Tag Archives: Dept of Justice

It’s Because He Was President

Members of the media continue to discuss how extraordinary it would be for the Department of Justice to indict a former President, and how disruptive it will be if he is indicted for the multiple crimes he was openly and repeatedly committed. Even while trumpeting (sorry) the line that no one in the United States is above the law.

I want to state that it is precisely because Donald Trump was president that he must be brought to justice, the same as any thug or other criminal. It may be unprecedented but being unusual or even one of-a-kind is no excuse for allowing a criminal to walk free. This is particularly true when that criminal continues to spread the same blatant lies that led to the January 6 insurrection. Trump repeats his falsehoods about the 2020 election multiple times a week. He actively endorses the candidacies of election deniers around the country.

Now he has gone the last mile. He has stated that the [false] claims of election fraud justify disregarding all the rules and regulations governing elections, including the Constitution itself. https://bit.ly/3iqMZkU and https://bit.ly/3HeSkGB and https://bit.ly/3ulG1QY

There can be no clearer indication that Trump is not an American patriot but is a self-interested traitor. He promises to continue promoting his lies about the 2020 election even as he runs in the 2024 presidential election. He literally wants to be “installed” as president, leading, obviously, to the removal of the elected President Biden, the replacement of the entire leadership of the federal government and, effectively, the collapse of American democracy. That is what Trump demands and that is why he should be indicted now.

The fact that most of Trump-endorsed election deniers were rejected in the 2022 midterms is irrelevant. That outcome may suggest that to a large extent the voters have had enough of election-denial, but the money keeps rolling in to finance Trump’s legal fees and his announced candidacy for President in 2024. Grotesquely unqualified candidates like Herschel Walker continue to be promoted by Trump and by the Republican Party and are considered serious threats against candidates like Rev. Warnock in Georgia.

Despite everything that has happened since Trump took office, MAGA Republicans and so-call Christian Fundamentalists continue their fanatical loyalty to him. They claim that the events that led to two impeachments (also unprecedented) and the insurrection were all fake. You can show them a video of the Capitol attack and they will say (1) it never happened, (2) it was staged by paid actors, (3) it was really antifa, not Trump supporters, or (4) they were just patriots fighting to correct the theft of the election (for which no evidence has ever been produced).

Trump’s supporters still say that his phone call to the Georgia Secretary of State demanding the “finding” of just enough votes, by exactly one, to give Trump the win was nothing to be concerned about. Same for his attempt to extort from the president of Ukraine an investigation of his political opponent in the 2020 election. And on and on.

Trump’s crimes are so numerous and his uses of the judicial system to stall and deflect so common and well-financed that a degree of indifference may have set in through the body politic. See MEDIAite at https://bit.ly/3Vt9Bjt  Whatever that may be, the fact remains that Donald Trump, while President of the United States, attempted to overthrow the government by preventing the transfer of power to his duly elected successor. His financial crimes and other abuses of power pale in comparison to that unprecedented attack on the very democratic process that elected him.

And that is the reason he must be prosecuted. Trump violated his oath of office, abused his power, and led an insurrection attempting to end democracy. If he had succeeded, it is likely we would never have seen another real election in this country.

So, members of the media, please just stop with the “OMG, it’s unprecedented that a former president would be indicted.” The lack of precedent simply highlights how grotesque Trump’s conduct was and is. I see now that some of his lawyers have testified before the criminal grand jury and that’s good, although we don’t know, and likely never will know the extent to which they avoided telling the truth by citing attorney-client and/or executive privilege. It is well-established law that such privileges cannot be used to shield communications involved in the planning and execution of crimes, but Trump has succeeded many times in deflecting and deferring consequences with similar claims.

There are some suggestions that Trump’s evasion of responsibility for his crimes is running out of legal room, but he still has allies in Congress and on the Supreme Court who may yet come to his aid. Whatever that future may hold, nothing should stand in the way of indictments for Trump’s many crimes. The most important, of course, is his instigation of the January 6 attack, but there are many others as well. The government should focus on the one or two that have the clearest evidentiary basis and that would certainly include the Capitol assault. Make clear to all future political leaders, in both parties, that crimes in office will not be tolerated. We are approaching the two-year anniversary of the Capitol attack.

It’s time. Past time. Indict him, arrest him, and try him.

Lost in Space

I am harping a bit about the failure of the mainstream media to recognize the peril in which the country, and the MSM itself, finds itself. This failure is reflected in numerous ways, the latest being the decision of favorite New York Times to publish on page 21 of Sunday’s edition a story about the astonishing direct efforts by Donald Trump to suborn the Department of Justice to support his unfounded claims that the 2020 election was invalidated by fraud. Not only is Trump guilty of this effort to subvert the election, but compelling evidence has been produced that he had secured the support and active cooperation of Jeffrey Clark, the acting head of the Justice Department’s civil division. https://nyti.ms/3iy3Gsw

This story is related to the on-going attempts of Trump and his enablers in Congress and the Republican-controlled states to overturn the lawful election of Joe Biden for President. That is the most important story of our time, right up there with the pandemic. If Trump had succeeded (or succeeds in the future), the democratic republic known as the United States of America would be finished. Seriously, is there a more important story than that?

As usual, the key players at the Justice Department have gone dark, refusing to comment substantively. But the testimony of Jeffrey Rosen, who was Acting Attorney General at the time, indicates that despite being directed otherwise, Clark continued having private conversations with Trump while Trump was still president. Clark even “drafted a letter that he asked Mr. Rosen to send to Georgia state legislators, wrongly asserting that they should void Mr. Biden’s victory because the Justice Department was investigating accusations of voter fraud in the state.” The proposal was rejected but the apparent fact remains that Clark engaged in multiple violations of DOJ policy, and possibly federal law, in working collaboratively with Trump to overturn the election.

Clark has a spectacular resume. https://bit.ly/2VG7yi4 That fact does not mean that he was incapable of the acts to which Rosen, with a similar resume (https://bit.ly/37vlgqu), has testified. The story mentioned almost in passing the suggestion by one of Trump’s lawyers that Trump “might take some undisclosed legal action if congressional investigators sought “privileged information.” That is, of course, a huge issue, but privilege (executive or attorney-client or whatever) cannot be used to coverup conversations about the commission or attempt at commission of a crime.

I well understand that there are many other big stories afoot at the same time. The Times front page this morning covers some of those: the Cuomo scandal, Republicans supporting infrastructure legislation, problems attributable to children being denied in-classroom learning, restaurant struggles in New York City and, of course, the Olympics. But page 21 for the inside story of attempts to defeat the lawful transfer of power?

Meanwhile, my other favorite publication, the Washington Post, has once again elected (it clearly had a choice) to publish an op-ed that undermines the effort to rid the country of COVID-19 through vaccinations and other public health measures. https://wapo.st/3iwpgxx This piece was written by Drew Holden, a public affairs consultant in D.C. and a former Republican congressional staff member. There is no surprise, therefore, that he objects to the recently re-established mask mandate in Washington, including those already vaccinated. Typically, he downplays the significance of the Delta Variant that is sweeping the country and overwhelming medical resources in numerous states. He focused on a “slight uptick in local cases” and “only three deaths from the coronavirus in the past two weeks and with a positive test rate hovering around 1 percent.Only three dead in two weeks, so who cares?

The author’s data, however, is massively contradicted by the Center for Disease Control’s COVID Data Tracker, https://bit.ly/3Cs8qrt. And, of course, the author dredges up the usual Republican talking points about overbearing government (ignoring, for example, the new Red Hero, the Governor of Florida, who has worked around the clock to defeat public health measures in his state that might help control the virus — #DeathSantis doesn’t hesitate to overrule local officials and to prevent Florida jurisdictions from following CDC guidance). So much for the principle of limited government.

Apparently no fan of logical consistency, Mr. Holden argues that while indoor mask mandates will reduce viral transmission, they will undermine the effort to persuade more people to vaccinate. He argues that more vaccinations are the “best way” to prevent more deaths, a view that most rational humans would accept, but Holden argues that vaccination is the only viable path forward, so the solution is to use the “best message” by repeating over and over again that vaccines are safe and effective.

Mandating masks even for the vaccinated sends a clear (if unintended) message to the contrary: Even when you have the vaccine, you aren’t really safe to yourself or others, even if we just told you the opposite was true. How can those already deservedly distrustful of the medical wisdom of the government overcome their skepticism if the government itself can’t seem to get the story straight?

Wow. If the author were really paying attention, he would understand that no one has claimed that vaccines were 100 percent security against COVID infection. This has been clear since the earliest public disclosures of the vaccines. The author also confuses mask requirements with other forms of incentive to vaccinate.

I could go on and on about this piece, but the real issue I want to raise is: why does the Washington Post continue to give credence and exposure to views like this? Is the Post’s commitment to truth tied to both-sides-ing issues of public health? Does the Post really believe that this type of message is essential to understanding the public health risks of another, and perhaps yet another, surge in COVID cases? If the Post is going to continue both-sides-ing COVID messaging, should it not explain its editorial policy to its readers?  If the issue were whether it is in the national interest to maintain a union of 50 states or whether we’d be better off as a nation by having multiple states secede, would the Post also both-sides that issue? How about smoking? Does the Post intend to publish both-sides commentary on the benefits and detriments of smoking tobacco? Wearing seat belts? How is this different?