word is so misused that i hate to use it…but something like an operant connection between what they are saying and any serious attept to understand the question at hand.
so, in this case “take you seriously” meant something like if we insist upon people recognizing the limits of their knowledge we will hear nothing but silence. At least the limits of my knowledge do not extend to an absolute understanding of what people know or think they know.
or…i am on your side. don’t take yourself too seriously.
At the first break of spring (IOW, exactly the same time of year as now) just 55 years ago, then I was hopeful. In each year since though, then that lost hope has drifted ever further away. After a while I just did not give a flying duck anymore. It is not that I no longer care, but just that I no longer hope.
Full disclosure, back in 2008 I did allow myself to hope once again and we all know how that turned out. So, I am OK with regards to settling with Biden now, since at least Ordinary Joe is not a big orange clown like Trump.
BTW, if facts really mattered, then how could the US government have fallen in economic competency so far over the last 80 years?
no need for a fall in competency. it’s just that circumstances finally caught up with the incompetency that was always there.
If the reference of inciting is aimed at criminal incitement charges, I’m starting to feel that is never happening. It supposedly is a hard charge to win a conviction on, but a pretty easy one to charge as there is a minimal amount of effort needed to find the evidence. Trump’s texts and White House meetings that day aren’t evidence if those people didn’t riot. His call to McCarthy doesn’t matter. His possible actions in a vehicle are irrelevant. Ketchup on the wall isn’t part of this. The speech he gave that day and any other public communication, like tweets, matter and that evidence has been available to prosecuting authorities for 2+ years now. If “inciting” here is more a generic label for some other kind of charge related to January 6, then maybe we might still see something.
Chances are his fat butt will never see the inside of a jai or prison and get to mingle with at least a level 2 category of prisoners. He would come to a reality he has never experienced in his entire privileged life. He needs that experience where he is not protected by others and his money means “nothing.”
It takes a while to establish a case when one is not on the bottom rung on the population. He keeps buying the best justice he can. I am hoping he will run out of cash eventually which is more-than-likely what they are doing to him. A lot of unpaid lawyers out there too.
I do think there still could be Jan 6 related charges, just that inciting – as Infidel753 specifically references – feels unlikely. In most cases it is a “state” criminal charge (here DC) and they are very secretive if they are looking at it. Others who spoke there possibly would present easier cases if the heat of rhetoric is a measure. If there were a good case, this could have been done within a couple months, not a couple years. Incitement when the alleged inciting was via a high profile televised speech just doesn’t require a big investigation and rolling up 3 layers of goons to get to “the Don”. Was what he said (or tweeted) a criminal incitement? I get the feeling those with authority to prosecute think the answer is “no”.
The funniest part that I totally emphasize with was “what I myself most wanted was to simply never hear another word about him, but it’s clear that the reality we live in is not going to grant that wish for the foreseeable future.”
The funniest part that was absurdly unbelievable was “Failure to do so would discredit American justice, showing that the wealthy and powerful are exempt from the laws that apply to everyone else.” Not that punishing Trump for his crimes would in any way be wrong, but I fail to see what credibility that American justice has had over the long run of the American experience. A few recent victories cannot offset centuries of failures alongside daily challenges to the credibility of justice in America up until this very day. Even when we do convict police officers for murder, the dead do not applaud in their graves nor do their loved ones find relief from their grief. Of course wealth alone is insufficient to purchase a get out of jail free card, but wealth sufficient to purchase political power generally seems sufficient to do the trick.
Clearly we have a just healthcare system in America because in America with healthcare as with justice we have the best system that money can buy.
I agree, and agree.
Eric is an example of what a person can do to his brain when he really does not see.
Ordinary jurors are not so “nice.”
“does not want to see.” unfortunately about half the people who vote (and sit on juries) have the same problem.
Good to hear from you sir. Keep on keeping on. I wish you fair winds and following seas.
Trump threatens violence if he is indicted.
Not violence on his part, of course. But, he suggests, violent support from his most ardent follower.
That would be on the mildest offense. There’s a choice in NYC between misdemeanor or class c felony charges for the hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels.
Reuters: Under New York state law, falsification of business records is a misdemeanor. It can become a felony if the intent is to conceal or advance another crime. …
But wait …
VoA: According to the U.S. Constitution, anyone who is at least 35 years old, a natural born citizen of the United States and a U.S. resident for at least 14 years is eligible to be elected president. Because the Constitution does not mention criminal records, a person indicted or convicted of a felony would not be barred from serving in the role so long as he or she meets the other requirements. …
So, no worries. No need for violent demonstrations ala January 6.
It is important that conviction for a crimeshould not be a bar to hoding office or voting. It would then become too easy to charge your opponents with crimes, either real crimes or “crimes” in an attempt to stop un-convicted criminals in high office from crimes against the people.
i have no need or desire to see Trump convicted, especially of a silly crime like lying about sex. But I sure don’t want to see him President again. Or any of the un-convicted evil men whose career has been energized by the evil in us aroused by Trump’s election.
If Trump illegally removed official records, would he be barred from future office?
NY Times – August 9, 2022
The F.B.I. search of former President Donald J. Trump’s residence in Florida has raised the question of whether the criminal investigation could lead to legally blocking him from becoming president again, even if he decides to run in the 2024 election.
Any conviction under one particular criminal law that appears to relate to the investigation includes an unusual penalty: disqualification from holding any federal office.
But there is reason for caution before concluding that if Mr. Trump were to be charged and convicted under that law, he could not legally return to the White House even if voters wanted him to. …
… the law that has attracted particular attention is Section 2071 of Title 18 of the United States Code, which makes it a crime if someone who has custody of government documents or records “willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies or destroys” them. Section 2071 is not limited to classified information.
If convicted under that law, defendants can be fined up to $2,000 and sentenced to prison for up to three years. In addition, the statute says, if they are currently in a federal office, they “shall forfeit” that office, and … they shall “be disqualified from holding” any federal office. …
Seems like that would include flushing official ndocuments down the toilet while occupying the White House.
It’s all about him…
Trump Puts His Legal Peril at Center of First Big Rally for 2024
NY Times – March 26
Former President Donald J. Trump spent much of his first major political rally of the 2024 campaign portraying his expected indictment by a New York grand jury as a result of what he claimed was a Democratic conspiracy to persecute him, arguing wildly that the United States was turning into a “banana republic.”
As a crowd in Waco, Texas, waved red-and-white signs with the words “Witch Hunt” behind him, Mr. Trump devoted long stretches of his speech to his own legal jeopardy rather than his vision for a second term, casting himself as a victim of “weaponization” of the justice system.
“The abuses of power that we’re currently witnessing at all levels of government will go down as among the most shameful, corrupt and depraved chapters in all of American history,” he said.
The speech underscored how Mr. Trump tends to frame the nation’s broader political stakes heavily around whatever issues personally affect him the most. Last year, he sought to make his lies about fraud in his 2020 election defeat the most pressing issue of the midterms. On Saturday, he called the “weaponization of our justice system” the “central issue of our time.”
Lamenting all the investigations he has faced in the last eight years that have — to date — not resulted in charges, Mr. Trump claimed that his legal predicament “probably makes me the most innocent man in the history of our country.” …
… Mr. Trump reserved some fire for his leading rival in the polls for the 2024 Republican nomination, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who has not announced a campaign yet. “He’s dropping like a rock,” Mr. Trump said, pointing to his increased edge over Mr. DeSantis in recent surveys.
He also argued that the greatest threat to the United States was not China or Russia but top American politicians, among them President Biden, Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who Mr. Trump said were “poisoning” the nation. …
The rally featured one new twist: the playing of “Justice for All,” a song featuring the J6 Prison Choir, which is made up of men who were imprisoned for their part in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
The song, which topped some iTunes download charts, is part of a broader attempt by Mr. Trump and his allies to reframe the riot and the effort to overturn the election as patriotic. The track features the men singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” while Mr. Trump recites the Pledge of Allegiance. …