Patterico's Pontifications

12/9/2018

Andrew C. McCarthy: Trump Is “Very Likely” to Be Indicted

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:22 pm



Andrew C. Carthy has issued a very surprising opinion: that Donald Trump is “very likely to be indicted” on a campaign finance violation:

The major takeaway from the 40-page sentencing memorandum filed by federal prosecutors Friday for Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney, is this: The president is very likely to be indicted on a charge of violating federal campaign finance laws.

It has been obvious for some time that President Trump is the principal subject of the investigation still being conducted by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Cohen earlier pleaded guilty to multiple counts of business and tax fraud, violating campaign finance law, and making false statements to Congress regarding unsuccessful efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Yes, Cohen has stated he did the hands-on work in orchestrating hush-money payments to two women who claim to have had sexual liaisons with Trump many years ago (liaisons Trump denies).

But when Cohen pleaded guilty in August, prosecutors induced him to make an extraordinary statement in open court: the payments to the women were made “in coordination with and at the direction of” the candidate for federal office – Donald Trump.

Prosecutors would not have done this if the president was not on their radar screen.

I can’t say I agree, especially given the guidance that the Justice Department still follows on the question of indicting a sitting president:

The indictment or cnminal prosecution of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions.

Attachment:

op-olc-v024-p0222_0.pdf

In the .pdf, the DoJ circa 2000 takes another look at the DoJ’s 1973 opinion concluding that DoJ should not indict a sitting president, and agrees with it. Here is what McCarthy says about that:

Justice Department guidance holds that a sitting president may not be indicted. If prosecutors in the Southern District of New York believe they have a case against the president, must they hold off until after he is out of office?

If President Trump were to win re-election, he would not be out of office until 2024, when the five-year statute of limitations on a 2016 offense would have lapsed.

More importantly, do campaign finance violations qualify as “high crimes and misdemeanors,” which is the constitutional standard for impeachment? It is hard to imagine an infraction that the Justice Department often elects not to prosecute is sufficiently egregious to rise to that level, but the debate on this point between partisans would be intense.

Those are all questions for another day. The point for this day is that the Cohen case in New York City is not about Cohen. The president is in peril of being charged.

I don’t see how this set of questions takes guidance that no indictment should be pursued, and turns it into a “very likely” event.

If McCarthy is going to maintain this position, he needs to explain this better.

P.S. To me, one of the major takeaways of the past few days is to emphasize the national security risk that Trump’s presidency represents. Think about it: Michael Cohen and the Russian government have now confirmed that Cohen lied to Congress about the extent and duration of Cohen’s contacts with the Kremlin on behalf of the Trump Organization to pursue Trump Tower Moscow, during the Trump/Hillary general election season. What this means is that, when Cohen lied to Congress on behalf of Donald Trump, not only did Trump know Cohen had lied, but the Kremlin did as well — even as the public was kept in the dark.

This is almost the definition of a national security risk. And, together with the Russians’ knowledge of earlier public lies by Michael Flynn, it could help to explain Donald Trump’s curious, persistent, and almost pathological refusal to criticize Vladimir Putin, for anything.

P.P.S. But does any of this matter to Trump superfans? Trump is betting it doesn’t:

That’s a pretty good bet, as the comments from Trump superfans in the comments below will likely demonstrate.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Sunday Afternoon Music: A Selection from Handel’s Messiah

Filed under: General,Music — Patterico @ 12:36 pm



As you will remember from my Bach cantata post this morning, today’s Gospel reading is Luke 3:1-6:

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.

And all people will see God’s salvation.’”

With that passage being today’s message, I did not want to let the day pass without sharing with you this selection from Handel’s Messiah:

Ev’ry valley shall be exalted, and ev’ry moutain and hill made low; the crooked straight and the rough places plain.

Note at places like 1:19 when the tenor sings “the crooked straight.” The melodic line for the word “crooked” is crooked; the melodic line for the word “straight” is straight (a single note, held).

Handel’s Messiah will be performed on December 16 at Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles. I’ll be there.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 132

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am



John the Baptist

It is the second Sunday of Advent. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn” (Prepare the paths, prepare the road).

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 3:1-6:

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.’”

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words:

Prepare the paths, prepare the road!
Prepare the paths,
and make the flagstones
in faith and life
completely level for the Highest,
Messiah approaches!

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


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