Patterico's Pontifications

2/27/2024

Constitutional Vanguard: No, the Cases Against Trump Are Not “Lawfare”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:58 am



In my latest newsletter, which is over 10,000 words long, I once again pick on Sarah Isgur. Today I am taking issue with her contention that “Republican voters’ concerns about ‘lawfare’ aren’t entirely unfounded.” Specifically, I note various ways in which her presentation of the question omits important arguments that tend to dispel the notion that the cases against Trump are “lawfare.”

Yes, it’s long, but don’t fret. There’s a summary up front that’s no more than 1,700 words, which isn’t too bad. There are even bullet points, which are barely over 1,000 words. You can just read the bullet points and get the gist.

I’ve made the first 4,700 words or so available for all, and the remaining bit, over 5,000 words, accessible to the paid elite. But anyone can read the bullet-point summary up top and easily comprehend the nub of all my arguments.

Excerpt from the free portion:

Isgur suggests that even the classified documents case might be lawfare, because there is a precedent discussed in the recent report by Robert Hur (the special counsel in charge of the Biden documents case) in which Ronald Reagan was allowed to retain his own handwritten notes, which contained highly classified material, even after his presidency had ended. Isgur says Trump supporters are “left to wonder” why Trump is being treated differently, darkly suggesting that the reason is because Trump is running against Joe Biden.

What Isgur knows, but does not tell her readers, is that the Hur report clearly lays out why DOJ thinks Trump is different from Biden or even Reagan. Specifically, Hur says in his executive summary, which Isgur says she has read, that “after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite. According to the indictment, he not only refused to return the documents for many months, but he also obstructed justice by enlisting others to destroy evidence and then to lie about it.” That was not true of Biden or Reagan. Hur explains that such aggravating facts present a circumstance why DOJ is compelled to bring a prosecution that it might not otherwise have brought. Isgur should have explained this to her readers.

Excerpt from the paid portion, addressing the significance of reported comments that Biden is impatient with the pace of the Trump prosecutions:

In fact, the Department of Justice has a long and proud history of independence from the politics of the White House. This independence is not beyond theoretical question regarding how total it may be (see: the so-called “unitary executive” theory) and the history is not entirely without blemish (see: the way that presidents like Nixon and Trump have threatened DOJ’s independence, to cite two examples among many). But generally speaking, DOJ has done an admirable job of keeping politics out of its prosecutions. The Department has rules about not interfering with elections, and about walling off the White House from decision making in politically sensitive cases. The Department is very good about this, in my judgment.

And nobody should know this history of independence better than Sarah Isgur, who was once the top spokesperson for the Department of Justice under Donald Trump. Not only should she know about this history of independence, she does know it—very well. I know this for a fact, because I have heard her talk about it many times—like, for example, when she explained why DOJ would never have consulted or even informed Biden before executing a search warrant on Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.

Yet the concept of DOJ’s independence, which one would think is particularly relevant to a discussion of whether Joe Biden is calling the shots in the Trump prosecutions, is oddly absent from Isgur’s entire piece. Indeed, in a paragraph whose topic sentence claims that GOP voters have some basis to be concerned about lawfare against Trump, Isgur cites Joe Biden’s dumb statements, without making even the slightest reference to DOJ’s history of independence, or to the overwhelming evidence in the Politico article she cites showing that DOJ has been acting independently under Biden in various politically charged decisions and prosecutions.

Read it here. Subscribe here.

67 Responses to “Constitutional Vanguard: No, the Cases Against Trump Are Not “Lawfare””

  1. This was an all-weekend project.

    Patterico (fe6b81)

  2. The DoJ and GA cases are righteous. The NY cases seem leveraged and are brought by political hacks who ran on a “getting Trump” message. It is too bad that the less-robust cases are going first.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  3. Maybe both candidates will step down for something like health reasons (it sure couldn’t be for the health of the nation). Otherwise, this upcoming rematch is horrific.

    Patterico, thank you for forcefully reminding people that ethics and personal choices and honor matter more than cheerleading partisanship.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  4. Simon,

    I agree, but wonder if the replacement candidates wouldn’t be worse. It could end up being Ramaswamy vs Sanders.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  5. “Be careful what you wish for” indeed.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  6. Comparing Trump’s handling of classified documents to Biden’s and Reagan’s ignores the fact that Trump and Reagan were presidents at the time (with the power to declassify) and Biden was not. Biden’s comp is David Patraeus.

    lloyd (f89a71)

  7. I recommend emptywheel’s dissection of Trump’s Presidential Records Act reply brief.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  8. I honestly don’t know what a Trump-less GOP would do. I guess most of the leaders have no idea either. I don’t think it would be — suddenly it’s McCain/Romney (or Haley). I think Whembly’s and NJRob’s candidate DeSantis would make the most sense — to see if populism has a future without a charismatic leader. A normal 2024 primary season might have teased that out.

    Reaganite conservatism, for the moment, does not have an obvious party or consituency. (Sorry kevin M. Sorry Appalled)

    Appalled (168f11)

  9. #7 —

    Uh oh — you went there. Your right-wing street cred is so over…

    Appalled (168f11)

  10. President Obama granted classification and declassification authority to Vice President Biden under Executive Order 13526.

    ………
    Sec. 1.3. Classification Authority. (a) The authority to classify information originally may be exercised only by:
    (1) the President and the Vice President;
    ……..
    Sec. 3.1. Authority for Declassification. (a) Information shall be declassified as soon as it no longer meets the standards for classification under this order.
    (b) Information shall be declassified or downgraded by:
    (1) the official who authorized the original classification, if that official is still serving in the same position and has original classification authority;

    (2) the originator’s current successor in function, if that individual has original classification authority;

    (3) a supervisory official of either the originator or his or her successor in function, if the supervisory official has original classification authority; or

    (4) officials delegated declassification authority in writing by the agency head or the senior agency official of the originating agency.

    The “original classification authority” is defined in the order as “an individual authorized in writing, either by the President, the Vice President, or by agency heads or other officials designated by the President, to classify information in the first instance.” They can also determine when a document can be declassified: “At the time of original classification, the original classification authority shall establish a specific date or event for declassification based on the duration of the national security sensitivity of the information.”
    ………..
    As of January 2023, Tom Blanton, director of the independent nongovernmental organization the National Security Archive, confirmed with Snopes that the 2009 executive order was still in effect, and that the vice president was an “original classification authority” in the sense that the elected official could, while still in office, declassify any federal document, including ones that other people have designated classified.
    ……….

    Source

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  11. The free part was a good read. Also this follows the usual pattern.

    Trump didn’t do it. (There were no classified documents)
    Trump did it, but it’s ok. (Ok, there were classified documents but this is really a paperwork issue/he could have declassified it/they weren’t important)
    Trump did, it’s bad, but everyone does it (Ok, he had lots of classified documents, they weren’t well secured, and he was hiding it from the government.)

    When you go in with the conclusion that the game is rigged against you no evidence to the contrary will be compelling.

    Time123 (ccd3db)

  12. @6, I think Mike Pence would be a more accurate comparison. Also, Biden/Pence as VP were allowed to have classified documents at their homes.

    The main difference from Trump is their lack of effort to keep them / deceive the government about having them.

    Time123 (ccd3db)

  13. Patreus didn’t accidentally hold classified material in a box in his garage or mistakenly believe he had a right to his own hand written notes. He intentionally leaked classified material to his secret lover at a time when the classified material was pertinent to an ongoing military operations. He also lied about it to investigators.

    It’s very different and likely worse then anything Trump has been accused of.

    Time123 (ccd3db)

  14. “I honestly don’t know what a Trump-less GOP would do.”

    I think this is why Haley’s imperfect opposition is important. It strikes the happy warrior balance where she can still attract 40% of the vote (some Democrat-leaning independents mixed in there) and convey dissatisfaction with, in essence, an incumbent nominee.

    With every interview and speech, she cultivates some doubt and skepticism. There’s a record being established that is about as good as can be done right now. Right-wing media is still in the tank for Trump so there’s only so much oxygen available for criticizing Trump….currently.

    I was watching CNN and Abby Phillip annoyingly kept pressing “why does Haley keep running….what state can she even conceivably win?” I think it’s a misguided question. Sometimes giving people a forum to register their displeasure with the presumptive nominee is enough of a reason. It’s useful to continue demonstrating that there is a Republican segment who doesn’t want Trump….and that consolidation should not be assumed. A big loss by Trump in the general will compel introspection. Maybe that’s the starting point….

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3)

  15. Reaganite conservatism, for the moment, does not have an obvious party or consituency. (Sorry kevin M. Sorry Appalled)

    No need to be sorry for that, I’m an advocate of forming an actual center-right party.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  16. It’s very different and likely worse then anything Trump has been accused of.

    Trump has been accused of leaking active war plans to foreigners, solely to burnish his image of importance.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  17. I loved the synopsis of the “lawfare” critique. I wonder if Isgur’s blind spot comes more from a perception point of view versus a rigorous legal point of view. That is, people perceive lawfare and perception drives coverage and opinions. I agree though that this is weak sauce. Sometimes it’s best to let the system play out and not presume bad faith. Yes, prosecutors should not be pledging to “get Trump”….but there is fire where we see smoke.

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3)

  18. A big loss by Trump in the general will compel introspection. Maybe that’s the starting point….

    Perhaps, but it is within Biden’s power to F it up. It may be his superpower. Consider what a big Trump victory would do.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  19. Yes, prosecutors should not be pledging to “get Trump”….but there is fire where we see smoke.

    Some of these things are not like the other things. Some of these things do not belong.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  20. One, Clinton’s Monica Mess made me sick of the term “below the law”, because Clinton’s defenders used that dumb, meaningless phrase all the time. Not good that Sarah is using the same vapid retort. I suspect that maybe she wasn’t aware, given she was 15 at the time.

    Two, Trump is never the victim. Ever. He’s already gotten too many passes in spoiled life. It’s long past time he be held to account.

    Three, the documents case is open-and-shut, IMO, and has nothing to do with Reagan’s diaries. Regarding “willfully retained”, people keep forgetting that Trump willfully retained the 15 boxes he eventually returned to NARA, without any penalty whatsoever, because he cooperated with the owners of said documents. If anything, this case is anti-lawfare.

    Paul Montagu (383f45)

  21. The justice department has a long and proud history. Really? You could have fooled me!

    asset (5c71a6)

  22. @17

    I loved the synopsis of the “lawfare” critique. I wonder if Isgur’s blind spot comes more from a perception point of view versus a rigorous legal point of view. That is, people perceive lawfare and perception drives coverage and opinions. I agree though that this is weak sauce. Sometimes it’s best to let the system play out and not presume bad faith. Yes, prosecutors should not be pledging to “get Trump”….but there is fire where we see smoke.

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3) — 2/27/2024 @ 11:41 am

    That’s a very astute distinction, and I think both is important.

    I can understand where Pat is coming from, as he’s someone who’s not only openly and virulent hostile to Trump, he’s also a trained prosecutor who makes a living as a prosecutor. It’s totally understandable that he sincerely believes Trump should be charged and should be convicted.

    But I think he, and others here are missing the overarching point:
    When prosecutions like this, no matter how justified, gives even an appearance of asymmetrical application to a certain disfavored person/group… you will inevitably get these “lawfare” accusations.

    It’s a problem that shouldn’t be ignored, because all it does is undermines the constitutional order.

    It’s a problem when Judge Engoron is obviously a democratic political hack.

    It’s a problem when Judge Chutkan openly derisive and pre-judgmental to Trump in her many J6 cases, who’s now overseeing the Trump DC case.

    It’s a problem when Letitia James openly campaign to “get Trump”, and is currently spiking the football of her massive win.

    It’s a problem when both Alvin Bragg in NY and Fani Willis in GA openly campaign to “get Trump” and by all stretch of imagination, contorting the law to fit their desired indictments.

    I’m not saying that Trump should skate… just because.

    I’m saying we should look at the broader picture here as to why claims of “lawfare” has legs… and what should be done to ameliorate such accusations.

    That anti-Trump prosecutors/judges do themselves no favors being this openly partisan, and I wonder if this will be a case study in the future to teach prosecutors/judges to “let the facts” speaks, without injecting partisan bias.

    whembly (5f7596)

  23. AJ_Liberty (5f05c3) — 2/27/2024 @ 11:11 am

    I am slowly coming to the conclusion that Haley’s continued campaign as a very good thing. It would be wise to pay attention to those who are voting for her, and why.

    What peaked my interest was Patterico re-registering as a Republican so he could cast his vote for her. To me, that is a big deal and is valuable information.

    felipe (5045ed)

  24. What I am looking forward to is the incoming leadership of the RNC emptying the RNC’s coffers to pay Trump’s legal bills. That will be a win in and of itself whether or not they are ever NRA’d/Wayne LaPierre’d for it.

    nk (dbc06d)

  25. @patterico re: the victimless crime thing: Trump has had over $250mil of debt forgiven since 2010.

    Sam G (74da99)

  26. What peaked my interest was Patterico re-registering as a Republican so he could cast his vote for her. To me, that is a big deal and is valuable information.

    felipe (5045ed) — 2/27/2024 @ 2:44 pm

    Are you sure that’s where he landed? My recollection is that he considered re-registering, but concluded the GOP in its current form is so irredeemable that he wants no part of it until it’s materially purged of Trumpism (e.g., anti-rule of law, anti-peaceful democratic transfer of power, Putinist anti-Ukraine, anti-NATO, anti-Americanism, abandonment of border security in service of Trump’s electoral agenda, profligate spending). Now that happens to be my view as well, so my memory could be tinged by confirmation bias. Can we get a ruling on this?

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  27. the victimless crime thing: Trump has had over $250mil of debt forgiven since 2010.

    Biden has forgiven $138 Billion in student loans, so there’s joy all around.

    Kevin M (8676e4)

  28. Are you sure that’s where he landed?

    That’s what I read. Of course, he may change his mind and vote for Donald Duck.

    Kevin M (8676e4)

  29. Comparing Trump’s handling of classified documents to Biden’s and Reagan’s ignores the fact that Trump and Reagan were presidents at the time (with the power to declassify) and Biden was not. Biden’s comp is David Patraeus.

    lloyd (f89a71) — 2/27/2024 @ 9:38 am

    That distinction is only meaningful if Trump actually declassified them. Apart from his post-hoc assertions, there’s no evidence he did.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  30. That’s what I read. Of course, he may change his mind and vote for Donald Duck.

    Kevin M (8676e4) — 2/27/2024 @ 4:23 pm

    Are you sure? I remember Pat saying he was considering re-registering, but not that he’d ultimately decided to do it. And then I believe I recall him saying that he did finally decide against it. I’m not certain, but the latter announcement may have been on Twitter, so it’s possible some people here didn’t see it. Or, again as I said, maybe I’m just mis-remembering crucial parts to confirm my own bias. I hope Pat will weigh in to set the record straight.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  31. Sarah Isgur seems to be concealing facts and using misleading arguments in some places, but that doesn’t make ALL her arguments wrong.

    Just stronger than they are in reality. Each point must be evaluated by itself.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  32. lurker (cd7cd4) — 2/27/2024 @ 4:13 pm

    Patterico confirmed it in one of his replies to another commenter. I have no idea how to find it – I’m too backward.

    felipe (5045ed)

  33. I believe Patterico was replying to Paul. It ended with [my bad paraphrase] so, I guess I’m in a cult, too!

    felipe (5045ed)

  34. Here it is. brute forced it.

    Meantime, MAGA Mike is under Trump’s control, and he won’t put a Ukraine aid bill on the floor. Both he and Trump are unpatriotic and un-American, and my party is a f-cking cult.

    Sounds like my former party.

    Oh, hell, wait. I forgot I re-registered as a Republican to case a meaningless vote for Nikki Haley in the primary.

    OK, my party is a f-cking cult.
    Patterico (d623e2) — 2/21/2024 @ 8:17 am

    Even more graphic than I remembered!

    felipe (5045ed)

  35. lurker (cd7cd4) — 2/27/2024 @ 4:32 pm

    Was that good enough for you, lurker?

    felipe (5045ed)

  36. Yup. I didn’t see that. Thanks!

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  37. Are you sure that’s where he landed? My recollection is that he considered re-registering, but concluded the GOP in its current form is so irredeemable that he wants no part of it until it’s materially purged of Trumpism (e.g., anti-rule of law, anti-peaceful democratic transfer of power, Putinist anti-Ukraine, anti-NATO, anti-Americanism, abandonment of border security in service of Trump’s electoral agenda, profligate spending). Now that happens to be my view as well, so my memory could be tinged by confirmation bias. Can we get a ruling on this?

    Haley’s close enough, for now, that I re-registered to vote for her. She’s carrying the torch for the time being. She almost lost me when she babbled about pardoning him, but if I can vote for Biden in the general, I can hold my nose and vote for her in the primary.

    I have no illusions. She can’t win and she may end up endorsing the cretin in the end. I’m not giving her money. And your description of how I feel about the GOP is accurate. But yeah, as of this moment, I am Mr. GOP.

    Patterico (b9eb31)

  38. Beldar always said he wanted me to fight for the GOP from within. This is one way I can do that.

    Patterico (b9eb31)

  39. The Insignificance of Trump’s “Immunity from Prosecution” Argument

    ……….If the Supreme Court applied its established doctrinal test, it would deny the stay because Trump can’t possibly demonstrate “a fair prospect that a majority of the Court will vote to reverse the judgment below.” Indeed, I’d be surprised if even a single justice on the Court would vote to reverse, because the merits of the immunity argument are so weak, largely for the reasons thoroughly explained by D.C. Circuit Judges Henderson, Pan, and Childs in their per curiam opinion on February 6.
    ………..
    ………..A simple denial of certiorari—or, better still, treating the motion as a cert petition and then summarily affirming the court of appeals’ judgment, cf. Purcell v. Gonzalez (2006) (treating an application for injunction relief as a cert petition and summarily reversing)—would signal that the court of appeals got the question right and would avoid the need for the Supreme Court to add another high-profile Trump case to its calendar this term.
    ………..
    If and when the Court does decide to hear the case, the stakes will be far less momentous than many observers might assume. For one thing, the outcome is fairly certain: Trump’s arguments for immunity border on the frivolous, and it wouldn’t take much work for the Court to dispose of them in short order. ……..
    ………..
    Nevertheless, even if Trump were to prevail on his immunity argument, it wouldn’t affect the forthcoming trial very much because, with only one relatively minor exception, there’s no serious argument that Trump was acting in his official capacity as President when he engaged in the conduct charged in the indictment.

    For starters, all but one of the counts of the indictment allege that Trump conspired with others to violate the law through fraudulent conduct. And, with one discrete exception, Trump’s alleged agreements to commit such fraud were with persons outside the government—John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro, and (probably) Boris Epshteyn. …….

    It’s very hard to see how Trump’s agreements with the five private parties might have been undertaken in his official capacity as President of the United States. ……..

    Nor did Trump act in his official capacity when he engaged in the vast majority of what the indictment alleges to be the “acts to effect the object of the conspiracy,” that is, the overt acts. …….. those alleged acts consisted primarily of making knowingly false communications with persons outside the executive branch in an effort to have them act to change the certification of the electoral vote in Trump’s favor.

    When those actions are “viewed objectively and in context,” as they would have to be for purposes of the Nixon v. Fitzgerald presidential immunity inquiry (see Blassingame v. Trump (D.C. Cir. 2023)), there’s no plausible case for concluding that Trump was acting in his official capacity when he engaged in them.

    For starters, it’s significant that all of the acts were “unrelated to any of [Trump’s] official duties as President of the United States.”……….
    ………..
    ……….. (T)he fact that Trump’s communications were unrelated to presidential duties and did not involve the use of any executive branch powers or resources makes it far more likely that Trump performed those acts in his personal capacity. …….

    Most importantly, the conspirators’ overt acts (including Trump’s) allegedly were designed specifically and directly to effect Trump’s designation as winner of the 2020 election, rather than to do something on behalf of the nation ……. As the D.C. Circuit held in Blassingame, “[w]hen a first-term President opts to seek a second term, his campaign to win re-election is not an official presidential act,” and “[t]he Office of the Presidency as an institution is agnostic about who will occupy it next.” Therefore, efforts specifically designed “to gain that office,” as these obviously were, are “not … official act[s] of the office.” ……….
    ………
    Likewise with respect to the conspirators’ alleged efforts to have state legislators and officials change the outcomes of their states’ votes: Those efforts, too, were spearheaded by private parties (such as Giuliani and Eastman) who represented Trump in his personal capacity……….

    Similarly, the conspirators’ exhortations to the crowd assembled at the Ellipse on January 6—for them to bring pressure to bear on Pence and members of Congress—also were clearly made on behalf of Trump in his personal capacity. That rally was, in effect, a continuation of Trump’s campaign activity………
    ………..
    ……….Trump’s alleged arrangement with (Jeffrey) Clark “to use the power and authority of the Justice Department” undoubtedly describes conduct undertaken in Trump’s official capacity as President. Therefore if Trump’s immunity argument were valid, the government couldn’t convict him for these violations of criminal law, and perhaps the government would also be barred from even putting Trump on trial with respect to that episode ……..

    Nevertheless, the important point to emphasize here is that the Trump-Clark endeavor is relatively small potatoes in the context of the much broader conspiracies alleged in the indictment. Therefore, if the Supreme Court chooses to decide the immunity question before trial, both the Justices and the public ought to keep in mind that the answer to that question will affect only a small, discrete part of the indictment.
    ……….

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  40. Thanks, Pat. That answers my question. Not without a fair amount of ambivalence, I ultimately decided that her commitments to vote for him if he’s nominated, or pardon him if she’s elected, were disqualifying. But as between the two of them she’s obviously immeasurably preferable, so I sympathize with anyone who continues to support her.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  41. Beldar’s a wise guy. No, not a wiseguy. You know what I mean.

    I feel like this bears repeating for Ms. Isgur’s sake. For the first time in American history, an American president attempted a soft coup by trying to cancel legitimate votes and legitimate elections and illegally reverse outcomes in order remain in power.
    To me, that is fully unforgivable and completely disqualifying, so I’m fully on board with any valid legal proceeding or court case that would convict him, impoverish him, and put him behind bars. That is all.

    Paul Montagu (d52d7d)

  42. Not without a fair amount of ambivalence, I ultimately decided that her commitments to vote for him if he’s nominated, or pardon him if she’s elected, were disqualifying.

    A totally reasonable position.

    Patterico (b9eb31)

  43. Haley>Biden>Trump

    norcal (537d63)

  44. Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 2/27/2024 @ 5:49 pm

    ……….Trump’s alleged arrangement with (Jeffrey) Clark “to use the power and authority of the Justice Department” undoubtedly describes conduct undertaken in Trump’s official capacity as President. Therefore if Trump’s immunity argument were valid, the government couldn’t convict him for these violations of criminal law, and perhaps the government would also be barred from even putting Trump on trial with respect to that episode ……..

    And you couldn’t convict him for bribery before impeachment. Now that surely was not the intention. But as matter of practicality, he would need to be out of office before being prosecuted for taking a bribe.

    Sammy Finkelman (c2c77e)

  45. @27 and that is relevant to Trump’s fraud in no way, shape, or form. Trump’s fraud led the banks to loan him more money than they likely would have, or at lower rates than they would have, and doing so had a result of their needing to forgive his loans. So they are in fact victims.

    Sam G (74da99)

  46. And you couldn’t convict him for bribery before impeachment. Now that surely was not the intention. But as matter of practicality, he would need to be out of office before being prosecuted for taking a bribe.

    Sammy Finkelman (c2c77e) — 2/28/2024 @ 3:43 am

    Huh? Trump has not been accused of bribery.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  47. Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 2/28/2024 @ 9:08 am

    Huh? Trump has not been accused of bribery.

    It’s the same legal argument. Because bribery would be in connection with his official duties, and recent Supreme Court decisions limit it pretty much to thaa=t.

    SWhat that earlier Supreme Court decision about a president having immunity within the outer scope of official duties more or less means if his motives ere not dishonorable.

    His best defense to the Jeffrey Clark situation is that… nothing happened.

    Albeit that was because the entire upper echelon of the Department of Justice threatened to resign.

    Trump had wanted DOJ to issue a false statement saying that they had found evidence of vote fraud. When they told him specifically that they had looked into it and had not found vote fraud (sufficient to effect the election. Because there are always looked into instances of individuals casting votes for other people.)

    Sammy Finkelman (c2c77e)

  48. I ultimately decided that her commitments to vote for him if he’s nominated, or pardon him if she’s elected, were disqualifying.

    We will see. I will be very disappointed if she ends up endorsing Trump. I had hoped (in the other universe where she won) that when it came time to consider a pardon, she’d recalibrate and perhaps just commute it to house arrest with a side of STFU.

    Kevin M (8676e4)

  49. Haley>Biden>RFKjr>Trump

    Kevin M (8676e4)

  50. Here’s evidence why folks sees these Trump cases as “lawfare”:
    https://harvardharrispoll.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/HHP_Feb2024_KeyResults.pdf

    “Do you think the democrats today are engaged in lawfare — a campaign using the government and the legal system in biased ways to take out a political opponent or do you think the prosecutions of Donald Trump are fair and unrelated to politics?”

    58 % agreed the prosecutions are lawfare, compared to 42 % who said the indictments are fair.

    When they flipped the order of the question, a majority, 55 %, still said Trump’s legal woes are a Democrat strategy to take out a political opponent, with 45 % disagreeing.

    When broken down by party lines:
    -between 36 and 42 % of Democrats agreed that Trump’s indictments constitute lawfare
    -roughly 8 in 10 Republicans agreed that Trump’s indictments constitute lawfare.
    -looks like indies were roughly split on the question.

    This is a problem.

    whembly (5f7596)

  51. I will be very disappointed if (Haley) ends up endorsing Trump.

    She’s already promised to do so.

    Rip Murdock (abc23c)

  52. But, Rip, you don’t rely on her promises.

    Kevin M (8676e4)

  53. But, Rip, you don’t rely on her promises.

    Kevin M (8676e4) — 2/28/2024 @ 12:08 pm

    Only when there is video evidence.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  54. But, Rip, you don’t rely on her promises.

    Kevin M (8676e4) — 2/28/2024 @ 12:08 pm

    She hasn’t walked it back, which is a first.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  55. Sad!

    Former President Donald Trump must come up with the full bond amount to cover the $454 million verdict in the civil fraud trial, an appeals court judge ruled Wednesday.

    Associate Justice Anil Singh, however, lifted a ban on Trump’s ability to obtain loans from a New York bank, which could allow him to access the equity in his assets to back the full bond amount.

    Singh denied Trump’s request to delay his obligation to post $454 million until a full appellate panel hears his motion to stay enforcement of that judgment until his appeals of the civil fraud ruling are over.
    ……….
    The 30 day clock for Trump to come up with the judgment began on February 23 so he will need to post the bond right around March 25, when jury selection begins for his criminal trial on charges relating to a scheme to cover up a hush money payment made before the 2016 presidential election. Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
    ……….

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  56. I can think of some sovereign wealth funds (Saudi Arabia, Qatar) that easily float a loan to Trump.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  57. Supreme Court says it will consider Trump’s immunity claims in D.C. trial

    ………
    The justices set argument for the week of April 22 to consider a unanimous ruling from a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that rejected Trump’s sweeping assertion of immunity from prosecution.

    Trump’s pretrial proceedings in D.C. will remain on hold until a ruling is issued, putting the Supreme Court in the politically fraught position of influencing the timing of a federal election-obstruction trial for the leading Republican presidential candidate.

    The brief unsigned order issued Wednesday said the justices were not “expressing a view on the merits” of the case and would consider only the question of whether and to what extent a former president has “immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office.
    ……….

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  58. https://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/022824zr3_febh.pdf

    Trump’s briefs are due on Mar 19, the Special Counsel’s briefs are due by Apr 8.

    aphrael (fec75c)

  59. So … we’re back to wondering, will Trump’s Secret Service detail fire on SEAL Team Six?

    nk (99b336)

  60. I remember, when I was a kid, frequently being told that one of the things that distinguished our system from Soviet tyranny was that in America, our politicians were beholden to the law and could be punished for violating it.

    It’s still *absolutely shocking* to me that conservatives have decided that, no, the President *must* be immune to the law or the Republic will fall.

    aphrael (fec75c)

  61. They’re not conservatives. They’re whiny moochers to whom Trump promises to share the candy he steals from the candy store with. No different than their counterparts on the left except for their tastes in candy, their peeves, and their hard luck stories to passing strangers.

    nk (abb3f1)

  62. @60 “It’s still *absolutely shocking* to me that conservatives have decided that, no, the President *must* be immune to the law or the Republic will fall.”

    There’s the law, and there’s prosecutorial discretion. The two are not the same. Only those who equate the two find the conservative position absolutely shocking.

    lloyd (2daac1)

  63. @60 “I remember, when I was a kid, frequently being told that one of the things that distinguished our system from Soviet tyranny was that in America, our politicians were beholden to the law and could be punished for violating it.”

    You were told the wrong lesson. Our system is distinguished from Soviet tyranny in that our politicians are beholden to the people. Navalny was in prison because he was beholden to a prosecutor.

    lloyd (2daac1)

  64. The Statist Left is at least consistent in its beliefs since they hold the individual to be a servant of the State. The Statist Right is confused.

    Kevin M (8676e4)

  65. So … we’re back to wondering, will Trump’s Secret Service detail fire on SEAL Team Six?

    No, because Biden will have arranged a group retreat for them that day.

    Kevin M (8676e4)

  66. Here’s evidence why folks sees these Trump cases as “lawfare”:

    [proceeds to provide evidence not why, but that, “folks see these Trump cases as ‘lawfare'”]

    This is a problem.

    whembly (5f7596) — 2/28/2024 @ 10:58 am

    You know, I once sent a student to the office for talking loudly and swearing during class. The principal brought her back a few minutes later, called me into the hall, and told me I couldn’t send her to the office for talking when EVERYONE was talking.

    In vain did I try to explain that of course everyone was talking, because I had assigned a group project…and that I hadn’t sent her to the office for talking, but for talking so loudly as to draw attention to herself from all the other groups, and for saying “$h!t” while doing so. No, the principal had made his decision, and she got off scot-free.

    While I’m sure whembly would have appreciated that sort of sober-minded and even-handed jurisprudence, I have to say, I wasn’t a fan.

    Parting thoughts: I wonder whether a Harris poll of my class would have revealed that the other girls in her group, all Gretchens and Karens to her Regina George, were all of the opinion that I had not treated their leader fairly. And I wonder how much weight whembly would expect me to give that poll in reflecting on my actions.

    Demosthenes (bb3266)

  67. The Statist Left is at least consistent in its beliefs since they hold the individual to be a servant of the State. The Statist Right is confused.

    Kevin M (8676e4) — 2/28/2024 @ 6:25 pm

    Not so confused, Kevin…and not “statist” either, exactly. Like their counterparts of previous centuries, many of them are merely believers in absolute monarchy. L’etat, c’est Trump.

    Demosthenes (bb3266)


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