August 4, 2023

Trump is Toast

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Those were the words of Bill Barr, Trump’s former Attorney General who all but succeeded in wiping the Mueller report under the rug to protect his boss, after he had read Trump’s indictment in the Mar-a-Lago documents case. Barr, a scumbag in his own right, has only commented in technical legal terms on the latest indictment Special Counsel Jack Smith filed on Tuesday, which is referred to by legal scholars as ‘the big one,’ but it’s safe to assume that his ultimate judgement won’t be more positive for The Former Guy, considering the elegant legal artwork Smith and his team have knitted together. Trump is charged with four felonies: Conspiracy to Defraud the United States; Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding; Obstruction of, and attempt to Obstruct, an Official Proceeding; and Conspiracy against Rights. There are six as yet unnamed co-conspirators, because Trump could not have conspired with himself, who may yet be charged at a later day but may first be given an opportunity to testify against Trump, hoping that their own sentences will be reduced. Their identities minus one can easily be derived from the indictment. Five lawyers: Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Sidney Powell, Jeffrey Clark and Kenneth Chesebro. The sixth co-conspirator is described as a political consultant who helped devise the failed scheme to send fake Electors to the Electoral College. So far his/her identity keeps everybody guessing, but the possibility that it could be Ginni Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, is tantalizing.

      The charges pertain to the events before and on January 6th, 2021, when Trump sent a mob to the Capitol to disrupt the certification of the vote, which might very well have resulted in the lynching of his Vice President, Mike Pence. The fourth charge goes back to a law that was passed after the Civil War to protect the voting rights of freed slaves in the South, but was later expanded to cover a wide range of election fraud conspiracies. Smith deliberately didn’t charge Trump with attempting a coup or staging an insurrection, both of which would have amounted to treason, because ‘intent’ would have been hard to prove and it was almost certainly deemed better to ground the indictment in Trump’s behavior than in speculation about his state of mind. However, there is one crucial element of Trump’s consciousness at the time the felonies were committed that Smith keeps hammering on in the indictment to bring the charges home: that Trump knew from an early stage on that he had lost the election and was told so by close advisors, staffers, the White House Counsel, officials from the Department of Justice and possibly even family members, although there is no proof of that. It has been said that the indictment reads like a mystery novel, albeit one without much mystery because the outcome is known. It brings together everything we already knew about the antics of Trump and his co-conspirators.

      The process by which Trump tried to defraud the Unites States by depriving the country of a free election where every vote is counted unfolded in three stages. In the first stage, Trump and his gang tried to have state legislatures in states Trump lost change the outcomes of the election. When that failed and accompanying lawsuits were lost, in stage two Trump’s band of bumbling bozos tried to have alternate Electors appointed in seven states to change the vote in the Electoral College in Trump’s favor. After that scam had failed as well, Trump exerted enormous pressure on Pence not to play his ceremonial role and certify the vote but to declare Trump the winner of the election. When Pence refused Trump urged him to at least send the Electoral College votes back to the states, so that they could be reviewed one more time. This in itself would be obstruction of an official proceeding and a ‘minor’ crime according to Trump’s advisor John Eastman, who even made Pence aware of that judgment, and interestingly in a TV interview last night Trump’s lawyer John Lauro admitted that Trump had made that suggestion to Pence. Since a lawyer speaks for his client Lauro’s slip up, which is admissible in court, is as good as a confession by Trump, who had pleaded ‘not guilty’ a couple of hours earlier. If the process of defrauding the US had succeeded millions of voters would have been disenfranchised, as is implicated in the fourth charge.

      After the hush money indictment in New York and the Mar-a-Lago documents case in Miami this is the third major indictment of Trump, and the most serious one. His arraignment yesterday took place in the same courtroom where Jan1 insurrectionists have been tried and sentenced, and the Judge who will preside over Trump’s trial, a black woman appointed by Barack Obama, so far has issued the harshest sentences to those offenders. In the Mar-a-Lago case Smith has added a new obstruction of justice charge because of Trump’s attempt to have footage from security cameras deleted showing stolen documents being moved around. It is expected that later in August Fulton County prosecutor Fanni Willis will file charges against Trump for his attempt to fraudulently alter the outcome of the election in Georgia. Here, Trump’s phonecall to the Secretary of State pressuring him to ‘find’ 11,780 votes so that Trump can be declared winner of the election is on tape and part of the discovery.

      The Former Guy’s camp so far has floated three possible defenses. The first one, that everything Trump said and did is protected by the First Amendment, was proactively shot down in the indictment, where Jack Smith writes that Trump has a right to lie as much as he wants but not to act upon those lies in a criminal manner. The second one, that Trump really believed that he had won the election and acted honorably to protect the US from an election scam, will be shot down by an army of witnesses, many from Trump’s inner circle and administration, all Republicans. Among them will be Mike Pence, with contemporaneous notes about his interactions with Trump, and probably Mark Meadows, Trump’s last Chief of Staff, who appears to have been singing to Smith. The third defense is that everything Trump did was done at the advice of his lawyers. This s a hard defense to keep up if those lawyers themselves are criminals and tell you to commit crimes, as in this case. It makes Lauro’s faux pas understandable.


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