Patterico's Pontifications

11/24/2020

Should Trump Be Prosecuted? A Mueller Prosecutor Says Yes

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



I have already said that I think Trump should be prosecuted after he leaves office, if prosecutors believe a case is warranted. His numerous acts of obstruction are documented in the Mueller report and include directing his White House counsel Don McGahn to prepare a false memorandum documenting a lie about whether Trump had ordered McGahn to fire Mueller. (He had but wanted McGahn to say he hadn’t.) Trump also directed Michael Cohen to make payments to porn stars to hush them up during his campaign about his sexual dalliances with them from years before. These payments constituted campaign finance violations, acts for which Cohen was himself prosecuted. If the person who made the payment should be prosecuted, so should the person who ordered the payment. If presidents and former presidents are never prosecuted for crimes they commit, they become above the law, and are in this sense like kings.

Andrew Weissmann, one of the Mueller prosecutors, agrees in an op-ed published in the New York Times:

[A]s painful and hard as it may be for the country, I believe the next attorney general should investigate Mr. Trump and, if warranted, prosecute him for potential federal crimes.

. . . .

The evidence against Mr. Trump includes the testimony of Don McGahn, Mr. Trump’s former White House counsel, who detailed how the president ordered the firing of the special counsel and how when that effort was reported in the press, Mr. Trump beseeched Mr. McGahn to deny publicly the truth and, for safe measure, memorialize that falsity in a written memorandum.

The evidence includes Mr. Trump’s efforts to influence the outcome of a deliberating jury in the Manafort trial and his holding out the hope for a pardon to thwart witnesses from cooperating with our investigation. Can anyone even fathom a legitimate reason to dangle a pardon?

His potential criminal liability goes further, to actions before taking office. The Manhattan district attorney is by all appearances conducting a classic white-collar investigation into tax and bank fraud, and the New York attorney general is engaged in a civil investigation into similar allegations, which could quickly turn into a criminal inquiry.

Weissman says it would put the president above the law to immunize him for all his crimes, especially since some of them were committed before he was elected:

Because some of the activities in question predated his presidency, it would be untenable to permit Mr. Trump’s winning a federal election to immunize him from consequences for earlier crimes. We would not countenance that result if a former president was found to have committed a serious violent crime.

Sweeping under the rug Mr. Trump’s federal obstruction would be worse still. The precedent set for not deterring a president’s obstruction of a special counsel investigation would be too costly: It would make any future special counsel investigation toothless and set the presidency de facto above the law. For those who point to the pardon of Richard Nixon by Gerald Ford as precedent for simply looking forward, that is not analogous: Mr. Nixon paid a very heavy price by resigning from the presidency in disgrace for his conduct.

Also, that pardon was wrong — I know, an unpopular view.

Weissmann’s conclusion: “In short, being president should mean you are more accountable, not less, to the rule of law.”

That has not been the case under Donald Trump, and it is one of the key reasons I voted against him. It has to change.

145 Responses to “Should Trump Be Prosecuted? A Mueller Prosecutor Says Yes”

  1. If presidents and former presidents are never prosecuted for crimes they commit, they become above the law, and are in this sense like kings.

    Unlike prosecutors like Weissmann, these are kings who face the voters every four years. Prosecutors who contour the law as if it were silly putty, for partisan ends, are the kings who put themselves above the law.

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  2. these are kings who face the voters every four years.

    We came too close to that not really being the case. Trump is still trying, and tried very hard, to damage the idea that if the voters reject Trump that Trump has no say in the matter. He tried to steal the election. Trump was exactly what nevertrumpers claimed he was.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  3. : “In short, being president should mean you are more accountable, not less, to the rule of law.”

    And the post details just a couple of examples of why. Presidents can do all kinds of things we can’t. They can completely obstruct justice just by pardoning criminals like Marc Rich or Roger Stone. They can even have people killed in secret. they can send the most advanced war machines to the worst people in the world. They can reveal secrets that undermine our allies. The power is so great, even with oversight, and usually that oversight requires some patriotic cooperation. A corrupt president is beyond the US Constitution’s ability to protect the country. It was written in a different time, and compared to an actual kind, perhaps it felt a lot more powerful than it does today, when we all accept that our highest leader is our servant, and if we don’t want him to be our leader, he has no say in the matter.

    Trump’s desperate effort to steal the election must be the final word on any notion of lenience and ‘move on dot org’ attitudes. Anything less than throwing the book at him is cowardice. It would empower the next tyrant, it would set precedents we would pay for. Imagine the next corrupt president just citing ‘but Trump got away with much worse’ every time he was challenged. It would happen all the time.

    But if Trump didn’t get away with it, America gains at least a little something from these four terrible years of decline. We gain deterrence and limited government. It’s something any conservative should cheer, except the conservative movement is very confused right now, more of a celebrity tabloid movement than about any principle.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  4. “In short, being president should mean you are more accountable, not less, to the rule of law.”

    This idea is implicitly rejected, as regards Trump, by the people who have been demanding that we grant him extraordinary ethical indulgence because they like certain policies, or simply because they’ve persuaded themselves that he is the truest patriot in America, whatever he does. One of the core principles of Trumpism is that Trump is so very special that it’s wrong to hold him to normal rules and standards.

    Of course, the Trumpers will be far more punctilious in judging Biden.

    Radegunda (20775b)

  5. Trump’s desperate effort to steal the election must be the final word on any notion of lenience and ‘move on dot org’ attitudes.

    I think so too, now. On any charge that can be proven — Al Capone got sent up for tax evasion and not racketeering and murder.

    nk (1d9030)

  6. One thing we don’t need is a norm that says the president can break the law.

    Prosecute!

    Kyle (a00aa2)

  7. the conservative movement is very confused right now,

    Wasn’t long ago that conservatives were arguing, reasonably, that the great powers attached to the presidency mean we should insist on a high standard of integrity and selflessness in a president. Along came Donald Trump and his cult followers, and pretty soon most of the conservative commentariat was arguing that it’s superficial to worry about “personality” — i.e. what they used to call “character” — instead of policy alone. Many of the Trumpers have gone beyond that to assert that only someone as ethically deficient as Trump could possibly achieve the virtuous policies they want.

    Radegunda (20775b)

  8. One thing we don’t need is a norm that says the president can break the law.

    One thing we don’t need are presidents looking over their shoulder wondering if the decision they make will provoke side eye from an unelected prosecutor.

    Do you think that only happens when a president considers payments to a hooker?

    The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder https://www.amazon.com/dp/159315481X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabc_7puVFbPCAA1W2

    See also: enhanced interrogation techniques.

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  9. Trump’s desperate effort to steal the election must be the final word on any notion of lenience

    If he had done nothing else terribly objectionable in the last four years, this alone should have been enough to cause a mass defection from the Trumper ranks.

    Among the Trump defenders are people who have condemned left-wing leaders who get elected and then use their power to make themselves immune from being voted out. One might think they would notice that Trump has tried something like that, after he said that being president for life would be a great thing and that he deserves a third term because people were mean to him. But it seems that some of them would be comfortable with letting Trump be president as long as he wants.

    Radegunda (20775b)

  10. I think so too, now. On any charge that can be proven — Al Capone got sent up for tax evasion and not racketeering and murder.

    nk (1d9030) — 11/24/2020 @ 9:26 am

    I know the guys demanding Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton be locked up will also be saying this it is ‘derangement’ to do what has to be done with Trump. But it still has to be done.

    The good thing is that Trump’s a snitch. He’s stabbed so many people in the back over the years. That means that every bump in Trump’s legal road will yield accidental verification. After a few years of prosecutions, the nation will 90% accept Trump was a corrupt traitor, and 10% will claim every pixel on the internet is controlled by the joooooos to confuse them.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  11. Patterico,
    I’ve come around to your POV on this. (So jot that one down for the next time you wonder if your writing ever changed someone’s mind.)

    What do you think the public reaction and messaging to such a prosecution would be? Assuming Biden did the easy and correct thing and refused to comment on the investigation and trial the press would begin asking questions of the DOJ. Trump will almost certainly claim any investigation or prosecution is politically motivated and someone will need to lay out the principled case. Would you suggest that be left to 3rd parties or have the DOJ speak to it?

    I think what I’m getting at is while the right thing to do is treat Trump like any other citizen he’s not. He’s a former president and the details and principles of what’s going on needs to be explained to people who don’t have a deep background with the law.
    Democracy works because of the consent of the governed. A large portion are will have legitimate concerns that should be addressed. I know the details matter but in your mind what’s the best way to address them?

    Time123 (ae9d89)

  12. “In short, being president should mean you are more accountable, not less, to the rule of law.”

    That this is so difficult for Trump supporters is telling. No president should be given a pass because we feel loyalty to him, or because we have placed him on a pedestal. If anything, I think we should make an effort to reserve the emotional reaction we have to anyone in the Oval Office for actual loved ones. This idolizing of presidents is just wrong-headed, and sets loyalists up to look the other way when the very thing voters from both sides of the aisle need to be doing all the time with every president is dispassionately scrutinizing every decision and claim made and then holding him/her accountable. If we allow that presidents are not to be held accountable because of who they are and because we have turned them into some sort of idol, then we have chosen to compromise any guiding principles and rule of law. No one in such a unique position of power deserves anything but to be held accountable.

    Dana (6995e0)

  13. One thing we need is presidents looking over their shoulders wondering if the decisions they make will violate the Constitution or our laws.

    DRJ (aede82)

  14. One thing we don’t need are presidents looking over their shoulder wondering if the decision they make will provoke side eye from an unelected prosecutor.

    One thing we do need are presidents looking over their shoulders knowing that voters (and prosecutors) are watching and will hold them accountable for any law-breaking or anti-Constitutional decisions they might make.

    Dana (6995e0)

  15. One thing we don’t need is a norm that says the president can break the law.

    One thing we don’t need are presidents looking over their shoulder wondering if the decision they make will provoke side eye from an unelected prosecutor.

    Do you think that only happens when a president considers payments to a hooker?

    The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder https://www.amazon.com/dp/159315481X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabc_7puVFbPCAA1W2

    See also: enhanced interrogation techniques.

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67) — 11/24/2020 @ 9:37 am

    Except for the swipe and prosecutors I agree strongly with the bolded portion. Criminalizing policy differences would be terrible for our country. But rendering elected officials above the law would also be terrible for our country. Had Bush chosen to have the skin peeled from a suspects feet, had forced them to sit on a wooden horse as a means of interrogation he should absolutely have been prosecuted. Personally I would put water boarding on the into that same category, but I know that’s a matter of dispute and I guess who much torture is OK is a policy dispute.

    But trying to get people to lie for you in order to stymie a legitimate investigation isn’t a policy dispute. If there’s sufficient evidence to convince a Jury they should prosecute Trump.

    Time123 (ae9d89)

  16. One thing we need is presidents looking over their shoulders wondering if the decisions they make will violate the Constitution or our laws.

    DRJ, it’s revealing how you worded this, replacing my intentional use of “unelected prosecutor” with “Constitution or our laws”, as if you think they are interchangeable. That there is a significant segment here who believes they are the same was precisely my point.

    I’m against presidents violating the Constitution and our laws. They face voters and impeachment, and that’s the remedy. However imperfect, it’s better than the alternatives.

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  17. Aren’t prosecutors generally hired by someone who was elected though? And if the prosecution is truly unjust, we have a system to remedy that. Nifong probably ruined several lives, but I bet he didn’t ruin the lives of millionaires with their own fleet of lawyers.

    I’m against presidents violating the Constitution and our laws. They face voters and impeachment, and that’s the remedy. However imperfect, it’s better than the alternatives.

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67) — 11/24/2020 @ 9:55 am

    That doesn’t work. Trump proved it. We never had a president nearly as awful before, but now we know. The president can just short circuit the impeachment investigation. He can refuse peaceful transition of power. He can convince millions the election he knows he lost was rigged against him. So no, votes and impeachment are not enough, and really, they are just intended to remove a president. If a president breaks the law seriously there should be prosecution after the voters remove Trump.

    This idea that Trump is above the law because the voters can just remove him is dishonest. No one who said this condemned Trump for wanting his opponents put in prison. BnP I challenge you to show you really mean what you’re saying. Show us your condemnation of Trump demanding Biden or Obama or Hillary be locked up. Trump who asked his AG “where are all the arrests?” has a lot of fans who pretend they have a problem with politicized prosecutions, who pretend it’s Trump’s critics who did what Trump and his fans were doing for the past four years.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  18. What I see here is a desire to prosecute a president you don’t like, as opposed to prosecuting presidents who “violate the Constitution or our laws.”

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  19. That this is so difficult for Trump supporters is telling. No president should be given a pass because we feel loyalty to him, or because we have placed him on a pedestal. If anything, I think we should make an effort to reserve the emotional reaction we have to anyone in the Oval Office for actual loved ones. This idolizing of presidents is just wrong-headed, and sets loyalists up to look the other way when the very thing voters from both sides of the aisle need to be doing all the time with every president is dispassionately scrutinizing every decision and claim made and then holding him/her accountable. If we allow that presidents are not to be held accountable because of who they are and because we have turned them into some sort of idol, then we have chosen to compromise any guiding principles and rule of law. No one in such a unique position of power deserves anything but to be held accountable.

    Dana, I think you’re mischaracterizing most Trump supporters here. I think they would say something like;

    It’s not about giving Trump a pass because I don’t accept that he’s done anything wrong. First, the investigation he’s accused of obstructing was entirely illegitimate, maybe he committed some technical violation but morally and ethically I see nothing wrong with that.

    Second it’s about applying the same process to him that was used to justify not holding the the Dem’s accountable for the horrible things I know they did; Bengazi, HRC emails, Fast and Furious, or the tax audits of conservatives. From what I see the government only applies the rules in this way to my team and I don’t accept that their application to Trump would be motived by an impartial desire to punish wrong doing. If you investigate and try Trump I’m going to assume it’s entirely about payback.

    If any Trump supporter would like to comment on the accuracy of my summation I would welcome the feedback.

    Time123 (ae9d89)

  20. One thing we need is presidents looking over their shoulders wondering if the decisions they make will violate the Constitution or our laws.

    DRJ, it’s revealing how you worded this, replacing my intentional use of “unelected prosecutor” with “Constitution or our laws”, as if you think they are interchangeable. That there is a significant segment here who believes they are the same was precisely my point.

    I’m against presidents violating the Constitution and our laws. They face voters and impeachment, and that’s the remedy. However imperfect, it’s better than the alternatives.

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67) — 11/24/2020 @ 9:55 am

    Do you see any circumstances where an ex-president should be prosecuted?

    Time123 (ae9d89)

  21. Edit to 19, where I said Dana, I think you’re mischaracterizing most Trump supporters here. I meant Dana, I think you’re mischaracterizing most Trump supporters in the bolded part of your comment.

    Time123 (ae9d89)

  22. Do you see any circumstances where an ex-president should be prosecuted?

    For acts committed while president, no.

    Go ahead with any ridiculous hypotheticals, if that’s how you want to respond. Still, no.

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  23. DRJ, it’s revealing how you worded this, replacing my intentional use of “unelected prosecutor” with “Constitution or our laws”, as if you think they are interchangeable. That there is a significant segment here who believes they are the same was precisely my point.

    You see my statement as revealing but you failed to see my point. I care about a president’s desire/ability to make sure he carries out an agenda in ways that conform to the Constitution and our laws. You care about outside forces that might interfere with a president’s ability to carry out an agenda. Presidents have tremendous power and resources, including legal resources. They should not feel like the only thing stopping them from doing what they want is impeachment.

    DRJ (aede82)

  24. Bartels surveyed respondents regarding four statements which, taken together, read like a blueprint for Trump: (Link)

    * The traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it.
    * A time will come when patriotic Americans have to take the law into their own hands.
    * Strong leaders sometimes have to bend the rules in order to get things done.
    * It is hard to trust the results of elections when so many people will vote for anyone who offers a handout.
    Reports Bump: “Most Republicans and Republican-leaning independents agreed with the first statement. . . . Nearly three-quarters agreed that election results should be treated with skepticism.” Republicans and Republican-leaning independents were also “significantly more likely to say they agreed with the other two statements than that they disagreed.”

    So, today’s Republican voters are indeed more inclined to believe that “strong leaders” should be given indulgence to “bend the rules.”
    As for trusting elections, note that the statement didn’t say anything about fraud; it’s only about the reasons for voters’ choices. While I’m not a big fan of the strategy of buying some people’s votes with other people’s money, I find it disturbing that so many people would take the position that elections are not really legitimate if people they disfavor get elected, and for reasons they disapprove of.

    Radegunda (20775b)

  25. @22, thank you for the response. I didn’t put a list of increasingly outrageous hypotheticals in the original comment because I know you’re smart enough to think through the open ended question and answer that directly.

    How about acts committed before taking office, such as the campaign finance issue Cohen plead guilty to? Is that timeframe fair game? Or are you including the run as part of when they should be immune?

    Time123 (441f53)

  26. Time123,

    Do you think, if prosecutors find that prosecution is warranted, that there won’t be any pushback – in substantial numbers – by Trump’s base?

    Dana (6995e0)

  27. Go ahead with any ridiculous hypotheticals, if that’s how you want to respond. Still, no.

    beer ‘n pretzels

    So, while he is still President, Trump shoots an unarmed man on Fifth Avenue and no prosecution? The only remedy is impeachment? That is not a serious position.

    DRJ (aede82)

  28. Trump never stopped calling for Obama or Biden to be prosecuted:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vojJOU3GClg&ab_channel=FoxBusiness

    Trump was both trying to steal the election and put his opponents in prison, dictator style. I know Trump and fans have attempted to immunize themselves from this issue by calling Trump’s critics deranged nuts who compare Trump to people who do the stuff Trump wants to do. But it’s not deranged at all to have a problem with this. I don’t recall AG Barr being elected.

    I do recall Trump using this ‘elect the prosecutor you want’ attitude when he called Mexicans rapists and called for a ban on Muslims. That’s when I really decided I despised him, years ago.

    All the prosecutors I know actually do serve at the pleasure of someone who was elected. So it’s a dumb point about power from a faction that likes to steal elections. But do we really want prosecutors demonizing a group of people and then using fear to win elections, or do we want prosecutors to be impartial and pursue justice?

    I think prosecutors should be more like judges in their discretion, less like congressmen.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  29. Time123,

    Do you think, if prosecutors find that prosecution is warranted, that there won’t be any pushback – in substantial numbers – by Trump’s base?

    Dana (6995e0) — 11/24/2020 @ 10:16 am

    There will be massive pushback by Trump supporters and I don’t expect it to be limited in any way. They will point to any coincidence or complication as proof of a vast conspiracy. They will mischaracterize and lie freely. There will be a horde of clownish grifters trying to leverage this for fundraising. Trump and his kids will use this a fuel for messaging campaign that ‘they’ are out to get him for many reasons, including keeping public attention. Supporting whatever nonsense they come up with will become a loyalty test for GOP officials and will likely be used a proof that Biden has no interest in working with the GOP.

    The details will be far more interesting then other political news and will be the main story they talk about.

    Was it 3 or 4 days ago that Trump’s lawyers laid out a wild conspiracy about Hugo Chavez and Dominion voting machines? I see no reason for Trump and his entourage of deranged B-list lawyers to be any less crazy were he prosecuted.

    Time123 (ae9d89)

  30. Weissmann’s conclusion: “In short, being president should mean you are more accountable, not less, to the rule of law.”

    Quaint but strains credibility. Especially as we’re all supposed to be ‘equal’ before the law. The ‘rule of law’ means little to Americans when they’ve seen so many over the decades get convicted, then get off– or just get away with it, period. Justice is everything. And how justice gets administered can be a strange but wonderful process to behold. You could ask Hillary Clinton– or better still, The Big Dick– but he’s dead.

    Still, Lori Loughlin will do more time in the pokie than Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew ever did– or Donald Trump ever will. But you’ll pay your parking tickets.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  31. Exactly, Time123 @ 29. And that is why I said, “no president should be given a pass because we feel loyalty to him, or because we have placed him on a pedestal.” His loyal base will object strenuously to any charge against him – no matter the evidence. They will see it as anything but just. And why they will react like that is because they have continually – ever since he started campaigning in 2016 – put him on a pedestal and pledged their loyalty to him. In their eyes, he has done nothing wrong, and anything we might point to as proof that he has is excused, or as you put it, blamed on X. This is my point and I think it is right. Trump’s base has, for 4 years, idolized this guy, put him on a pedestal, and remained loyal to him no matter what he has done.

    Dana (6995e0)

  32. The Constitution did not envision impeachment as the sole remedy for crimes in office, and no immunity neither:

    Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States; but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law. — Article I, Section 3, Clause 7.

    nk (1d9030)

  33. How about acts committed before taking office, such as the campaign finance issue Cohen plead guilty to?

    Assuming there’s merit to the case, and IANAL so I don’t know, that’s fair game.

    But if violations by others are ignored, or broomed as “no serious prosecutor would bring such a case”, let’s not then see hand waving as “whaddabout”.

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  34. @5. Al Capone got sent up for tax evasion and not racketeering and murder.

    So did Vice President Spiro Agnew. Except Al went to the pokie; Spiro did not:

    ‘On October 10, 1973, Agnew appeared before the federal court in Baltimore, and pleaded nolo contendere (no contest) to one felony charge, tax evasion, for the year 1967. AG Eliot Richardson agreed that there would be no further prosecution of Agnew, and released a 40-page summary of the evidence. Agnew was fined $10,000 and placed on three years’ unsupervised probation. At the same time, Agnew submitted a formal letter of resignation to the Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, and sent a letter to Nixon stating he was resigning in the best interest of the nation.’ – source, wikiMTsuit

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiro_Agnew

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  35. Dana,
    I think we mostly agree. But when you wrote

    “no president should be given a pass because we feel loyalty to him, or because we have placed him on a pedestal

    I think you mischaracterized the motivation of trump supporters.

    I think they legitimately think what I’ve written below. I’m not selling their POV as accurate. I’m just trying to state it in a way that they would view as legitimate.

    Beer’n’pretzels, does this in any was accurately summarize your views?

    “It’s not about giving Trump a pass because I don’t accept that he’s done anything wrong. First, the investigation he’s accused of obstructing was illegitimate, maybe he committed some technical violation but morally and ethically I see nothing wrong with that.

    Second it’s about applying the same process to him that was used to justify not holding the the Dem’s accountable for the horrible things they did; Bengazi, HRC emails, Fast and Furious, or the tax audits of conservatives. From what I see the government only applies the rules in this way to the GOP and I don’t accept that their application to Trump would be motived by an impartial desire to punish wrong doing. If you investigate and try Trump I’m going to assume it’s about payback and how you feel about him personally.”

    Time123 (441f53)

  36. Until Nov. 3, I was of the opinion that he should not be prosecuted, that doing so would only exacerbate animosities and cause even greater division in our already fractured society. But seeing the post-election Trump and his attempt to overthrow a free and fair election has changed my mind. This is not harmless buffoonery we’ve been seeing these past three weeks. It is subversion, and threatens our democracy. And it casts his previous malfeasance in an entirely different light.

    Roger (5daebb)

  37. Time123, I’m saying that it’s precisely because they have put this particular President on a pedestal that they believe he can do no wrong. It’s a question of what motivates their unyielding defense, no matter what.

    We may have to agree to disagree.

    Dana (6995e0)

  38. The Empire Strikes Back:

    Biden introduces first team of Politburo players.

    Game on.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  39. @37, Dana, so long as I got my point across I’m content. It’s reasonable for 2 people to reach different conclusions.

    Time123 (ae9d89)

  40. But if violations by others are ignored, or broomed as “no serious prosecutor would bring such a case”, let’s not then see hand waving as “whaddabout”.

    Cohen was prosecuted and plead guilty, so there is no “whaddabout”. Trump is the only one from those incidents that was not prosecuted. Even AMI was investigated, given immunity, and only avoided prosecution because it decided not to accept reimbursement of the funds it paid.

    The only real “whaddabout” is why Trump’s AG Barr was so interested in shifting the DOJ’s position on campaign finance law following Cohen’s case to, presumably, protect Trump from prosecution. You know, one of those “prosecutors who contour the law as if it were silly putty, for partisan ends, are the kings who put themselves above the law.”

    DRJ (aede82)

  41. 5. nk (1d9030) — 11/24/2020 @ 9:26 am

    . Al Capone got sent up for tax evasion and not racketeering and murder.

    It was a plea bargain, but Al Capone got double crossed.

    Sammy Finkelman (f2d620)

  42. Biden introduces first team of Politburo players.

    Game on.

    DCSCA (797bc0) — 11/24/2020 @ 10:50 am

    All these warnings that Biden was going to appoint a bunch of commies and ruin the economy seem to be false (though I think they were reasonable concerns).

    So far Biden’s working really hard to be centrist, making the Liz Warren and Bernie Bro wings frustrated, but American business is responding well. My IRA is too.

    I bought him, I own him. Beats a quarter million coffins as far as that goes.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  43. Well said, Roger 36.

    DRJ (aede82)

  44. If Trump had paid through his campaign, he could have been prosecuted for that

    I don;t believe that Trump “directed” Michael Cohen to make the payment in any more than the most general way. Cohen would have objected to using his own money had Trump suggested that.

    Also, on the tape, Trump simply wants to write a check to the National Enquirer and Cohen tells him no.

    Sammy Finkelman (f2d620)

  45. Cohen was more interested in paying off Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal than Trump was. Trump didn;t even sign that “settlement.”

    Sammy Finkelman (f2d620)

  46. BnP, nk’s got a point. The constitution sees impeachment as a separate solution from criminal liability. It would be pretty crazy to say Joe Biden cannot be prosecuted for anything he does as president. No patriot should want their president to be that powerful. That’s how powerful Saddam Hussein wanted to be.

    Just imagine Obama really did install a deep state to screw with Trump. you’re saying that’s Obama’s legitimate power and there’s not a thing we can do about it. why?

    Dustin (4237e0)

  47. I wonder what Patterico views as the BEST case for obstruction….or whether there is a cumulative effect that he would think would be persuasive to a jury. The reality is that 70M+ voters broadly understand what Trump did….and certainly did not think they were voting for a criminal. Same with the all-but-Romney Party voting to not impeach. I imagine Joe-Trumper would consider these examples as overly technical….with a lot of reasonable doubt about intent. How much does such a prosecution further divide and paralyze the body politic…and keep Trump relevant? In the end, does it reinforce “the rule of law” or does it cause people to have less respect for the law…because of the inevitable political baggage? I’m more worried that 70M+ people don’t really care that his ethics are at minimum….troubling…and more likely disqualifying from a position of such trust. I vote for him to just fade away….with the threat of prosecution being the carrot to keep him in retirement.

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  48. “It is subversion, and threatens our democracy. And it casts his previous malfeasance in an entirely different light”

    Despicable certainly….but it’s not illegal to launch lawsuits or use the bully pulpit to argue…well something I guess. This should reinforce to his voters that character matters….you’re not just able to vote for policies….you get the whole man. And there’s no excuses for not knowing better.

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  49. Looking forward to the CNN split-screen at 12:01 on January 20, with Biden being sworn in while SDNY executes its Trump Tower search warrants.

    “It appears they’ve seized the entire building as evidence, Wolf…”

    Dave (c15b91)

  50. I disagree with your lack of concern regarding campagn finance violations, Sammy. Consider these links: Search warrants, AMI’s catch and kill, and masked campaign spending.

    DRJ (aede82)

  51. A President swears an oath to uphold the Constitution, including to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” IMO undermining elections (not just his own but every office on the ballot) without evidence does not meet that standard.

    DRJ (aede82)

  52. RIO David Dinkins, aged 93.

    A nice man, but a bad mayor. His wife of 67 years, Joyce, died last month, in October.

    Sammy Finkelman (f2d620)

  53. Claims to have evidence that never materializes also raises the possibility of frivolous lawsuits, which is not a legitimate legal exercise. Our system lets people make claims fairly freely but they have to back them up or there can be consequences. A President has access to many legal resources because what he does in court matters, in practice and under the Constitution.

    DRJ (aede82)

  54. It would be pretty crazy to say Joe Biden cannot be prosecuted for anything he does as president. No patriot should want their president to be that powerful.

    This speaks to my underlying point at 12, and it’s a drum I’ve been beating forever. No matter who the president is, there need to be limits on their power and they need to be held fully accountable by voters at all times and from both sides of the aisle. They also need to know that they will be investigated for any lawbreaking or Constitutional violations, and prosecuted if warranted. Before being sworn in, every President-elect should fully understand and grasp that they are not above the law. I don’t think Trump ever understood that, nor does he still. Not really.

    Dana (6995e0)

  55. I can understand why Biden wouldn’t want his DOJ to prosecute Trump, for both political reasons and selfish reasons (he wouldn’t want to be prosecuted for crimes he committed in office, talk about blowback) but, to me, the rule of law is more important.
    I’m convinced. Prosecute Trump for his obstruction of justice and FEC felonies, and prosecute all future presidents who commit felonies while in office. No one is above the law.

    Paul Montagu (cbbfc4)

  56. Congressman seeks to have Rudolph Giuliani disbarred over attempts to overturn election

    Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.) filed complaints on Friday in five states against Giuliani and 22 other lawyers working with the Trump campaign, calling for them to be stripped of their law licenses for filing “frivolous” lawsuits and allegedly engaging in “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.”

    Dave (1bb933)

  57. 50. DRJ (aede82) — 11/24/2020 @ 11:29 am

    I disagree with your lack of concern regarding campagn finance violations, Sammy. Consider these links: Search warrants, AMI’s catch and kill, and masked campaign spending.

    They were campaign contributions for AMI because they didn;t have any other motive, but not for Donald Trump, who could have been accused of using campaign money for personal expenses if he’d routed any money for this through the campaign. Donald Trump had a personal motive even if you say it wasn’t the controlling one. AMI had none except to help Doaald Trump get elected. (the business reason wasn;t true) Therefore what they did was a campaign cntribution

    And Donald Trump did not solicit AMI to spend money on his behalf. ANd I don;t think Trump ever asked Michael Cohen to advance him $130,000. If he had, the reason Michael Coohen would have done it would have ebeen to keep his job – not to help Trump
    s campaign.

    Michael Cohen;s spending the $130,000 is either a campaign contribution by Michael Cohen (crazy) or an illegal unsecured loan by Michael Cohen to Donald Trump.

    Michael Cohen also got in trouble for the loan application he made to borrow the money because that overvalued taxi medallions, whose value had crashed. Michael Cohen deliberately sought to plead to be charged with campaign finance violations in the hopes of turning state’s evidence.

    Sammy Finkelman (f2d620)

  58. Trump’s “obstruction of justice” amounts to private conversations that never resulted in anything. He did want McGahn to lie it seems.

    Sammy Finkelman (f2d620)

  59. The complaint says that the Trump re-election campaign didn’t properly describe what they were spending money on. And it’s probably mainly frivolous.

    I wonder how many other campaigns can be accused of that, and if we were to start prosecuting people over that, would it be done evenly? and wouldn’t that discourage all but the most corrupt people from running for office (because they would gamble on being able to get through that legal minefield)

    Sammy Finkelman (f2d620)

  60. Trump’s “obstruction of justice” amounts to private conversations that never resulted in anything. He did want McGahn to lie it seems.

    No.

    Paul Montagu (cbbfc4)

  61. “I wonder how many other campaigns can be accused of that, and if we were to start prosecuting people over that, would it be done evenly? and wouldn’t that discourage all but the most corrupt people from running for office (because they would gamble on being able to get through that legal minefield)”
    _

    Pretty much.

    The main point of prosecuting Trump would not be for any real crimes, it would be to discourage any politician who plays hardball with the Dems from ever seeking high office.

    The cherry on the sundae would be bringing in McCabe and Comey to do the job.
    _

    harkin (8fadc8)

  62. Harkin,

    Do you think my comment at 35 is an accurate summary of your thoughts on this? What you said in 61 sounds close.

    Time123 (441f53)

  63. Sammy Dinkins helped exacerbate some terrible times in my childhood. He was a horrible mayor.

    The way some on here speak about Trump supporters really makes me wonder if you think of them as fellow citizens or enemies to be crushed.

    NJRob (10777c)

  64. The way some on here speak about Trump supporters really makes me wonder if you think of them as fellow citizens or enemies to be crushed.

    It’s never been in question: They are my fellow citizens, and within my family and close friends, they are people that I love. It will always be that way. And it is the same with my progressive friends and family.

    Dana (6995e0)

  65. @63, Fellow citizens. I spent a bunch of time this summer helping a buddy who is a moderate trump supporter fix his deck. Another friend helped us. He’s a huge trump supporter who thinks Flynn is hero being persecuted because he knew too much and that Sidney Powell has the goods. My in laws think Trump was sent by god, (literally) and I respect my father in law a ton.

    I think you’re a Trump supporter Rob, I also think you’re smart, well informed, patient and I enjoy talking with you.

    Time123 (ae9d89)

  66. Does -O stand for Oblivion, Sammy wrt Dinkin’s passing? And for those who want to tag the possible President Harris with such a sobriquet, I hope that she is more in the vein of Eugene Sawyer or David Paterson as far as AA one-termers go.

    urbanleftbehind (b1fbb0)

  67. Wilded on but hopefully not Whirlpooled, Rob?

    urbanleftbehind (b1fbb0)

  68. @42. The Empire Strikes Back:

    Just naming names isn’t Senate confirmation, D. And adding a ‘weatherman’ to your team is… entertaining.

    Wouldn’t expect him to name any sitting senators until after the Second Battle of the Alamo in Georgia when he gets a final body count.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  69. American business is responding well.

    30,000 Dow, probably due to Yellen at Treasury; Trump presser on t likely the shortest, briefest encounter in his entire life— if you don’t count Stormy. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  70. Like so many things involving Trump, this puts us in a position to choose between two bad options.

    * Prosecuting Trump will cement into the unwritten constitution the principle that outgoing administrations can, and *will*, and *should* be prosecuted by incoming administrations. The Trumpists will take it as an unfair partisan assault, and they will be bent on revenge, and they’ll bring the party with him.

    * Not prosecuting Trump will cement into the unwritten constitution the principle that the President can routinely violate the law and get away with it.

    Pick your poison.

    This is part of why we should never have elected him in the first place.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  71. @64 This

    At the same time, though, it’s really hard to hear your own relatives suggest that the best solution to their political differences with less conservative people is to shoot the people they disagree with.

    @70 How about the Biden administration prosecutes the Trump administration under the Trump principle. Trump said prosecuting the former administration could be done, so he’s the one that created the precedent and so his prosecution is his own fault in more ways than one.

    (I am not being serious. I am riffing off the fact that the Rs actually do edgecase things that Biden or some other D at some point suggested might be possible but didn’t do and then calling it after the D.)

    Nic (896fdf)

  72. Rudy Giuliani on David Dinkins.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  73. Suffered through The Dink’s NYC.

    At his passing, let’s just say he was no “How’m I doin'” Steady Eddie Koch.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  74. Prosecuting Trump will cement into the unwritten constitution the principle that outgoing administrations can, and *will*, and *should* be prosecuted by incoming administrations.

    President Trump called for the investigation of his predecessor and his 2016 campaign opponent. His DOJ obliged by investigating former Obama and Hillary Clinton officials (and herself) right up to the bitter end. There was just no “there there.”

    The Administration also refused to defend Hillary under the Westfall Act, to which she was entitled while being “investigated” by Judicial Watch and other organizations. The DOJ had no compunction to invoke the Act when Trump was sued for assault by Jean Carroll for an act that occurred decades ago.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  75. I know plenty of folks who support Trump but are great people who care about right and wrong, and would never condone stealing an election. Many of them just get information from charlatans and are badly manipulated on many matters ranging form Liberty University to the NRA. They think Trump was a victim of all this. They love their country and want their 401K to be alright. they thought biden was going to install a bunch of socialists and collapse the nation. I’ve seen Trump fanatics try to convince others of that over and over.

    Then there are the fanatics, fully aware they are ‘fighting’ and manipulating and twisting and distorting, at this point happily helping an effort to steal the election. Those guys deserve their paranoia about what others think of them. I am delighted they are asking. Next step is denying they ever supported Trump. that’s coming soon.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  76. if you don’t count Stormy. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0) — 11/24/2020 @ 1:32 pm

    LOL!

    Dustin (4237e0)

  77. I know plenty of folks who support Trump but are great people who care about right and wrong, and would never condone stealing an election. Many of them just get information from charlatans and are badly manipulated on many matters ranging form Liberty University to the NRA.

    Just this morning I ran across this quote from Julius Caesar, Dustin.

    “Men in general are quick to believe that which they wish to be true.”

    And over 2,000 years later we’re still dealing with this shortcoming in our natures. Verify, verify, verify.
    I have friends across the spectrum, from hardcore Trump supporters to hardcore Bernie Bros, and I’ve kept virtually all those friendships because they’re good people and good Americans. Some of them may be wrong or delusional in their politics, and some may think that about me, but they’re not the enemy.

    Paul Montagu (cbbfc4)

  78. Well said, Paul. and life is better when you’re friends with folks across spectrums because you can see that it’s not someone’s opinions or what side they are on that determines the kind of person they are (even though that is most of what we have access to when reading political commentary on blogs).

    Dustin (4237e0)

  79. Then there are the fanatics, fully aware they are ‘fighting’ and manipulating and twisting and distorting, at this point happily helping an effort to steal the election. Those guys deserve their paranoia about what others think of them. I am delighted they are asking. Next step is denying they ever supported Trump. that’s coming soon.

    Dustin (4237e0) — 11/24/2020 @ 2:05 pm

    Yes. Like those who say Russia stole the election in 2016 and the President was a Putin plant when they know that it’s a lie.

    NJRob (10777c)

  80. I’m not reflectively saying Andrew Wiessmann is wrong in this op-ed and I’ll get to his points in a bit.

    However, I wouldn’t trust Weissmann’s anything at face value. He’s one of the worst partisan hack in the history of partisan hackery. Some of ya’ll believe Bill Barr is bad… well lemme tell you about Weissmann…he’s much, much worse.

    The fact that this man was never held to account for his completely novel interpretation of the law when prosecuting Arthur Anderson, which led to the destruction of such company. Yeah, the SCOTUS threw out the conviction years later… but, the damage was done and lives were disasterly impacted. It’s a sordid, sad history that this man escapes accountability.

    I dare say, that had he not enjoyed qualified immunity, I doubt he would’ve prosecuted that case in the manner that he did.

    There’s a difference between good-faith, zealous prosecutions vs “win at all cost” OVERzealous prosecutions. Weissmann fit the latter profile in his career than the former.

    So, his op-ed advocating that Trump deserves to be prosecuted is simply rich. Per his op-ED:

    The evidence against Mr. Trump includes the testimony of Don McGahn, Mr. Trump’s former White House counsel, who detailed how the president ordered the firing of the special counsel and how when that effort was reported in the press, Mr. Trump beseeched Mr. McGahn to deny publicly the truth and, for safe measure, memorialize that falsity in a written memorandum.

    I struggle to see what LAWS were broken when asking your counsel to publicly lie and memorializing it in a written memorandum… what would a federal prosecutor do here? Politically, yes this is a scummy thing to do, no question. But, politicians and their flunkies like all the time.

    This is what I mean why the likes of Andrew Weissman and the rest of the lawfare crowd is so dangerous. They are extremely close to prosecuting the disfavored for political acts rather than clear penal violations.

    Literally criminalizing politics.

    The evidence includes Mr. Trump’s efforts to influence the outcome of a deliberating jury in the Manafort trial and his holding out the hope for a pardon to thwart witnesses from cooperating with our investigation. Can anyone even fathom a legitimate reason to dangle a pardon?

    At no point, did Weissman (or the Mueller report) provide evidence that this was communicated to Manafort. Or did I miss that?

    Keep in mind that the prosecutors MUST convince the jury beyond reasonable doubt… not what you believed it to be.

    His potential criminal liability goes further, to actions before taking office. The Manhattan district attorney is by all appearances conducting a classic white-collar investigation into tax and bank fraud, and the New York attorney general is engaged in a civil investigation into similar allegations, which could quickly turn into a criminal inquiry.

    Sure. If there’s clear cut violations, then those acts must be adjudicated in court. However, justice starts to lose meaning if such investigations are partisan in a nature. So, the balancing act here is this: Is it worth it? If the evidence are clear cut, and strong, then hell yes. If it’s weak, but the prosecutor want to look like a #ResistanceWarrior to score points. Then, they’re setting dangerous precedents that history won’t look to kindly.

    And, Pat… this made my eyes twitch:

    These payments constituted campaign finance violations, acts for which Cohen was himself prosecuted. If the person who made the payment should be prosecuted, so should the person who ordered the payment.

    The mere fact that Cohen plead guilty to that doesn’t necessarily mean that Trump is also guilty. Should we also factor in the Cohen cooperated with the government in order to mitigate his own punishment when agreeing to the plea deal?

    Right?

    All this means is that Cohen agreed to what the prosecutor charged him with. There was no vigorous defense in front of the Judge/Jury that the defendant could argue otherwise.

    Right?

    This wasn’t some “RICO” case whereby the prosecutor was seeking cooperation from a flunky to get a “bigger fish”. This was a prosecutor (via the SCO) squeezing Cohen for any derogatory information on Trump. (not saying if right or wrong, but that is what happened)

    …and if the full DOJ couldn’t secure a conviction on John Edwards on an even more egregious campaign finance violation, what gives you the assurance that in a hypothetical Trump vs US case that the government would prevail?

    whembly (a3f260)

  81. @19

    “It’s not about giving Trump a pass because I don’t accept that he’s done anything wrong. First, the investigation he’s accused of obstructing was entirely illegitimate, maybe he committed some technical violation but morally and ethically I see nothing wrong with that.

    Second it’s about applying the same process to him that was used to justify not holding the the Dem’s accountable for the horrible things I know they did; Bengazi, HRC emails, Fast and Furious, or the tax audits of conservatives. From what I see the government only applies the rules in this way to my team and I don’t accept that their application to Trump would be motived by an impartial desire to punish wrong doing. If you investigate and try Trump I’m going to assume it’s entirely about payback.”

    If any Trump supporter would like to comment on the accuracy of my summation I would welcome the feedback.

    Time123 (ae9d89) — 11/24/2020 @ 10:04 am

    Close.

    I know Trump has done wrong. I don’t believe they rose to “impeachment” level wrongs, but wrongs that should be challenged by the public/media/courts/etc.. nonetheless.

    There are double standards and I refuse to blindly accept one standard applied to “my side” while ignore the other side skates. I was one of those adherent who believe that “my side” ought to take the high road ALWAYS…and things will work out in the end.

    Now? I don’t believe that’s possible anymore.

    whembly (a3f260)

  82. @25

    How about acts committed before taking office,

    Absolutely.

    such as the campaign finance issue Cohen plead guilty to?

    Maybe. I simply reject what many assume that Trump is automatically guilty by virtue of a defendant accepting a plea bargain (driven by the prosecutor). Plus, campaign finance laws are funky as all hell.

    Is that timeframe fair game? Or are you including the run as part of when they should be immune?

    Time123 (441f53) — 11/24/2020 @ 10:15 am

    There are exceptions, and this is the general thrust of that OLC guidelines, Presidents enjoys quite a bit of protection during his tenure. If there are clear cut violations of criminal laws prior to office, the only recourse is either a) impeach him or b) wait till he’s out of office and prosecute then. I may be mistaken, but this protection doesn’t include civil violations (Bill Clinton got whacked in civil court for suborning perjury).

    whembly (a3f260)

  83. @27

    So, while he is still President, Trump shoots an unarmed man on Fifth Avenue and no prosecution? The only remedy is impeachment? That is not a serious position.

    DRJ (aede82) — 11/24/2020 @ 10:18 am

    Every. Single. DOJ. Prosecutor works for Trump. I can legally instruct them to stop investigating him or he can have them fired.

    It’ll be messy as all hell.

    But, Congress refusing to impeach a president over that? THAT is not a serious position.

    whembly (a3f260)

  84. Yes, the Biden administration should hold Trump accountable
    Philip Allen Lacovara, a former president of the D.C. Bar, served as counsel to the Watergate special prosecutor.

    After the final tumultuous months of the Nixon presidency, Gerald R. Ford decided to end the “long national nightmare” that was Watergate by pardoning his predecessor, thus sparing Richard M. Nixon from the dock where his senior aides awaited trial. Because I considered Ford’s pardon a serious mistake, I resigned in protest as the counsel to the Watergate special prosecutor. I hope that when President-elect Joe Biden assumes office, he will not repeat the same mistake.
    ……
    But one need not embark on a malicious hunt to identify serious criminal abuses by Trump and many of his closest aides. Their conduct has revealed a pattern of disregard for the normal standards of public order, including those embedded in federal criminal statutes. The issue, therefore, is whether it is sound public policy to ignore these offenses to try to avoid further political rancor. There are three reasons why I think we cannot ignore them.

    First……The Watergate special prosecutor was appointed to demonstrate that “no person is above the law” — even a president. As White House tapes revealed, Nixon falsely assured some of his co-conspirators that, “when the president does it, it isn’t illegal.” Trump has publicly advanced an even more sweeping claim: In resisting grand jury subpoenas issued by New York state authorities for his tax records, Trump declared that a president enjoys “absolute immunity” from even being investigated for possible crimes. ……
    ……
    Second, although this is not the space to catalogue the numerous avenues of potential prosecution, it is sufficient to note that the report by then-special counsel Robert S. Mueller III lists perhaps 10 or more incidents of criminal obstruction of justice by Trump. More than 1,000 former Justice Department prosecutors publicly asserted that, but for Trump’s position at the time, any other person who had engaged in such conduct would have be indicted. It would be irresponsible to conclude that such serious offenses also should be ignored after Trump leaves office.

    Third, the Constitution uniquely prescribes that a president must swear to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States.” This commitment dovetails with the primary duty of the president to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” The convergence between his duty and his oath imposes an obligation on the president to ensure that all laws of the United States, including its criminal laws, are enforced responsibly and equally against all persons. While prosecutors have some discretion about what charges to bring and even about whom to prosecute, it is no more permissible to conclude that former presidents should be excused from criminal culpability than it should be for former corrupt judges or pederast priests or bribe-taking television personalities.
    …….

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  85. @82 Addendum, I don’t think the OLC would shield the president for clear line criminal violations, like bribery and the like. I think that’s right.

    The whole Obstruction stuff from the Mueller report surmises that Trump *only* had criminal rationale for doing so. So, having a subordinate second-guessing the superior’s rationale on obstruction gets sticky fast.

    whembly (a3f260)

  86. But, Congress refusing to impeach a president over that? THAT is not a serious position.

    whembly (a3f260) — 11/24/2020 @ 3:12 pm

    This isn’t an accurate summary of DRJ’s point. Impeachment alone isn’t enough. That’s why the constitution explains that impeachment isn’t the only remedy… you still prosecute if appropriate. Trump’s attempt to steal the election has damaged the USA, perhaps damage that will be there for the rest of our lives. This is the kind of crime that almost is warfare.

    I don’t care if they put him away from parking tickets. They need to throw the book at him. It is irrelevant, and it’s also idiotic, to compare the situation to other presidents who didn’t try to steal an election. Trump isn’t Obama or Bush or Lincoln. He presents a unique situation and we want to keep Trump unique. Criminals should be afraid of the accountability and potential and just stay where they belong. In New York City.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  87. @84. Revisit and review the fate of heart-beat-away-Spiro Agnew.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  88. Don’t look for the ‘rule of law’ to prevail. Rather, envision a triumph of justice. Ask yourself- what would truly be justice for a fella like Trump.

    Divorce? Nah. Been there, done that. Twice.
    Bankruptcy? Nah. Been there, done that. Several times.
    Rejection? Well, even w/74 million votes, he was cancelled.
    Hair loss? Ah. Now we’re on to something.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  89. Maybe. I simply reject what many assume that Trump is automatically guilty by virtue of a defendant accepting a plea bargain (driven by the prosecutor). Plus, campaign finance laws are funky as all hell.

    Two good points, Whembly. Some of these laws are so tough to follow you could easily decide they were created to keep the riff-raff from challenging the well-connected. I do assume someone who pleas guilty is guilty but I respect the argument that Trump’s associates were innocent and simply didn’t know how to handle the stresses of a prosecution and were bullied into a guilty plea (this kind of spinelessness would help explain America’s decline in the word, particularly relative to Russia, which simply seems to be bullying Trump these days).

    That said, we have no better way to handle criminals than to give them a defense and a fair trial. If they say they are guilty when they aren’t, that’s a tough problem to solve. But we are worse off when we abandon the criminal justice system, especially for the extremely powerful, out of fear. I can see someone sympathetic to Trump’s ways being inclined to do that for a lot of reasons, but if we want America to be great, we have to be great.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  90. @86

    But, Congress refusing to impeach a president over that? THAT is not a serious position.

    whembly (a3f260) — 11/24/2020 @ 3:12 pm

    This isn’t an accurate summary of DRJ’s point. Impeachment alone isn’t enough. That’s why the constitution explains that impeachment isn’t the only remedy… you still prosecute if appropriate. Trump’s attempt to steal the election has damaged the USA, perhaps damage that will be there for the rest of our lives. This is the kind of crime that almost is warfare.

    There’s a pragmatic reason why impeachment is the only sure way.

    All of POTUS’ power flows through the office, and as such everyone works at the pleasure of the POTUS.

    Hypothetically, if a US prosecutor opens an investigation, there’s nothing stopping the POTUS from legally directing the prosecutor to stop such investigation or even firing the prosecutors.

    Yes, the prosecutor can REFUSE what they believe is an illegal command, but the prosecutor cannot refuse a legal order, or stay in position when POTUS doesn’t want them there in the first place. That include the Special Counsel Office as well, as it’s subservient to the head of the executive. Trump could’ve ended the SCO the moment Mueller was tapped.

    This is what they mean by POTUS’ “Unitary Theory” of the office and EVERY administration, regardless of party, advocated for that viewpoint.

    Politically, it *could* be bad, but again POTUS can clear out the DOJ to stop an investigation.

    Hence why the founders gave Congress the impeachment power where the justification can be political.

    I don’t care if they put him away from parking tickets. They need to throw the book at him. It is irrelevant, and it’s also idiotic, to compare the situation to other presidents who didn’t try to steal an election. Trump isn’t Obama or Bush or Lincoln. He presents a unique situation and we want to keep Trump unique. Criminals should be afraid of the accountability and potential and just stay where they belong. In New York City.

    Dustin (4237e0) — 11/24/2020 @ 3:34 pm

    In the whole scheme of things, I don’t think Trump is all that unique. Yes, he’s uniquely bad as some things, but as far as presidential powers goes, he’s more run of the mill.

    whembly (c30c83)

  91. Trump apparently to pardon another turkey.

    Rip Murdock (8cb7cc)

  92. In the whole scheme of things, I don’t think Trump is all that unique. Yes, he’s uniquely bad as some things, but as far as presidential powers goes, he’s more run of the mill.

    whembly (c30c83) — 11/24/2020 @ 5:28 pm

    Interesting perspective. It might neatly define where we see things differently. I think Trump is actually profoundly opposite from other leaders of this country. Profoundly. Wouldn’t even know where to start, but he is not in the same category intellectually and is just totally lacking in values. Other politicians have failing, some are evil with (self-aware) shame, but I’ve never seen a person try so hard to take a free country and steal its elections. I mean Obama wore a tan suit and W landed on an aircraft carrier prematurely and Clinton was pretty sleazy, but each of them was a professional with work ethic.

    hopefully when they prosecute Trump he tries so hard to snitch it validates these concerns. it’s important that Trump be repudiated.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  93. A president should have qualified immunity with regards to his official acts. The job requires decisions to be made and they may well be the wrong ones — or even illegal — but the “buck” stops there, not with the courts in the afterglow of hindsight.

    Some actions take might be impeachable, but not prosecutable.

    Jefferson sent a lot of gold to France in exchange for half the continent. He had no right to do so, and he could have been impeached for it, but the “crime” was political, not criminal.

    Lincoln did lots of stuff during the Civil War that were not, strictly speaking, legal. Like suspending habeas corpus as a military necessity without getting Congress’ approval and ignoring the Supreme Court when it took him to task.

    Andy Jackson shipped the Cherokee off to Oklahoma despite the Supreme Court saying he couldn’t. It would have been good to impeach him for that, but it was also seen as political, not criminal.

    Now, if Trump has done things clearly outside his duty (e.g. stealing spoons from the White House, or lying under oath about groping women) then fine, prosecute. But how he deals with foreign officials in, say, Ukraine is really not something for the criminal courts.

    I think some of this protected Nixon. The Plumbers, directions to the IRS, etc, might have had some policy or national security aspects that put them off limits. Covering up the Watergate break-in not so much.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  94. @92 Obama presided over extrajudicial killing of an American Citizen, Benghazi, gave pallets of cash to a Theocracy and inflamed the racial/SJW movements.

    Bush presided over a policy most would consider torture and disastrously handled the Iraq post-war efforts.

    The Clintons had Ruby Ridge and Waco happen under their watch, literally abused their office to enriching themselves and political pay offs, not to mention Bill’s personal Oval Office extra curricular activities.

    This is not an attempt to whattabout to whatever flaws or “bad things” Trump did… I’m merely pointing out that I don’t think they’re that unique compared to our previous President’s own issues.

    As for as repudiation… he lost his re-election. There’s your repudiation.

    whembly (c30c83)

  95. I don’t see how this could be discussed without touching upon qualified immunity and the reasons that lesser officials enjoy it.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  96. I would be interested to hear a principled rebuttal to whembly’s #80, which seems to hit correctly on all points while destroying the credibility of the Times’ editorialist.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  97. Sovereign immunity, whether qualified or absolute, is for civil liability only, for torts not crimes, in an action brought by an individual for damages incurred, not by the state for violation of its peace and dignity.

    nk (1d9030)

  98. That’s why the constitution explains that impeachment isn’t the only remedy

    This isn’t correct. Impeachment IS the only remedy for political issues (e.g. “Obama’s peace deal with Iran”) should the Congress have the will. It would not be the only remedy for other things that are clearly criminal (e.g. Trump shooting someone on 5th Avenue).

    If one of Obama’s people had testified to Congress under oath that “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”, knowing it was pure spin (i.e. false), it is not clear that this would be prosecutable. Politicians have the right to lie (tell me they don’t).

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  99. @91

    Trump apparently to pardon another turkey.

    Rip Murdock (8cb7cc) — 11/24/2020 @ 7:01 pm

    Good.

    Part of me wants Flynn to refuse the Pardon, and keep going now. At the very least, successfully withdraw his guilty plea, and go to court against the Biden administration.

    I seriously doubt, with discovery and trying this case that the government has any real chance of prevailing.

    whembly (c30c83)

  100. it is not clear that this would be prosecutable.

    If it is not clear that it is prosecutable, then it is not prosecutable. Fundamental due process requires a law that lays out all the elements of the crime sufficiently to give every person notice and an opportunity to conform their conduct to the requirements of the law.

    nk (1d9030)

  101. @97: So, Nixon could have been prosecuted for going to China? He certainly could have been impeached for it.

    Could Obama be charged with a crime for spending money not appropriated by Congress? He did in several cases. So did Trump, W and more. The president has to have the leeway to do his job. Ignoring this example, which is not the case I’d choose, hamstringing presidents who are granted significant constitutional power with the same legal thicket that surrounds too many of us is not only a bad idea but hard to support.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  102. Of all the people who could be pardoned, pardoning Flynn is least awful as it was a victimless crime.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  103. So, Nixon could have been prosecuted for going to China?

    I don’t know. What does the criminal statute say? There has to be a criminal statute.

    nk (1d9030)

  104. @97: The point of qualified immunity is to allow state officials to avoid constant harassment. To do their job. The President should get similar protection.

    The sad fact is that protection from civil damages usually offers protection from criminal charges as well, as only the person harmed cares. I can name one DA who was jailed for a prosecution (Nifong) but not two.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  105. I don’t know. What does the criminal statute say? There has to be a criminal statute.

    My point, clearly lost by now, is that there is a difference between what is criminal and what is impeachable. There is an intersection, of course, but also two other regions in the diagram.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  106. On the other hand there is Rod Blagojevich, who was prosecuted for being too blatant about his appointment process. I’ve always wondered why him and not the lot of them.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  107. @97: The point of qualified immunity is to allow state officials to avoid constant harassment. To do their job. The President should get similar protection.

    Without a doubt. There should be a presumption that you can rebut with some evidence. Cops and DAs get qualified immunity, but they can lose it and should if they go too far. Judges get something much stronger than that, because we trust them. I am OK with judges and the top executive of a government having very strong immunity protection, because anything less would be totally dysfunctional. But you should be able to overcome that protection with enough evidence that a decision was beyond the scope of the job (which was not to screw with future political opponents or recent election losses) or utterly unreasonable.

    Part of me wants Flynn to refuse the Pardon, and keep going now.

    He’s already admitted his guilt so I’m not sure why he would suddenly get a stiff lip about the injustice of accepting the indignity of a pardon from a corrupt traitor like Trump. Traitor seems the right word for those who worked with Trump when he tried to steal an election, after all. It must be quite a thing for Flynn to get a glance at that uniform in his closet, and remember what he is now, versus what others who wore that uniform were.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  108. Ratings grabber:

    Trump will pardon himself.

    ‘Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends…’ – EL&P, 1974

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  109. @108 If he does, it will be an event that lives in infamy.

    norcal (a5428a)

  110. @109. Infamy, hell; it’s an Emmy Award winning act. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  111. The Clintons had Ruby Ridge and Waco happen under their watch
    whembly (c30c83) — 11/24/2020 @ 8:16 pm

    Popular as that mythology is in certain quarters, Ruby Ridge happened under GHWB.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  112. If we ever have jury trials again the first question will be hho did you vote for president.

    asset (7821ef)

  113. For 230 years we have had peaceful transfers of power. We will this time too. For 230 years we have refrained from prosecuting ex-presidents. Pretty much their entire coterie, too. I assert these things are related.

    One of the most amazing peaceful transfers of power was the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union without a shot being fired. By an amazing coincidence, not one of the many criminals who inhabited that system was put on trial, even though criminality was a hallmark of that system.

    I think it is probable that no president has served without committing some felony along the wsy, or at least something that would be prosecuted as a felony if *I* did it. Some more than others. The job requires hard choices, sometimes among only poor choices.

    We grant them this power and many immunities because someone has to hold it. This time we got someone who was frightfully unworthy. We shouldn’t do that.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  114. If we ever have jury trials again the first question will be hho did you vote for president.

    Sure, because everyone loves to have verdicts reversed.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  115. Trump will pardon himself.

    No one else will.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  116. Kevin M (ab1c11) — 11/24/2020 @ 11:01 pm

    For 230 years we have had peaceful transfers of power.

    In the capital, yes.

    There was a problem in some other places in 1861. But not with President Buchanan leaving office.

    This was in an era (1844-1860) in which had become the consensus that a president should have only one term.

    Sammy Finkelman (f2d620)

  117. Some of the same people were involved in RUby Ridge and in the Waco fire, but Clintonn was president only in the second. He used them.

    Sammy Finkelman (f2d620)

  118. The FBI\’s “hostage Rescue Team.”

    Sammy Finkelman (f2d620)

  119. When the pardons kick in, you know he knows he lost. What are the limitations of this Presidential authority and can he pardon himself? I expect many political, family and possibly even mass pardons.

    Like all things Trump, we are about to learn what maximum abuse of this power looks like as well.

    noel (9fead1)

  120. Would Pence pardon him if he resigned before January 20th? Could he agree to pardon him in advance?

    noel (9fead1)

  121. noel (9fead1) — 11/25/2020 @ 4:06 am

    When the pardons kick in, you know he knows he lost.

    He, or the people working for him, are already planning on the idea that he lost.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/21/us/politics/trump-biden-transition.html

    This was the main front page story in Sunday’s paper. The story has been updated.

    Mr. Trump has spent the last two weeks hunkered down in the White House, raging about a “stolen” election and refusing to accept the reality of his loss. But in other ways he is acting as if he knows he will be departing soon, and showing none of the deference that presidents traditionally give their successors in their final days in office…

    At a wide range of departments and agencies, Mr. Trump’s political appointees are going to extraordinary lengths to try to prevent Mr. Biden from rolling back the president’s legacy. They are filling vacancies on scientific panels, pushing to complete rules that weaken environmental standards, nominating judges and rushing their confirmations through the Senate, and trying to eliminate health care regulations that have been in place for years.

    But the first example they give, extending or not extending a Federal Reserve Board emergency lending progran,
    the truth is the time to decide is the end of the year.

    The article does say that George W. Bush consciously left it to Barack Obama, to decide how to rescue the auto industry and whether to approve Afghan troop increases, and even. Obama cut a deal abot bank bailouts with lawmakers even before he was inaugurated. But Biden is involved anyway now about the coronavirus bill and that;s something Trump would have to sign if they want something done by the lame duck Congress.

    They complain he’s filling vacancies, issuing regulations and doing things that would create a political problem for Biden if reversed.

    What are the limitations of this Presidential authority and can he pardon himself? I expect many political, family and possibly even mass pardons.

    No pardon, however broad, has ever been challenged in court, I think. It can only apply to federal law, though.

    Sammy Finkelman (f2d620)

  122. I know this is silly, but imagine if Pence decided not to issue the final pardon after Trump resigned on a handshake the day before Biden was inaugurated.

    And that’s how ya know this is a very silly system for justice.

    Dustin (64b34f)

  123. 123, too bad Pence wasnt from one of the Central Time Zone parts of Indiana, he’d have a plausible excuse for “forgetting”. But if hes gonna do it, wait until 11:58am January 20.

    urbanleftbehind (3527e0)

  124. @111

    Popular as that mythology is in certain quarters, Ruby Ridge happened under GHWB.

    lurker (d8c5bc) — 11/24/2020 @ 10:46 pm

    Whoops, you’re right.

    whembly (2900b2)

  125. Should Trump be prosecuted? Absolutely, in state court. There is no pardon for civilian crimes.

    Trump, his family and organization has been under investigation in New York for years. As Kushner, his family and organization has been under investigation in New Jersey.

    I say leave it to the state courts. Charges in Illinois, Florida, Virginia, and Washington DC may soon follow. Tax, bank and wire fraud are serious charges.

    The only thing that matters is that on noon Jan. 20 Trump will be out of office. At that time, he will be, as a civilian, subject to prosecution by any state court.

    So leave it the states. They may or may not decide to proceed with prosecution. If they do, there is nothing in the law or the Constitution from preventing them from prosecuting a former ex-president.

    Then there’s the matter of the personally guaranteed balloon note for $460 Million to unknown foreign creditors that comes due in the next two years.

    I would say this is not a good year to be associated with anything Trump.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  126. Then there’s the matter of the personally guaranteed balloon note for $460 Million to unknown foreign creditors that comes due in the next two years.

    Imagine what Trump has access to right now that is worth that much. Just the secrets, like who told us when and where Suliemani would be in Bagdad, or who is working with us in the Taliban, or what that X-37B drone is doing (maybe a space based laser) and how it works? Before you say Trump is such a bum he has no idea of the details, he has plenty of buddies to do the actual exchange in his place. There’s a reason Russia met with Trump’s senior campaign staff to work together in the 2016 election, and not Trump personally.

    BTW Russian is claiming it expelled a US Naval vessel from a contested area near Japan. The US Vessel that let Russia bully it? Supposedly it’s the USS John S. Mccain. Just kinda makes me go hmmmmmm. There’s a reason Russia complained about Obama’s inflexibility yet was so pleased with Trump.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  127. @92 Obama presided over extrajudicial killing of an American Citizen, Benghazi, gave pallets of cash to a Theocracy and inflamed the racial/SJW movements.

    Bush presided over a policy most would consider torture and disastrously handled the Iraq post-war efforts.

    The Clintons had Ruby Ridge and Waco happen under their watch, literally abused their office to enriching themselves and political pay offs, not to mention Bill’s personal Oval Office extra curricular activities.

    This is not an attempt to whattabout to whatever flaws or “bad things” Trump did… I’m merely pointing out that I don’t think they’re that unique compared to our previous President’s own issues.

    As for as repudiation… he lost his re-election. There’s your repudiation.

    whembly (c30c83) — 11/24/2020 @ 8:16 pm

    Whembly, thank you for your answer that my summation of the POV of Trump supporters was close. I wanted to get the ideological Turing test correct on this.

    Most of your examples are policy choices. Bengazi and the Iran deal weren’t criminal acts.
    Obama’s drone strikes and Bush’s torture were actions taken in the execution of national security.
    Clinton’s infidelity was grounds for divorce and censure, but not a crime.

    I don’t think any of those should be investigated as criminal acts.

    The only thing you listed that looks like an actual crime is the accusation that the Clinton’s used the office to make money, and I wouldn’t have shed a tear if that had been investigated if there were reasonable suspicion to do so.

    I would put campaign finance violations and obstruction of justice into that same category.

    Time123 (89dfb2)

  128. @127 Time123… I was talking about abuses of power in office, not necessarily criminal acts. Hence why I mentioned that Trump’s presidential power usage were “run of the mill” of previous administrations.

    I mean, the Obama campaign was fined by the FEC for $375,000 for campaign finance violations, which I believe was the largest at the time. Even though it’s most likely cause by accounting errors/didn’t understand the regulations, it’s the sort of things that fraud can be perpetuated as its really difficult to determine corrupt intent. Election campaign finance laws are a mess….
    https://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/obama-2008-campaign-fined-375000-085784

    whembly (2900b2)

  129. @128, Sorry I misunderstood. I think it’s like this:

    Policy decisions should be handled with elections. The Iran Deal and Drone strikes are example of that.

    Being bad at your job should be handled by elections. Such as the Fast and the Furious fiasco or Waco.

    Abuses of power should be handled with impeachment (Trump’s Ukraine fiasco) or elections (Trump making a ton of money by renting rooms at his properties to the government) depending on the severity.

    Criminal actions such as taking bribes, killing people, pressuring witnesses to lie to under oath should be handled criminally or impeachment.

    Regarding your point about Obama’s fine. My understanding is that’s what usually happens when the campaign admits what they did, pleads ignorance and promises not to screw up in the future.

    Time123 (89dfb2)

  130. Obstruction of justice is a crime because it prevents investigators and the public from getting evidence of other crimes.

    DRJ (aede82)

  131. Clinton’s infidelity was grounds for divorce and censure, but not a crime.

    Time123 (89dfb2) — 11/25/2020 @ 8:44 am

    It was more than infidelity. Actual crimes were at issue. Paula Jones was claiming sexual harassment/indecent exposure/assault, and Juanita Broaddrick was alleging rape. There may have been others, but I don’t remember.

    norcal (a5428a)

  132. I agree the Clinton stuff was more than a private matter by the end of it.

    However, the same folks *chanting* to lock up clintons, obamas, and bidens are telling me it’s just plain deranged to prosecute their side’s leader. It’s amusing.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  133. Clinton’s infidelity was grounds for divorce and censure, but not a crime.

    Time123 (89dfb2) — 11/25/2020 @ 8:44 am

    It was more than infidelity. Actual crimes were at issue. Paula Jones was claiming sexual harassment/indecent exposure/assault, and Juanita Broaddrick was alleging rape. There may have been others, but I don’t remember.

    norcal (a5428a) — 11/25/2020 @ 10:10 am

    It’s a very credible accusation and I’d have no problem with him being prosecuted by the state of AK for it. AFAIK there’s no federal laws in play.

    Time123 (6e0727)

  134. @132 First, one falls in love with a politician. After that, anything can happen.

    norcal (a5428a)

  135. @133 I agree.

    norcal (a5428a)

  136. @131

    It was more than infidelity. Actual crimes were at issue. Paula Jones was claiming sexual harassment/indecent exposure/assault, and Juanita Broaddrick was alleging rape. There may have been others, but I don’t remember.

    norcal (a5428a) — 11/25/2020 @ 10:10 am

    Clinton actually was cited for contempt of court and essentially plead out with the Independent Counsel by agreeing to give up his law license and pay a fine in order for the IC to finally close that case.

    whembly (2900b2)

  137. @129

    @128, Sorry I misunderstood.

    No worries.

    I think it’s like this:

    Policy decisions should be handled with elections. The Iran Deal

    Agreed.

    and Drone strikes are example of that.

    I disagree with this.

    The US knew he was there…it wasn’t an unknown collateral damage sort of thing.

    This is something that our laws aren’t equipped to address these concerns. Here, you have a US citizen abroad who was literally targeted for execution without any legal recourse. There’s more to the story too that makes this appallingly worse, and had this happened under a GOP president, the media/left would lose their sh!t.

    Being bad at your job should be handled by elections.

    Agreed.

    Such as the Fast and the Furious fiasco

    Not quite… the program literally had to breaks laws to sell those firearms and gunwalk it. So, this wasn’t simply being “bad” at your job.

    or Waco.

    Agreed. Primo example of government incompetence.

    Abuses of power should be handled with impeachment (Trump’s Ukraine fiasco) or elections (Trump making a ton of money by renting rooms at his properties to the government) depending on the severity.

    Agreed.

    Criminal actions such as taking bribes, killing people, pressuring witnesses to lie to under oath should be handled criminally or impeachment.

    Also civilly too, ala with Bill Clinton. But, yes, agreed.

    Regarding your point about Obama’s fine. My understanding is that’s what usually happens when the campaign admits what they did, pleads ignorance and promises not to screw up in the future.

    Time123 (89dfb2) — 11/25/2020 @ 9:15 am

    There was a LOT that the Obama campaign did that they got away with… the one I distinctly remember that made my jaw drop was the online solicitation for donations had disabled the verification of the credit cards. That made it impossible to determine if the donations were from US citizens or abroad:
    https://www.fec.gov/files/legal/murs/6687/13044340893.pdf
    https://nypost.com/2012/10/21/obama-campaign-accepted-foreign-web-donation-and-may-be-hiding-more/

    The ironic part is that the did this both in 2008 And 2012!

    Again, my point isn’t to absolve any “bad things” Trump may have done. But all these sturm and drang that Trump is ruining our country is simply overwrought.

    Trump will be out of office and will be soon forgotten because the fight in front of us will be the Biden Administration, Sycophant Media and Crazed democrat policies.

    whembly (2900b2)

  138. Clinton was impeached on two articles:

    President Clinton was impeached by the House, but acquitted by vote of the Senate. The House approved two articles of impeachment against the President stemming from the President’s response to a sexual harassment civil lawsuit and to a subsequent grand jury investigation instigated by an Independent Counsel. The first article charged the President with committing perjury in testifying before the grand jury about his sexual relationship with a White House intern and his efforts to cover it up;891 the second article charged the President with obstruction of justice relating both to the civil lawsuit and to the grand jury proceedings.892 Two additional articles of impeachment had been approved by the House Judiciary Committee but were rejected by the full House.893 The Senate trial resulted in acquittal on both articles.894

    Perjury and Obstruction of Justice.

    DRJ (aede82)

  139. @136, yes, for perjury. Given the details that seems like a reasonable result.

    Time123 (89dfb2)

  140. By the way, the first House impeachment article was based on criminal perjury, not civil perjury:

    The House’s acceptance of the grand jury perjury charge and its rejection of the civil deposition perjury charge may reflect a belief among some members that perjury in the criminal context is more serious than perjury in the civil context.

    DRJ (aede82)

  141. @137, Whembly, I think we’re pretty much in agreement. I hope your prediction about Trump turns out to be true.

    Time123 (89dfb2)

  142. whembley @137:

    Here, you have a US citizen abroad who was literally targeted for execution without any legal recourse.

    All persons targeted by drones were in a war zone, (not in any place where a government the U.S. dealt with was in control with the exception of Pakistan maybe) and considered to be at war with the United States. Sometimes the U.S. was not officially engaged in combat operations there, and the drone strikes were done by the CIA. Otherwise, the Pentagon.

    the one I distinctly remember that made my jaw drop was the online solicitation for donations had disabled the verification of the credit cards. That made it impossible to determine if the donations were from US citizens or abroad:

    They didn’t have to be from U.S. citizens but they did have to be from U.S. persons (includes green card holders)

    Trump will be out of office and will be soon forgotten

    He may declare his candidacy for the presidency in 2024 to prevent that from happening.

    Some other candidates declaring and outpolling him, or someone announcing the formation of a third party and that catching on, including taking with him or her a good portion of the Republican base, including a substantial number of elected officials, could result in him fading. A third party won’t catch on unless there’s a lot to object to from Biden, and Biden doesn’t want that to happen.

    Sammy Finkelman (e5fb44)

  143. @142 whembley @137:

    Here, you have a US citizen abroad who was literally targeted for execution without any legal recourse.

    All persons targeted by drones were in a war zone, (not in any place where a government the U.S. dealt with was in control with the exception of Pakistan maybe) and considered to be at war with the United States. Sometimes the U.S. was not officially engaged in combat operations there, and the drone strikes were done by the CIA. Otherwise, the Pentagon.

    I think reasonable people can distinguish between being in a warzone vs waging war against the US.

    That is the distinction here.

    the one I distinctly remember that made my jaw drop was the online solicitation for donations had disabled the verification of the credit cards. That made it impossible to determine if the donations were from US citizens or abroad:

    They didn’t have to be from U.S. citizens but they did have to be from U.S. persons (includes green card holders)

    Again, there was no good way to validate this.

    Trump will be out of office and will be soon forgotten

    He may declare his candidacy for the presidency in 2024 to prevent that from happening.

    Some other candidates declaring and outpolling him, or someone announcing the formation of a third party and that catching on, including taking with him or her a good portion of the Republican base, including a substantial number of elected officials, could result in him fading. A third party won’t catch on unless there’s a lot to object to from Biden, and Biden doesn’t want that to happen.

    Sammy Finkelman (e5fb44) — 11/25/2020 @ 11:16 am

    Depends on what he wants to do.

    He may prefer being an ex-President playing kingmaker than trying to run for 2nd term.

    whembly (2900b2)

  144. Trump pardons Flynn.

    “The ‘rule of law’ means little to Americans when they’ve seen so many over the decades get convicted, then get off– or just get away with it, period.”- DCSCA 11/24/2020 @ 10:25 am

    Trump will pardon himself the night of January 19 or before noon EST the morning of January 20, 2021.

    Lori Loughlin will do more time in the pokie than Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew ever did– or Donald Trump ever will.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  145. I’d rather quote Turley than Weismann.

    steveg (43b7a5)


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