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Monday, December 09, 2019

Tag: trump crimes

The Many Crimes For Which Trump Hasn't Been Indicted -- Yet

How quickly we forget some of the outrageous acts Donald Trump was accused of committing while president. Let us review:

We begin with Trump’s incitement of the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol and his multi-pronged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election by illegal means. There was his attempt to strong-arm the Georgia secretary of state into “finding” enough votes that Trump would be declared victor in that state. Trump also called Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and urged him to call a special session of the legislature at which the election results would be thrown out and a new slate of electors appointed. He called the Pennsylvania Speaker of the House and attempted to strong-arm him into doing the same thing with the Pennsylvania legislature.

Trump met in the White House with members of the Michigan legislature and urged them to take similar steps in their state. He also made numerous phone calls to state officials and legislators in other battleground states, trying to pressure them to throw out the results of the elections in their states and submit slates of fake electors to the Congress. These calls resulted in the appointment of fake slates of electors in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Trump’s phone calls and meetings about submitting fake slates of electors would appear to be an overt act in furtherance of an attempt to interfere with a legitimate function of the government, i.e., the certification of electoral ballots on January 6.

Trump was behind attempts in several states to get law enforcement agencies to seize voting machines and turn them over to the Trump legal team. Voting machines were seized by officials or Trump-backers in Georgia and Colorado and voting machine data was copied by people working on Trump’s behalf in Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona. Tampering with voting data is illegal in every state in the Union, as is conspiracy to tamper with such data. Trump was in direct contact with his lawyer, Sidney Powell, who filed numerous lawsuits in battleground states on his behalf and was behind attempts to seize voting machines in Michigan and tampering with voting machine data in Nevada and Colorado.

Trump met with Sidney Powell and Michael Flynn in the Oval Office where they discussed suspending the Constitution, imposing martial law, and “re-running” the election using the U.S. military. Discussing such illegal schemes amounts to a conspiracy to overthrow the legitimate functions of the federal government, and the conspiracy need not bear fruit, i.e., be carried out, in order for an indictment for engaging in the conspiracy to be brought. The plot to impose martial law went far enough and was taken seriously enough that on December 18, Army Chief of Staff General James McConville and Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy issued a joint statement telling all active-duty Army forces that "There is no role for the US military in determining the outcome of an American election.”

And then of course there is the matter of Trump’s theft of government documents from the White House and his refusal over a period of 18 months to return them to the federal government, specifically to the National Archives, where they belonged. He is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice for having violated no less than three federal statutes involving obstruction of justice (he defied a subpoena and appears to have attempted to silence certain witnesses), mishandling of national security information (over 100 highly classified documents seized by the FBI from his office and residence at Mar a Lago) and the theft of the documents themselves.

There are unresolved allegations by the Mueller Report that Trump engaged in multiple acts of obstruction of justice and obstruction of a congressional committee. Mueller held that a sitting president could not be indicted and so dropped the matter. Trump isn’t president anymore. He’s indictable on every count of obstruction established by Mueller’s investigation. In case you forgot or haven’t checked lately, the Mueller investigation lasted nearly two years, from May of 2017 to March of 2019. The Mueller report itself survives, as does all the evidence his team of investigators painstakingly amassed, currently held by the National Archives.

The New York Times reported today that six countries spent more than $750,000 at the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C. while their officials were attempting to influence the Trump administration on behalf of their governments. The House Oversight Committee previously estimated that the Trump Hotel received as much as $3.7 million from foreign governments between 2017 and 2020. Trump refused to put his assets in a blind trust during his time in the presidency, instead turning over the running of his many businesses to his sons Eric and Donald Jr. and his daughter Ivanka. All the proceeds of Trump’s businesses go directly to Donald Trump as the sole owner of more than 500 separate companies under the umbrella of the Trump Organization.

The Trump Hotel, which was located in the Old Post Office building in Washington D.C. while Trump was president, is one of his companies, thus all profits derived from the hotel would accrue to his benefit. The Constitution’s Emoluments Clause states: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State. An emolument has been defined as anything of value including money. Trump’s profiting from monies spent at his hotel in Washington would appear to violate the U.S. Constitution, which is the Supreme Law of the Land.

And now we arrive at another late-breaking Trump crime. The New York Times also reported today that John Kelly, Trump’s second and longest-serving chief of staff, revealed to the paper that Trump had, on multiple occasions, attempted to have the IRS conduct audits of his political enemies, including former FBI Director James Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe. On other occasions, Trump discussed with Kelly having the Department of Justice and the IRS investigate Hillary Clinton, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (who also owns The Washington Post), Peter Strzok, the lead FBI agent working on the Mueller investigation team, and Lisa Page, another FBI agent with whom Strzok was having an affair, and with whom he exchanged text messages critical of Trump.

No audits were conducted by the IRS on the incomes of either Comey or McCabe during the time Kelly was White House chief of staff. However, after Kelly left that position and Mark Meadows was appointed in his place, the IRS audited both Comey and McCabe, conducting a type of extensive audit described by experts as “an autopsy without being dead.”It is a violation of federal law for any federal official, including the president, “to request, directly or indirectly” that the IRS audit or conduct any kind of investigation of specific American taxpayers. Trump’s conversations with Kelly appear to fit the definition of that crime.

I’m sure I’ve missed something. Trump was a very busy man when it came to lining his own pockets, retaliating against political rivals and enemies, and attempting to either fix the results of the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, or in the case of the 2020 election, overturn its results. He seems to have committed enough crimes while in office to make even the second most corrupt president in recent memory, Richard Nixon, swivel in his grave.

It appears likely at this writing that the Department of Justice will seek to indict Trump on multiple counts of interfering with government operations, the mishandling of national security information, and obstruction of justice. The DOJ has seated two grand juries in Washington D.C., where they have presented multiple witnesses over the past year. One grand jury is hearing evidence on Trump’s crimes surrounding January 6 and his attempts to overturn the election of 2020. The other grand jury is hearing evidence concerning his theft and mishandling of government-owned documents after he left office.

Which is precisely what matters today. Donald Trump, who believed he was invulnerable while he was president and so did pretty much anything he decided to do and damn the consequences, is now a civilian. He is, in a word, indictable, whether he makes himself a candidate in the next presidential election or not.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Reprinted with permission from Lucian Truscott Newsletter

Poll: Americans Want Trump Held Legally Accountable For His Crimes

A new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds that 58% of Americans believe Donald Trump bears a good or great amount of responsibility for inciting the January 6 insurrection and support charging him with a crime. Six in 10 also say the House Select Committee's probe into January 6 is fair and impartial.

The poll, released over the weekend, came as the January 6 panel prepared for a Tuesday hearing focused on Trump's pressure campaign at the state level to overturn the 2020 election.

Public opinion is far from a decisive legal standard, but the poll adds to pressure on the Justice Department to charge a former president—a move that will undoubtedly be hotly debated by the department's leadership.

Not only should having public opinion on the side of holding Trump to account provide at least some comfort to Justice Department officials charged with making that call, but imagine the inverse: Failing to charge someone who nearly six in 10 Americans think should be behind bars for crimes against the republic.

What kind of message would that send to law-abiding citizens? And perhaps even worse—what kind of message would that send to future would-be coup-ers? It would be like handing a free pass to domestic terrorists plotting to subvert our constitutional democracy.

Block by block, the decision to take a pass on pressing the criminal case against Trump is seeming less viable all the time.

Not only has a former federal judge concluded that Trump "likely" committed felony obstruction, but the January 6 committee will have Trump dead to rights on criminal intent by the time it concludes its work. The American public, it appears, is already there.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Select Committee Mulls Criminal Referral Of Trump For January 6 Coup Plot

The leaders of the House Select Committee on the January 6 Insurrection, a bipartisan panel probing the U.S. Capitol riot, are debating whether to send Attorney General Merrick Garland a criminal referral for former President Trump, despite having enough evidence to do so,according to the New York Times..

A criminal referral is only a notification to the Department of Justice about possible criminal conduct. Yet members of the committee are concerned that issuing one for former President Trump would politicize an ongoing Justice Department investigation into the Capitol attack and the events that preceded it. This effort has yielded over 775 arrests nationwide.

Since last summer, a group of ex-federal prosecutors working for the committee has been investigating the riot, what led up to it, and former President Trump and his allies' roles in inciting it.

The committee has conducted over 800 depositions, obtained nearly 90,000 documents relating to the investigation, and even issued criminal referrals for top Trump allies — notably Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist; Mark Meadows, former chief of staff; and, most recently, Peter Navarro and Don Scavino, two of then-President Trump’s top advisers.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) told CNN that Trump and his allies knew their actions preceding the insurrection were “unlawful,” but “they did it anyway.” She added that the committee had yet to decide on issuing a criminal referral.

Cheney’s remarks came after the Times reported that the committee was confident it had obtained enough evidence to send the DOJ a criminal referral for former President Trump.

“The committee has … a tremendous amount of testimony and documents that I think very, very clearly demonstrate the extent of the planning and the organization and the objective, and the objective was absolutely to try to … interfere with that official proceeding,” Cheney told the CNN’s State of Union. She also cited U.S. District Court Judge Carter’s ruling in March that former President Trump “more likely than not” obstructed Congress in efforts to stop the certification of the Electoral College results.

According to the Times, committee members and staffers believe this ruling holds more weight than a criminal referral — which could be construed as a Democratic vendetta against former President Trump, who has been teasing a re-run in 2024 — ever could.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), a member of the House panel, didn’t see the need for a referral. “If you read his decision, I think it’s quite telling,” she said of Judge Carter’s ruling, according to the Times.

Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), another member of the House panel, called for the committee to issue referrals for crimes it uncovers, telling MSNBC, “I would say that I don’t agree with what some of my colleagues have said about this.”

Cheney played down reports of a divide in the committee. “I wouldn’t characterize there as being a dispute on the committee. I think that it is the single most collaborative committee on which I have ever served. I’m very proud of the bipartisan way in which we’re operating,” she told CNN.

The committee is wrapping up its 10-month-long investigation and aims to publish its final report in September, with public hearings held sometime during the summer.

To Hold Trump Accountable For His Criminal Conduct Is An Enormous Challenge

So here’s my question: Let’s say you’re Attorney General Merrick Garland. Filing a criminal indictment against former President Trump should be a fairly straightforward matter, although conspiracy charges are notoriously hard to prove. After all, much of Trump’s January 6, 2021 attempt to overthrow the United States government was performed live on national TV.

We’ve seen the video a hundred times, with Trump urging the mob to march down Pennsylvania Avenue to the U.S. Capitol to “fight like hell and if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore.”

Trump also promised to march with his impassioned followers, but anybody who believed that probably still believes that Trump got a big league tryout alongside Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, as he once boasted.

For the record, McCovey who died at age 80 in 2018, was eight years older than Trump. By the time our hero graduated from high school, McCovey had been the San Francisco Giants first baseman for five years. In 1959, when Trump was in ninth grade, he’d been National League Rookie-of-the-Year.

Slate once dug into old newspapers that published local prep school box scores. Trump’s batting average was .138.

So no, there was no big league tryout, a pathetic and ridiculous lie very much like his “landslide” win in the 2020 presidential election.

He just makes stuff up as he goes along, this guy, relying upon the tribalism and extreme gullibility of his supporters. So, of course, he failed to march with the mob to the Capitol. It’s doubtful he could walk that far without a golf cart.

Instead, Trump retired to the White House, where he watched the violence unfold on TV—ignoring pleas from his son, daughter and normally worshipful Fox News personalities to urge the rioters to desist.

At 2:24 PM, with the crowd having erected a gallows on the Capitol Grounds and chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” Trump tweeted that the vice president “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”

The Vice President’s security detail hustled him to safety. Meanwhile, Trump kept watching for another couple of hours as the mob beat cops with flagpoles and fire extinguishers, hunted Nancy Pelosi, vandalized Congressional offices and defecated in the halls of the U.S. Capitol.

Not long after he finally urged the horde to relent, as they obediently did, Trump dispatched another tweet: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots…”

But back to the Attorney General’s dilemma. That Trump engaged in a criminal conspiracy to prevent Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote appears quite clear. Now that he’s no longer in office, the Justice Department’s policy that a president cannot be charged no longer protects him. Indeed, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) has pointedly paraphrased the applicable laws in her statements about the investigation.

But how on earth would it be possible to put Trump on trial? Jury selection alone would be a nightmare. Not only does everybody already know many of the facts and judgements alluded to above, but many have already formed unassailable opinions. (I’d certainly be ineligible to serve.)

Some observers think Fulton County (Atlanta) prosecutor Fani Willis has a better shot at prosecuting Trump for trying to strong arm Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes—enough to overturn that state’s vote. Partly because not everybody already knows the story, and partly because they’ve got Trump whining and threatening on tape.

That said, convicting the sleazy rascal would be a heavy lift. A substantial proportion of the American public exists in thrall to what The Hill columnist Bill Schneider calls “militant ignorance,” i.e. “ignorance that is proud of itself, that holds knowledge in contempt.” (It’s first cousin to what we called “invincible ignorance” back in my Baltimore Catechism days.)

A good place to witness the phenomenon, for those who lack the advantage of living among red state Republicans, would be to examine a focus group the New York Times conducted with Trump voters. Not only have most swallowed his election lies—they believe that mail-in voting led to massive fraud—but also that the January 6 insurrection was “way overblown.”

Shown texts by Donald Jr., Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity urging Trump to restrain his followers, they express dismay.

“They’re saying what you would think almost a Democrat would say or a liberal would say,” one woman exclaims.

“Kind of shocking to me,” says another “You’d think they’d back the president.”

That is, the mob.

Elsewhere, the group evidences a deep strain of paranoia. Democrats are scheming to steal our freedoms and usher in the New World Order. “It’s all about control, and they’re keeping Covid as one of their biggest weapons.”

Alas, our nation’s problems go deeper than Trump.

Day Of Reckoning: In Pursuit Of All The Ex-President’s Crimes

As we embark on a new year, we find ourselves asking the same old question about the disgraced 45th president of the United States: When—if ever--will Donald Trump be brought to justice?

As president, Trump weathered both the Mueller investigation and two impeachment trials. And to this day, he has yet to be charged with a single criminal offense, whether for his attempts to undermine the results of the 2020 election; his role in sparking the January 6, 2021, insurrection; or his sordid history in the private sector as a marketing con man and real-estate huckster.

Understandably, many Americans have become cynical about the prospects of holding Trump to account. Many fear that Trump has forever damaged what remains of our collective commitment to the rule of law.

But all is not lost. Amid the gloom, there are encouraging signs that Trump may finally be headed for a day of reckoningRobert

The House January 6 Select Committee is diligently investigating the origins of the insurrection, including Trump’s part in inciting the riot at the Capitol that delayed the certification of Joe Biden’s victory. Both Bennie Thompson (D-SC), the committee’s chairperson, and Liz Cheney (R-WY), the ranking Republican, have disclosed that Trump is under consideration for a criminal referral to the Justice Department.

At the same time, state-level investigations against Trump appear to be heating up in New York and Georgia.

While we endure the agonizing wait, investigators have a truly staggering array of potential charges to shift through and analyze. They include:

Federal Crimes

I. Offenses Related to the Insurrection and the Attempt to Halt or Delay the Certification of the 2020 Electoral College Vote Count.

Inciting an Insurrection, 18 U.S.C. § 2383, maximum penalty: ten years in prison.

Seditious Conspiracy, 18 U.S.C. § 2384, maximum penalty: twenty years in prison.

Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, 18 U.S.C. § 371, maximum penalty: five years in prison.

Obstructing an Official Proceeding, 18 U.S.C. § 1512, maximum penalty twenty years in prison.

II. Offenses Related to the Phone Call Pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “Find” Enough Votes to Overturn the State’s Election Results.

Depriving or Defrauding the Citizens of a State of a Fair and Impartially Conducted Election, 52 U.S.C. § 20511, maximum penalty: five years.

Conspiracy to Deprive the Citizens of a State of Rights Secured by the Constitution, 18 U.S.C. § 241, maximum penalty: ten years.

III. Offenses Related to the 2016 Election, the Hush-Money Payoffs to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, and the 2017 “Reimbursements” to Michael Cohen.

Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, 18 U.S.C. § 371, maximum penalty: five years in prison.

Campaign Finance Law Violations, 52 U.S.C. § 30109, maximum penalty: five years in prison.

IV. Offenses Related to the Mueller Investigation, and the Attempts to Halt or Otherwise Derail the Investigation.

Obstruction of Justice, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1503, 1505, 1510, 1512, maximum penalty: ten years.

New York Crimes

Offenses Related to Private Business Practices.

Falsifying Business Records, New York Penal Law, § 175.10, maximum penalty: four years in prison.

Tax Fraud, New York Tax Law, § 1806, maximum penalty: twenty-five years in prison.

Insurance Fraud, New York Penal Law, § 176.30, maximum penalty: twenty-five years in prison.

Conspiracy, New York Penal Law, § 105, maximum penalty: twenty-five years in prison.

Racketeering and Organized Criminal Activity, New York Penal Law § 460, maximum penalty: twenty-five years in prison.

Georgia Crimes

Offenses Related to the Raffensperger Phone Call:

Solicitation to Commit Election Fraud, Georgia Code § 21-2-64, maximum penalty: ten years in prison.

Tampering with a Voter’s Certificate, Georgia Code § 21-2-56, maximum penalty: ten years in prison.

There is no guarantee, of course, that any of this will lead to an actual arraignment.

While in office, Trump was shielded with temporary immunity from federal prosecution as a result of the Justice Department’s longstanding policy against indicting a sitting president. Although that immunity is gone, Trump would nonetheless be protected by the presumption of innocence, just like any other private citizen, were he to be prosecuted now. And it would represent a historic first for a former U.S. president to be charged with a crime. No prosecutor, state or federal, is going to roll the dice unless they are confident that they could prove Trump’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Ultimately, the final calls will be made by three prosecutors: Attorney General Merrick Garland on the federal level; Alvin Bragg Jr., the incoming Manhattan District Attorney in January; and Fani Willis, the Fulton County, GA, District Attorney.

Thus far in his tenure as the nation’s top law-enforcement officer, Garland has proven to be upright but overly cautious. Willis is viewed by some observers as being overburdened by an enormous caseload of ordinary prosecutions. Bragg is untested.

Whether any of the three prove to be up to the challenge, one thing is certain: It isn’t sufficient to prosecute the low-level rioters who stormed the Capitol. To restore the rule of law, the leaders of the insurrection must be charged and tried. This includes the ringleader of them all—Donald Trump.

In both New York and federal courts, the basic statute of limitations specifies that charges must be brought within five years of the commission of a felony. In Georgia, the general statute is four years.

The clock is ticking. There is no more time to waste.

Article reprinted with permission from Bill Blum| Blum's Law

How Trump’s Criminality Harkens Back To The Violence Of The Confederacy

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Donald Trump broke new ground as the first president—the first American, period—to be impeached twice. However, thinking of him solely in those terms fails by a long shot to capture how truly historic his crimes were. Forget the number of impeachments—and certainly don't be distracted by pathetic, partisan scoundrels voting to acquit—The Man Who Lost The Popular Vote (Twice) is the only president to incite a violent insurrection aimed at overthrowing our democracy—and get away with it.

But reading those words doesn't fully and accurately describe the vile nature of what Trump wrought on Jan. 6. In this case, to paraphrase the woman who should've been the 45th president, it takes a video.

Although it's difficult, I encourage anyone who hasn't yet done so to watch the compilation of footage the House managers presented on the first day of the impeachment trial. It left me shaking with rage. Those thugs wanted not just to defile a building, but to defile our Constitution. They sought to overturn an election in which many hadn't even botheredthemselves to vote.

What was their purpose? In their own words, as they screamed while storming the Capitol: "Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump!" Those were the exact same words they had chanted shortly beforehand during the speech their leader gave at the Ellipse. He told them to fight for him, and they told him they would. And then they did.

Many of those fighting for Trump were motivated by a white Christian nationalist ideology of hate—hatred of liberals, Jews, African Americans, and other people of color. Most of that Trumpist mob standsdiametrically opposed to the ideals that really do make America great—particularly the simple notion laid down in the Declaration of Independence that, after nearly 250 years, we've still yet to fully realize: All of us are created equal. The Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol was but another battle in our country's long-running race war.

As Rev. William Barber explained just a few days ago: "White supremacy, though it may be targeted at Black people, is ultimately against democracy itself." He added: "This kind of mob violence, in reaction to Black, brown, and white people coming together and voting to move the nation forward in progressive ways, has always been the backlash."

Barber is right on all counts. White supremacy's centuries-long opposition to true democracy in America is also the through-line that connects what Trump has done since Election Day and on Jan. 6 to his true historical forebears in our history. Not the other impeached presidents, whose crimes—some more serious than others—differed from those of Trump not merely by a matter of degree, but in their very nature. Even Richard Nixon, as dangerous to the rule of law as his actions were, didn't encourage a violent coup. That's how execrable Trump is; Tricky Dick comes out ahead by comparison.

Instead, Trump's true forebears are the violent white supremacists who rejected our democracy to preserve their perverted racial hierarchy: the Southern Confederates. It's no coincidence that on Jan. 6 we saw a good number of Confederate flags unfurled at the Capitol on behalf of the Insurrectionist-in-Chief. As many, including Penn State history professor emeritus William Blair, have noted: "The Confederate flag made it deeper into Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, than it did during the Civil War."

As for that blood-soaked, intra-American conflict—after Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860, 11 Southern states refused to accept the results because they feared it would lead to the end of slavery. They seceded from the Union and backed that action with violence. Led by their president, Jefferson Davis, they aimed to achieve through the shedding of blood what they could not at the ballot box: to protect their vision of a white-dominated society in which African Americans were nothing more than property.

Some, of course, will insist the Civil War began for other reasons, like "states' rights," choosing to skip right past the words uttered, just after President Lincoln's inauguration, by Alexander Stephens, who would soon be elected vice president of the Confederacy. Stephens describedthe government created by secessionists thusly: "Its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery—subordination to the superior race—is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth."

In the speech he gave at his 1861 inauguration, Lincoln accurately diagnosed secession as standing in direct opposition to democracy.

Plainly the central idea of secession is the essence of anarchy. A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism. Unanimity is impossible. The rule of a minority, as a permanent arrangement, is wholly inadmissible; so that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy or despotism in some form is all that is left.

Davis, Stephens, and the rest of the Confederates spent four long years in rebellion against democracy and racial equality. In 1865, Lincoln was sworn in for a second term. On the ballot the previous year had been his vision, laid out at Gettysburg, of a war fought so that our country might become what it had long claimed to be, namely a nation built on the promise of liberty and equality for every American. Lincoln's vision won the election. He planned to lead the Union to final victory and, hopefully, bring that vision to life. Instead, John Wilkes Booth shot the 16th president to death.

Why did Booth commit that violent act, one that sought to remove a democratically elected president? Look at his own written words: "This country was formed for the white, not for the black man. And looking upon African Slavery from the same stand-point held by the noble framers of our constitution. I for one, have ever considered (it) one of the greatest blessings (both for themselves and us,) that God has ever bestowed upon a favored nation."

As author and Washington College historian Adam Goodheart explains, Booth was "motivated by politics and he was especially motivated by racism, by Lincoln's actions to emancipate the slaves and, more immediately, by some of Lincoln's statements that he took as meaning African Americans would get full citizenship." When Booth opened fire, his gun was aimed at not just one man, but at the notion of a multiracial, egalitarian democracy itself.

Trump may not have pulled a trigger, bashed a window, or attacked any police officers while wearing a flag cape, but he shares the same ideology, motive, and mindset as his anti-democratic, white supremacist forebears. They didn't like the result of an election, and were ready and willing to use violence to undo it. Secession, assassination, insurrection. These are three sides of a single triangle.

I hope, for the sake of our country and the world, we never have another president like Donald Trump. I hope we as a people—or at least enough of us—have learned that we cannot elect an unprincipled demagogue as our leader.

A person without principle will never respect, let alone cherish, the Constitution or the democratic process. A person without principle can only see those things as a means to gain or maintain a hold on power. A person without principle believes the end always justifies the means.

That's who Trump is: a person without principle. That's why he lied for two months after Election Day, why he called for his MAGA minions to come to Washington on the day Joe Biden's victory was to be formally certified in Congress, and why he incited an insurrection on that day to prevent that certification from taking place. His forces sought nothing less than the destruction of American democracy.

For those crimes, Trump was impeached, yes. But those crimes are far worse than those committed by any other president. Regardless of the verdict, those crimes will appear in the first sentence of his obituary. They are what he will be remembered for, despite the cowardice of his GOP enablers. Forever.

Ian Reifowitz is the author of The Tribalization of Politics: How Rush Limbaugh's Race-Baiting Rhetoric on the Obama Presidency Paved the Way for Trump (Foreword by Markos Moulitsas)

Trump’s Self-Pardon Could Be A Service To The Nation

For the past four years, Donald Trump has regularly flouted the Constitution, laws and basic norms of presidential behavior, and he has gotten away with it. He has acted in faithful conformity to an inviolable principle: Anything he does is fine. As he said last year, "When somebody is president of the United States, the authority is total."

His incendiary speech last week before an angry crowd of delusional disciples in Washington is only the newest example of his self-proclaimed infallibility. "People thought what I said was totally appropriate," he said Tuesday, hearing things that are audible only to him.

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Report: Don Jr. Fears Election Defeat Will Mean Prosecution Of Trump Family

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

After former Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered the final report for the Russia investigation in 2019, he noted that the Department of Justice has a longstanding policy against prosecuting a sitting president. But if former Vice President Joe Biden defeats President Donald Trump this November, he will no longer be a sitting president after Biden is inaugurated in January 2021. And according to a lengthy piece by journalist Jason Zengerle for the New York Times, Donald Trump, Jr. is worried about the possibility of members of his family facing criminal prosecutions if the president loses to Biden.

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