Patterico's Pontifications

11/10/2020

Russia to Pass Law Giving Former Presidents Lifetime Immunity from Prosecution

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Vladmir Putin is said to be suffering from Parkinson’s disease, and might end up leaving office. Given that he is a criminal gangster, he would naturally want to make sure that does not expose him to potential prosecution. Hence, this:

Russian lawmakers submitted a draft bill that could grant former presidents lifelong immunity from criminal prosecution beyond their terms of office, state-run news agency TASS reported Thursday.

Such a bill would give current President Vladimir Putin protection from prosecution if and when he decides to leave office.

Under current Russian law, presidents cannot be prosecuted for crimes committed while in office. The proposed change seeks to extend the immunity beyond their terms of office so it would apply to offenses committed in the president’s lifetime.

. . . .

“After the expiration of his term of office, such person has the right to count on the level of protection and legal guarantees that is not lower than those provided to him while he exercised presidential powers,” senator Andrey Klishas, the group’s co-chair which submitted the bill, told TASS.

“This order acts as a guarantee against unjustified persecution of the former head of state and recognizes the importance of his role in the general system of public authority.”

At first blush this might sound like totalitarian insanity — but when you think about it, all this law does is bring Russia in line with American standards.

America, too, has a rule that Presidents cannot be prosecuted (at least by the federal government) while in office. Given the recent proof that impeachment is impossible in a partisan two-party system, this means presidents are above the law until and unless voted out of office.

But once out of office, they have a de facto immunity, as the high priests and priestesses of the chattering classes find it too nasty and divisive to confront the possibility of prosecuting even the most criminal former presidents in criminal court.

Here is a perfect example of that strain of thought offered by a Washington Post columnist — a grand philosopher of the intellectual class at the vanguard of educated thought in this country:

I’m not sure what role the word “immediately” plays in that statement. Does McArdle think prosecutions are OK after a sufficient waiting period? Like after the statute of limitations has run?

Putting that quibble aside, it’s interesting both to examine her reasoning and compare it to those of the Russians looking to give Putin lifetime immunity. First: given our partisan nature, roughly half of the country will always see a prosecution of a former president as a political show trial, so she is suggesting lifetime immunity for all presidents, not just Trump. And to the extent that she would dispute that, is she saying that a president who received one-third of the re-election vote could be prosecuted, but not one who received one-half of the vote? That is incoherent, which further proves she is suggesting no ex-president should ever be prosecuted (OK, “immediately”). As for the concern that future presidents will “note the risk” of leaving after losing an election . . . what does that mean? That we should refrain from prosecuting a criminal after he leaves office because that might want to make him attempt to stay in office in defiance of election results and our constitutional system of government? (Never mind that could be what is playing out right now.) Is that a valid argument? Really?

Doesn’t this all sound a little bit like the Russian justification for lifetime immunity? The notion that such immunity, as the Putin stooge sponsoring the bill said, “acts as a guarantee against unjustified persecution of the former head of state”?

Given the sweeping nature of McArdle’s proposed de facto immunity for ex-presidents, I asked McArdle what makes such a president different from a king. Her answer was on fire!

What a burn!

But, like Columbo, I had one last question:

I never got an answer.

And so I congratulate Vladmir Putin on his expected lifetime immunity from criminal prosecution. We in the West have often said that we want Russia to begin to emulate our high political standards. Ensuring that criminal presidents escape consequences for their crimes is an important step in the right direction.

96 Responses to “Russia to Pass Law Giving Former Presidents Lifetime Immunity from Prosecution”

  1. Lets be clear here if Trump goes on trial in New York after leaving office it will be for corporate tax evasion and crimes other than his tenure as president. No one gets a free pass from following the laws of any nation.

    Knickerbocker Slobberknocker (27d313)

  2. A lot of right on both sides here, and I say that as a Dem. But there’s more right on your side. A trial is going to inflame a vast part of the country. But if we don’t prosecute, a criminal president can do whatever he wants — most notably obstruct justice to protect illegal attempts to sway elections.

    Kyle (a00aa2)

  3. I knew when I saw the title where you were taking this. 😀

    Time123 (797615)

  4. Given that the entire Communist Party leadership was given a pass in 1991 for myriad systemic crimes, that Yeltsin was given livelong immunity by Putin as his first act in office, this does not seem like a big departure for Russia.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  5. I’m kinda willing to give Trump a pass as part of a deal where he shuts the frack up. The Agnew Option. I think that a vocal Trump bedeviling the GOP would find few friends there (I’m not sure that Trump has any friends actually). My only question is whether the Democrats would protect Trump if he continued to trash the GOP.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  6. if its good enough for mr vladimir its good enough for his special friend president donald

    Dave (1bb933)

  7. We shouldn’t follow Russia’s lead for anything, including prosecuting ex-heads of state. The Mueller report was written to establish to leave a record, a path to either impeach Trump or prosecute him after he leaves. We are a nation that is all about the rule of law, I hear.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  8. Given the recent proof that impeachment is impossible in a partisan two-party system, this means presidents are above the law until and unless voted out of office.

    “Impossible” simply means it just didn’t work for you.

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  9. We would need a Constitutional amendment which I doubt would be ratified.

    nk (1d9030)

  10. how is such a president not above the law?

    He’s not above the law. He should be above prosecutorial discretion and getting even, pretending to be “the law.”

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  11. As for the political calculus, we should leave that to the politicians. Biden could always pardon Trump for federal crimes and Cuomo for New York crimes if they thought the prosecution was not worth the societal upheaval. That’s their job, to make those judgments.

    nk (1d9030)

  12. The deal I would offer Trump today:

    1. You will not be prosecuted for any crime you have committed to this point.
    2. You will resign today.
    3. You will cease fighting the 2020 election results.

    4. You will cease to engage in politics.
    5. You will testify at any trial for any matter for which you have protection under 2), or otherwise have knowledge of, fully and truthfully.
    6. Point 1 expires the moment you fail any of points 2-5.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  13. Good post.

    However, I disagree with this:
    Given the recent proof that impeachment is impossible in a partisan two-party system, this means presidents are above the law until and unless voted out of office.

    Are you saying had Trump bribed a judge with his own money, that he wouldn’t be impeached? There are still clear cut crimes that a POTUS can/ought to be impeached over.

    Furthermore, the “proof” in the last impeachment was weak and the thing to keep in mind is that impeachment/removal doesn’t need to be anything in the penal code (it’d help tho). Impeachment is a political endeavour and as such, the question will ALWAYS be: does this political act warrants Impeachment/removal?

    That is an incredibly high bar, for good reasons.

    And lastly, if you’re gunning to prosecute ex-Presidents, that behavior will exactly be the reasons why outgoing Presidents will issue blanket pardons right before inauguration day.

    whembly (c30c83)

  14. *You will testify at any trial for any matter for which you have protection under 2) 1)

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  15. Why is everyone so afraid of this whiney little man child? He has set the stage in 2016 for a loss by complaining of fraud and he has done it again over the past year and a half. His impeachment was a farce because the Republicans ignored all evidence and witnesses. He mocks the Constitution with his ignorance and sets the Justice Department against his enemies. Good Lord when is this country going to get a set and stand up for the rule of law?

    Knickerbocker Slobberknocker (27d313)

  16. Kevin, if that got us an understanding of the collusion I’d be satisfied. In theory. But I can’t see Trump fulfilling his end of any deal on good faith. He just can’t keep his word.

    Give the man his day in court. Trump fans weren’t begging for Hillary and Obama to be above the law to protect them from prosecutorial discretion. Televise the trials. DCSCA would enjoy it.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  17. Are you saying had Trump bribed a judge with his own money, that he wouldn’t be impeached?

    He’d be impeached, his party would not care and acquit, he would lose the election and try to cheat his way out of losing.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  18. Good Lord when is this country going to get a set and stand up for the rule of law?

    “Trump Russia Collusion”

    Carter “Russian Asset” Page

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  19. @17 No Dustin. A GOP controlled Senate will still remove a bonafide bribery to a judge. Likely a resignation would occur first though.

    whembly (c30c83)

  20. I’m not sure what role the word “immediately” plays in that statement. Does McArdle think prosecutions are OK after a sufficient waiting period? Like after the statute of limitations has run?

    It could be that what she is getting at is that after a bitterly contested Presidential campaign it would be unseemly for partisans to indict an ex-President the moment he leaves the White House. Perhaps what Ms. McArdle is calling for is a cooling off period of a few months in which prosecutors can weigh their allegations in the context of whether it truly serves the interests of justice or whether it’s largely rooted in partisan animus.

    Potential tax fraud is a good example. If the government has a good case then fine, they should proceed with it, but not on January 21. It can almost certainly wait until April or May. But something like claiming that the Trump family sought to improve their business holdings by using the government’s influence ought to be handled very carefully, and short of a truly ironclad case is probably best ignored. Otherwise, Republicans simply lie in wait for the day they can indict the Biden family on similar charges.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  21. whembly has the truth of it.

    Impeachment is a political act, not a judicial one. It has only passing resemblance to a court of law — the Senators are NOT jurors. The question posed is: Are the crimes offensess charges listed sufficient to remove this person from office. The answer to that can be seen in how the public responds to the charges and the evidence. As a political act, the reaction of the body politic is important. Removal through impeachment is intended to speed the political process, to to usurp it.

    In the Nixon case, it clearly was. A President who had won a 49-state landslide victory in 1972 had less than 30% support in 1974 due mainly to his malfeasance in the Watergate matter and the tape-recorded evidence.

    In the Clinton case, while the charges of perjury and obstruction could easily be proven, his prior supporters stood by him. As such the political calculus was against removal.

    Similarly with Trump. His support never wavered and therefore it was not politically possible, or desirable in our system, to force his removal.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  22. *NOT to usurp it.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  23. Now, should Trump be subject to prosecution? I think that he should have the same kind of immunity that a prosecutor or other official has wrt his actions in office. A President may well have the need to order something that is a crime for an individual, but not for a State. His oath to defend may require active measures. This may even include browbeating foreign officials to get results that — in the President’s sole opinion — further the interests of the United States.

    Although some of the above might be grounds for impeachment, as the question there is political, not criminal.

    Out of office, crimes like tax evasion, commercial fraud, bribery, extortion, embezzlement and similar are not among the things necessitated by office. In any theory of qualified immunity, these would not be covered. Obstruction of justice, in alleged furtherance of his duties as president (as opposed to activities like tax evasion, etc, or things occurring before or after holding office) might well be covered by extended immunity.

    So, blanket immunity, no. Qualified immunity, probably.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  24. You know, this is a subject that was discussed at length at Philadelphia. To see what the Founders thought about impeachment and crooked Executives, go here:

    The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  25. I think Pinochet did this also in Chile, but this was eventually retracted, if I am righr.

    Pinochet once had doctors help murder a former president.

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

    Eduardo Frei Montalva was an opposition leader against the government of President Salvador Allende and initially supported the Chilean coup of 1973 that deposed Allende and put General Augusto Pinochet in power. Frei Montalva, President of Chile, died in 1982[1] apparently following routine surgery..

    Accomplices

    Dr Patricio Silva Garín – Head of the second medical team
    Dr Pedro Valdivia Soto – member of the medical team

    Involved in coverup

    Dr Helmar Rosenberg Gómez
    Dr Sergio Gónzalez Bombardiere

    It looks like a doctor’ plot really took place in Chile. Maybe with Stalin also. He was possibly given Coumadin after he had a stroke. Of course in that case it may have been a form of self defense/

    Pinochet was put into position to make a coup because he was the only military leader whom Allende thought loyal to him. Of course, nobody was loyal to Allende. Pinochet was just a big liar.

    The real problem in Chile was that they didn’t follow the constitution in 1970. The Congress selected the winner in a 3 way race. There was a reason it didn’t simply go to the plurality winner, but that’s the way the Chilean Congress acted. And a six year term was too long.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/30/chile-eduardo-frei-montalva-death-sentencing-murder-pinochet

    Sammy Finkelman (00fff5)

  26. What Comrade McArdle I think does not understand is that a President needs no incentive to leave office:
    1. Trump’s term will automatically expire at noon on January 20.
    2. Entirely independently of that, a new President will have been elected and been sworn in.
    3. Entirely independently of that, “The Senators and Representatives [], and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall [have been] bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support [the] Constitution”.

    If push comes to shove, all the executive Officers of the United States, bound by their Oath or Affirmation, will obey the new President; and the Secret Service, bound by their Oath or Affirmation, will remove a trespasser from the White House.

    nk (1d9030)

  27. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indictment_and_arrest_of_Augusto_Pinochet

    n Spain, the Court of Appeal of the Audiencia Nacional affirmed Spanish jurisdiction over Argentine and Chilean cases, declaring that domestic amnesty laws (in the case of Chile, the 1978 amnesty law passed by Pinochet’s regime) could not bind the Spanish courts. ..

    ….In March 2000, after Pinochet’s return, the Chilean Congress approved a constitutional amendment creating the status of “ex-president”, which granted Pinochet immunity from prosecution and guaranteed him a financial allowance. In exchange, it required him to resign his seat of senator-for-life. 111 legislators voted for, and 29 against.[22] Despite this political move, on 23 May 2000, the Court of Appeal of Santiago lifted Pinochet’s parliamentary immunity concerning the Caravan of Death case. This was confirmed by the Supreme Court of Chile, which voted on 8 August 2000, by 14 votes against 6, to strip Pinochet of his parliamentary immunity. ..

    Sammy Finkelman (00fff5)

  28. @17 No Dustin. A GOP controlled Senate will still remove a bonafide bribery to a judge. Likely a resignation would occur first though.

    whembly (c30c83) — 11/10/2020 @ 9:29 am

    Not against Trump they wouldn’t. Sure, if it was presented straight like that it would be more difficult, but they would twist it. The judge was evil, the bribe was some euphemism. We saw this over and over. Read Ted Cruz’s twitter feed today. There is no depth unfortunately. Trump could shoot a man dead on 5th avenue and the GOP senate would write a stern letter at most.

    That’s kinda the point of Trump. Any other republican is screwed if they spell potatoes wrong. Trump is forgiven out of fear every day. We were just too close to not really being America anymore. That’s why I say Biden was the price, not the cure.

    At any rate, this is academic and I know you are sincere. It is a very good thing the Senate GOP will find their spine suddenly as soon as Biden’s up there.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  29. I think that he should have the same kind of immunity that a prosecutor or other official has wrt his actions in office. A President may well have the need to order something that is a crime for an individual, but not for a State. His oath to defend may require active measures. This may even include browbeating foreign officials to get results that — in the President’s sole opinion — further the interests of the United States.

    That’s interesting because it might protect him with the Ukraine behavior if he got a real lawyer for once. I don’t think that kind of immunity should extend so far, but it seems that it often does.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  30. Show me the list of prosecutors put on trial for crimes committed pertaining to their actions in office. Good luck with that. Nifong spent a grand total of one night in jail. I guess they’re above the law, too.

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  31. If you want to set up some sort of rules surrounding the prosecution of a President, especially if you want to charge them with breaking federal rules, then you should start thinking of a nonpartisan entity, not beholden to DoJ, the AG, Senate, House, etc. to do it. Otherwise, half the country is always going to see the trial as a show.

    I am surprised that Democrats would be thinking about a Trump prosecution with so many COVID cases that need to be cured.

    Hoi Polloi (66077a)

  32. I am surprised that Democrats would be thinking about a Trump prosecution with so many COVID cases that need to be cured.

    Hoi Polloi (66077a) — 11/10/2020 @ 10:19 am

    I am surprised people are whining about Nero when there’s a fire to put out.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  33. The deal I would offer Trump today:

    1. You will not be prosecuted for any crime you have committed to this point.
    2. You will resign today.
    3. You will cease fighting the 2020 election results.

    4. You will cease to engage in politics.
    5. You will testify at any trial for any matter for which you have protection under 2), or otherwise have knowledge of, fully and truthfully.
    6. Point 1 expires the moment you fail any of points 2-5.

    Kevin M (ab1c11) — 11/10/2020 @ 9:17 am

    Trump’s word is worthless. Why would you make a deal with him?

    Time123 (235fc4)

  34. Covid is back to being a distraction.

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  35. COVID is a problem we can solve with a little honesty, but I agree now that with that vaccine news that made Don Jr so mad, America’s probably going to be OK soon. Patriots will not interpret this as bad news just because it doesn’t give credit to Trump. Patriots love America.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  36. Covid is back to being a distraction.

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67) — 11/10/2020 @ 10:37 am

    It’s super distracting that both parents in a family in my neighborhood have symptoms. Test is TBD The husband apparently was exposed at work and brought it home. The wife has Cancer so she’s very high risk. Their son, who was in my car on Sunday because it was our turn to drive home from practice has no symptoms.

    One of the things I dislike is that you seem to view everything through a weird culture war lens. If it makes your side look bad “whatabout”. If it shows inconsistency ‘hypocrisy’. If they’re talking about A then it shows they never cared about B.

    It’s just such a bitter and alien way to evaluate the world IMO

    Time123 (235fc4)

  37. “I am surprised that Democrats would be thinking about a Trump prosecution with so many COVID cases that need to be cured.”

    The government can do more than one thing at the same time.

    Davethulhu (6e0d47)

  38. In other words, Mr. Black was the guy who bought beer at the 7-Eleven and gave it to minor Mr. Rittenhouse to consume. Prosecute both to the full extent of the law for the transaction.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  39. It’s super distracting that both parents in a family in my neighborhood have symptoms. Test is TBD The husband apparently was exposed at work and brought it home. The wife has Cancer so she’s very high risk. Their son, who was in my car on Sunday because it was our turn to drive home from practice has no symptoms.

    One of the things I dislike is that you seem to view everything through a weird culture war lens. If it makes your side look bad “whatabout”. If it shows inconsistency ‘hypocrisy’. If they’re talking about A then it shows they never cared about B.

    It’s just such a bitter and alien way to evaluate the world IMO

    Time123 (235fc4) — 11/10/2020 @ 10:46 am

    That’s a very carefully written comment that probably applies to a lot of folks at times. We need to stop seeing everything as about stopping democrats or republicans.

    Sorry about your friends, Time123. I know more folks with COVID than ever right now. I guess it’s not as bad as they can treat it better, but hopefully this vaccine pans out and is well accepted by folks over 60.

    Unrelated thought, if someone prosecutes Trump, he can retaliate and damage America very badly just by disclosing secret sources high in other governments (like North Korea or Iran, where he clearly had some) or talking about technology we have in space. He’s bragged about things that exposed secrets before, often to Russia, and he knew what he was doing. He hates the intel community and can ruin entire careers just as he could harm Melania if she embarrasses him too much. Kevin’s plan sounds great if we could trust Trump.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  40. Unrelated thought, if someone prosecutes Trump, he can retaliate and damage America very badly just by disclosing secret sources high in other governments (like North Korea or Iran, where he clearly had some) or talking about technology we have in space.

    This is probably true, but I see it as an opportunity to add more criminal charges against him, especially for him being so unpatriotic that he would damage our national security to protect his sorry a$$.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  41. the Secret Service, bound by their Oath or Affirmation, will remove a trespasser from the White House.

    “I saw him reaching for something that looked like a weapon.”

    Dave (1bb933)

  42. This is all soooooo moot. After all, we’ve gotten ‘the word’:

    “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump Administration.” – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo 11/10/2020

    … and Putin smiled. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  43. Lori Loughlin will do more time than Richard Nixon ever did; or Donald Trump ever will.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  44. he can retaliate and damage America very badly just by disclosing secret sources high in other governments

    He can, and does anyone truly believe that “he loves America” more than he cares about his own ego?

    He hates the intel community and can ruin entire careers …

    We’ll see if Haspell and Wray are next to be shoved out in Trump’s rage-firing. But would it be something more than mere vindictiveness?

    Radegunda (20775b)

  45. I see it as an opportunity to add more criminal charges against him, especially for him being so unpatriotic that he would damage our national security to protect his sorry a$$.

    McArdle’s argument seems to boil down to saying that if a particular president is disposed to do really bad things, that’s all the more reason to be indulgent.

    Radegunda (20775b)

  46. … and Putin smiled. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0) — 11/10/2020 @ 11:14 am

    Yeah.

    McArdle’s argument seems to boil down to saying that if a particular president is disposed to do really bad things, that’s all the more reason to be indulgent.

    Radegunda (20775b) — 11/10/2020 @ 11:26 am

    It’s amazing. She’s right that bad people will handle facing justice out of office badly. We’re seeing that now. it’s probably worth calling a crisis even. But the way out is through. Some will never accept what Trump’s done. More and more will over time. It’s not like Trump’s fans are praising Bush. Trump is no longer the weapon against the next Team D ticket. He’s dead weight. It feels good to toss him aside. It feels good to tell the truth.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  47. Lori Loughlin will do more time than Richard Nixon ever did; or Donald Trump ever will.

    As you might recall, I have expressed support for the ancient legal principle (which I just made up) that attractive people should never be incarcerated, so one thing I would love to see right now is for Donald Trump to either commute the sentence of Ms. Loughlin and her husband, or even perhaps outright pardon them.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  48. I am not a pessimist as you know.” – Joe Biden 11/10/20

    ‘No miracle is coming.’

    ‘This is a dark winter ahead.’

    Idiot!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  49. Want to prosecute ex-Presidents? Or, just the ones you don’t like.

    “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder” by Vincent Bugliosi (Manson’s prosecutor)
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/159315481X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabc_a-UQFbP546N9E

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  50. @47. LOL Oh I agree. ‘America The Beautiful: No Uglies!’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  51. @47, JVW, counter-proposal: develop a prison porn fetish.

    Time123 (ae9d89)

  52. Jaysus. Joe Biden is fast becoming the new Rodney King…

    ‘Can’t we all just et along?!’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  53. The reason why former presidents are not prosecuted after leaving office is because it would appear to be vindictive. And because it would infuriate the aggrieved party’s base.

    In such a scenario, every incoming president would prosecute the outgoing president for crimes, real or fabricated. The American people will not stand for that.

    There is a political solution for a criminal or unfit president. It’s called impeachment, or absent that an election. Once he’s out of office, that’s the end of it.

    Trump is a special case though. He certainly can be prosecuted by states–New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Florida, Virginia, even the District of Columbia, and others–for financial crimes, such as bank, wire and tax fraud, illegal campaign contributions. These are violations of state law.

    The federal government, the DOJ, is not going to prosecute Trump. But the states sure can. And there is no pardon for violations of state laws.

    So, I say, let the prosecutions begin. Trump has been prosecuted before, for violating the Fair Housing Act. He followed in his father’s footsteps and engaged in discriminatory renting practices. He wouldn’t rent to Catholics, Jews and Negroes, like the good KKK son he was. For that he got fined $1 million, without admission of guilt. He’s always guilty but not guilty, as long as he can pay the fine.

    Bank, wire and tax fraud are another matter entirely. His entire organization is under investigation in multiple states. He has a balloon note note of $450 million in personally guaranteed loans to foreign creditors due in the next year. His hotels, resorts and golf courses are losing money.

    So, yeah, let the state prosecutions begin. I don’t see that as vindictive. I see it as justifiable. Trump is morally and financially corrupt. It doesn’t matter that he was elected president. What matters is the rule of law. He should be prosecuted by state law. But it doesn’t matter really. He’s bankrupt and deeply in debt.

    The best solution is to ignore him completely. Just ignore him. He has no pathway to victory.

    Ignore him. That’s the worst punishment. Trump cannot handle being ignored. He craves adulation and adoration. Once that is denied to him, all hell breaks loose. So be it.

    Ignore him. Watch him flail about. He will be gone soon. It’s just a matter of time.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  54. Vladmir Putin is said to be suffering from Parkinson’s disease, and might end up leaving office.

    Appropriate; as ex-KGB, spies have been known to prefer their vodka martinis shaken, not stirred. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  55. 53.The reason why former presidents are not prosecuted after leaving office is because it would appear to be vindictive. And because it would infuriate the aggrieved party’s base.

    Gotta use that logic as a parking ticket challenge. 😉

    Seems to me the ultimate goal is justice– which is often administered in mysterious ways. Sure, by the letter of the law, The Big Dick should have been proecuted, convicted and tossed in the pokie, as so many of his henchmen were. But he spent the rest of his life as a disgraced and humiliated public and political outcast from his profession [though sought out on the QT by several subsequent CICs on foreign policy issues.] For him, justice prevailed.

    Consider what would be justice for a fella like Trump.

    Bankruptcy? Nah.
    Divorce? Nah.
    Low ratings? Possibly.
    Cancellation? Perhaps.
    Hair loss? Definitely.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  56. I am surprised people are whining about Nero when there’s a fire to put out.
    Dustin (4237e0) — 11/10/2020 @ 10:33 am

    Maybe we can get the UN to prosecute Trump. Right after they get done with Bush.

    Hoi Polloi (66077a)

  57. Breaking- Fox calls NC Senate race for Tillis.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  58. I am surprised people are whining about Nero when there’s a fire to put out.

    Ever watch the Indianpolis 500? Some enjoy seeing cars going in circles for hours on end but plenty watch for the fiery wrecks.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  59. every incoming president would prosecute the outgoing president for crimes, real or fabricated.

    I doubt that every incoming president (or even very many) would be inclined to do so. There’s only one president I can think of who openly called for his political opponents to be locked up.

    So, yeah, let the state prosecutions begin. I don’t see that as vindictive. I see it as justifiable.

    I wonder if the people who have insisted that whatever Trump did before the presidency — and whatever he does outside his official duties while he’s president — is totally irrelevant to his fitness for office will agree that prosecution related to those activities is not an act of political revenge. Actually, I doubt that they would.

    Ignore him. Watch him flail about. He will be gone soon. It’s just a matter of time.

    I hope so, but I sense that some people will make him a permanent martyr in the cause of righteousness against the Deep State, and sustain the hero-worship for quite some time.

    Radegunda (20775b)

  60. @58 DCSCA

    Great comparison! Trumps administration definitely was one big “fiery wreak”

    Knickerbocker Slobberknocker (27d313)

  61. W Bush is enough of an amiable dunce to go along with a “whatabout” self-prosecution, so long as it takes down Trump also.

    urbanleftbehind (7c5b5a)

  62. There’s only one president I can think of who openly called for his political opponents to be locked up.

    There’s only one prez and VP who actually tried. How’s that Flynn prosecution coming along?

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  63. How’s that Flynn prosecution coming along?

    He’s still guilty.

    Thanks for asking!

    Dave (1bb933)

  64. How’s that Durham investigation going?

    Knickerbocker Slobberknocker (27d313)

  65. @64: “Viva le Resistance!”

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  66. Dave, Be nice to BnP, he’s trying to come to terms with the fact that most of the country thinks a man he admires is trash.

    Time123 (ae9d89)

  67. Trump’s word is worthless. Why would you make a deal with him?

    Because if he went back on it, his immunity is gone.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  68. Breaking- Fox calls NC Senate race for Tillis.

    Cunningham conceded.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  69. Guys, you MUST differentiate “crimes committed while in office” which may well have immunity for a variety of reasons, and other crimes.

    If I rob a bank in 2015, then am elected President in 2016, it is possible that while I am president that prior case isn’t prosecutable (although it may be impeachable). But when I leave office, I see no reason why something unconnected to holding office is protected. I’d even think any statute of limitations should be tolled.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  70. Cunningham was there but for those texts, there’s a good chance the Michigan gambit might have used the “Biden-James” laundry sack rather than the long term corrosive “Biden-Peters” sack, had Cunningham been able to match his governor’s win.

    urbanleftbehind (7c5b5a)

  71. @60. Vrooom! Vrooom! Buchanan to Perot to Palin to Trump.

    Drive on, racing fans. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  72. Those who like game theory might think this makes sense in a bandanna republic. An aging crook for life who would otherwise be willing to leave (say to retire in Monte Carlo) will instead immiserate his country.

    Marco (7bed92)

  73. If I rob a bank in 2015, then am elected President in 2016, it is possible that while I am president that prior case isn’t prosecutable (although it may be impeachable). But when I leave office, I see no reason why something unconnected to holding office is protected. I’d even think any statute of limitations should be tolled.

    LBJ had the goods on Nixon committing treason through Chenault in ’68. Never prosecuted.

    ‘Watergate’ under the bridge. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  74. LBJ had the goods on Nixon committing treason through Chenault in ’68. Never prosecuted.

    Treason? How so? Which enemy did Nixon give aid and comfort to? South Vietnam? We were allied. All Nixon’s people (Kissinger, Allen, etc) [allegedly] did was to relay to the South Vietnamese (who were already unwilling to settle) that they would have more support if Nixon won.

    If anyone should have been prosecuted it was LBJ for mass wiretapping of Republicans and other political opponents, and the reason that he didn’t bring it out was that he would have revealed the extent of that wiretapping (including Nixon and his advisors during the election).

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  75. @74. Look it up, Kevin.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  76. So… I think you guys need to dig into the allegations of fraud in PA, here’s a cliffnotes:
    https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/11/trump-campaign-files-lawsuit-on-pennsylvania-election-result-does-it-have-a-case/?itm_campaign=headline-testing-trump-campaign-files-lawsuit-on-pennsylvania-election-result-does-it-have-a-case&itm_medium=headline&itm_source=nationalreview&itm_content=Trump%20Campaign%20Files%20Lawsuit%20on%20Pennsylvania%20Election%20Result.%20Does%20It%20Have%20a%20Case%3F&itm_term=Trump%20Campaign%20Files%20Lawsuit%20on%20Pennsylvania%20Election%20Result.%20Does%20It%20Have%20a%20Case%3F

    In the court filling:
    “Over 51,000 [Absentee Pennsylvania] ballots are marked as returned just a day after they were sent out…Nearly 35,000 were returned on the same day they were mailed out.”

    “More than 23,000 have an impossible return date—earlier than the sent date.”

    O.o

    lawd what a mess…

    whembly (c30c83)

  77. I’m sure Tish James and Cy Vance have no compunction about prosecuting Trump once he’s out of office.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  78. The Lyndon Johnson tapes: Richard Nixon’s Treason

    https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-21768668

    Nixon apologists are idiots.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  79. How are you going to evict Trump ? He will live rent free in your heads forever.

    Brion Mitchell (18e8bb)

  80. @79. LOL Seems he has a penthouse leased inside CNN already. They can’t let him alone.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  81. Our guy Dave just got himself a Republican Congresswoman, as Harley Rouda has conceded to Michelle Steel in California’s 48th District.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  82. If Trump gets prosecuted by state officials in NY, I would like to know why they went after Trump with such alacrity while all the big financial CEOs walked away scot-free after destroying the economy in 2008.

    Hoi Polloi (66077a)

  83. DCSCA #78

    If that’s the case, then what do you have to say about Joe Biden and Kamala Harris sabotaging the FDA approval of the vaccine and the antibody therapeutic until after the 2020 Presidential election??

    Sammy Finkelman (00fff5)

  84. I don;t have exact evidence for that, but it’s probably there.

    All these accusations thrown around that Trump might be causing earlier approval of lifesaving drugs and vaccines for political reasons and how all that was bad.

    Sammy Finkelman (00fff5)

  85. I was thinking about this post and felt bad that I didn’t engage seriously with Patrick’s point, although I have done in a post on the same topic a month or so ago.

    I wouldn’t dismiss McArdle’s point that the appearance of using the criminal justice system to settle political scores is dangerous. It’s also undeniable, as Patrick points out, that Bill Clinton and Donald Trump have proven that a sufficiently immoral and unscrupulous president can get away with anything by appealing to senators’ partisanship.

    It occurred to me that maybe one way around both problems would be to make criminal investigations of outgoing presidents mandatory. It would be like an audit, reviewing any and all abuses of power that may have taken place in office. Of course, any such offenses could not be subject to pardon.

    Like the proverbial mice who came up with the idea of hanging a bell around the cat’s neck, the question is how to accomplish this in practice. You need an investigator sufficiently adversarial not to whitewash abuses of power, but also fair enough to respect the law and the facts.

    The normal process, which Patrick seems to favor, would entrust the investigation to the incoming administration. This is problematic for two reasons: first is point McArdle makes. Second is the opposite point: the incoming administration may be controlled by the same party as the outgoing president. One way or the other, facially plausible charges of bias are inevitable.

    I’m not sure what better alternatives are available. Involving either the legislative or executive branches lead to the same concerns about partisan chicanery. Involving the courts drags them directly into the political swamp and raises all sorts of other concerns.

    A more radical solution: create a fourth branch, directly elected by the people, to investigate every president after leaving office. This branch would consist of a single office: the Presidential Auditor. The auditor would be like an independent counsel empowered to investigate possible crimes committed by the outgoing president and vice president during their term of office (only). In filing to run for the job, each candidate would enumerate the charges to be investigated. They would be empowered to investigate only those charges. Voters could vote for any number of candidates. The single candidate receiving the most votes is elected if they receive a majority of votes cast. Otherwise no one is elected and there is no investigation.

    In effect, we allow anyone who can make an effective argument that the president violated the law into a DA, and make the voters a grand jury. Any charges ultimately brought would be handled by the courts as normal.

    Dave (1bb933)

  86. Our guy Dave just got himself a Republican Congresswoman

    Actually, that’s my old district (moved out in October 2018).

    Freshman Dem Katie Porter was re-elected pretty easily in the district where I live now.

    Dave (1bb933)

  87. One, Trump has a history of declaring election results he doesn’t like as “stolen”.
    Two, it’s funny where loser.com takes you.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  88. 82. It says he did it in 2912, when Obama beat Romnwy; and in 2016, when Ted Cruz beat him in the Iowa caucuses.

    (The Iowa Republican caucuses really were wrong in 2012 when Romney was reported the winner instead of Rick Santorum.)

    Sammy Finkelman (00fff5)

  89. I mean 87.

    How much did it cost someone to buy (and redirect) loser.com. ?

    Sammy Finkelman (00fff5)

  90. Those who like game theory might think this makes sense in a bandanna republic.

    I don’t know if that’s the phrase you intended, but I like it.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  91. “bandanna republic” — I loved that too. Maybe autocorrect showing a good sense of humor, or just a felicitous slip of the finger. My own typos are never so clever.

    Radegunda (20775b)

  92. How are you going to evict Trump ? He will live rent free in your heads forever.

    Brion Mitchell (18e8bb) — 11/10/2020 @ 3:40 pm

    This is the president, who lost the election (and you and everyone else knows he lost, fair and square), and is refusing to transfer power, fortified the white house, and is making a lot of changes to people in charge of things… like nuclear weapons. Is it sane to mock people who are thinking about Donald Trump?

    Now, I don’t think he’s going to stay in office after his term is over. I think he’s putting up a front for an immunity deal. But this isn’t just routine behavior. I imagine if Obama had done this after losing to Romney we’d be hearing a lot about it from the same folks laughing that anyone cares.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  93. Right after an election whose results he won’t accept, Trump appears to be doubling down on pushing out officials who aren’t disposed to serve him personally first and foremost, and replacing them with loyalists. Esper pushed back against his worst ideas, including domestic use of the military, so he was booted and replaced by someone less qualified but Trumpier. There’s said to be a “loyalty-oath atmosphere” growing at the DoD:

    When Jim Anderson was fired yesterday as Acting Under Secretary for Policy, he was given a “clap-out” as he left the building. The WH called to request names of any political appointees who joined in so they could be fired.

    If that’s true — and I find it not implausible from this White House — shouldn’t we be concerned that there’s a whiff of dictatorship in it? Granted it’s several steps short of arresting people for failing to clap enthusiastically enough, or for appearing to be faking the required display of terrible grief upon Dear Leader’s passing. But I thought Donald Trump was supposed to be the most resolute guardian of our liberties. Or is he just cracking the eggs to make the Freedom Omelette?

    I remember reading something in Tacitus about Nero’s henchmen going around to find people in the audience who weren’t showing enough appreciation for Nero’s musical performance; couldn’t find the passage when I did a quick search for it the other day. Also saw something in the news recently about a scholar arguing that Tacitus probably exaggerated the horribleness of Nero by a considerable degree.

    Radegunda (20775b)

  94. I imagine if Obama had done this after losing to Romney we’d be hearing a lot about it from the same folks laughing that anyone cares.

    That is a certainty.

    Radegunda (20775b)

  95. I imagine if Obama had done this after losing to Romney we’d be hearing a lot about it from the same folks laughing that anyone cares.

    That is a certainty.

    Radegunda (20775b) — 11/11/2020 @ 10:39 am

    Honestly I don’t think those people are worth listening too any more.

    Time123 (235fc4)

  96. The WH called to request names of any political appointees who joined in so they could be fired.

    JFC

    Dustin (4237e0)


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