The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag:

Trump Corrupted The Pardon Power — And We May Need A Radical Solution

Reprinted with permission from The American Prospect

The barriers to amending the Constitution are so high that I've long thought it pointless to pursue any reform that way. But after four years of Donald Trump, I've changed my mind. In fact, I'm suffering from a bout of what Kathleen Sullivan in 1995 in these pages called "constitutional amendmentitis."

Sullivan—later dean of Stanford Law School—used the term for conservatives' feverish advocacy of amendments in the mid-1990s. The amendments would have, among other things, imposed a balanced federal budget, limited congressional terms, authorized laws banning flag-burning, given the president a line-item veto, and outlawed abortion. It was a good thing those amendments didn't receive the necessary two-thirds approval in both houses of Congress, much less ratification by three-fourths of the states.

Read Now Show less

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

WATCH: Sen. Graham Urges GOP Victory In Georgia To ‘Protect’ Trump From Prosecutors

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on Wednesday that Republicans need to win the Jan. 5 Senate runoff elections in Georgia to protect the Trump family from possible criminal investigations.

"If you want to protect this family from another round of Mueller investigations, we need to win Georgia," Graham told Fox News.

The report produced by the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election led by special counsel Robert Mueller cited numerous instances in which Donald Trump attempted to obstruct justice.

Read Now Show less

'Vulnerable To Prosecution": What Trump Will Face If He Loses This Election

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The number of allies or former allies of President Donald Trump who have faced criminal prosecutions is staggering: it's a list that ranges from Trump's 2016 campaign manager, Paul Manafort, to his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to veteran GOP operative Roger Stone to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. If he loses to former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday, November 3, Trump himself could become the target of both federal and state prosecutors — and journalist Jon Schwarz examines some of Trump's possible legal exposure in an in-depth piece published by The Intercept on October 18.

Schwarz opens his article by acknowledging that even if Biden wins, it's "hard to imagine" that Trump will "ever be convicted of any crime, much less serve time in prison."

"No former U.S. president has ever seen the inside of a cell — and not because all presidents have faithfully followed the law," Schwarz explains. "Presidents accumulate huge favors owed, favors that they cash in, figuratively and literally, when they become former presidents."

Nonetheless, Schwarz goes on to say that "Trump is more vulnerable to prosecution than other presidents because he's engaged in so many potential nontraditional presidential crimes." And he describes some things that Trump, possibly, could be investigated for if he loses the election — from "tax fraud" to "bank and insurance fraud" to "campaign finance violations" to "bribery" and "negligent homicide."

Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jr., Schwarz notes, has been investigating Trump for what his office has described as "possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization.""Beyond Trump's taxes, Vance appears to be probing whether Trump provided insurers and banks with false statements about his financial position in order to receive lower premiums and interest rates on loans," Schwarz observes. "In certain circumstances, this would be illegal."

Another possibly area of concern for Trump, according to Schwarz, is "obstruction of justice." Former special counsel Robert Mueller, following the Russia investigation, noted that the U.S. Department of Justice has a policy against indicting a sitting president but stressed that a president "does not have immunity after he leaves office."

Of all the possible prosecutions that Schwarz describes — many of them for tax and financial matters — the most hotly debated in legal circles might be one for "negligent homicide." Schwarz notes that Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor, has argued that Trump could be prosecuted for negligent homicide because of his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. But other legal experts have disagreed with Kirschner, saying that a negligent homicide case against Trump — if it came about in the first place — would be very difficult to prove.

"This would be controversial, to say the least," Schwarz explains. "But Kirschner is a serious person who served in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia for 24 years, eventually becoming chief of the homicide section."