Thursday, April 06, 2023

Do Critics of Trump’s Indictment Have a Point? (Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist)

More indictments to follow in other jurisdictions. TRUMP is a career criminal. He's entitled to due process and the presumption of innocence -- something he's sought to deny countless others, including every Democratic Presidential nominee since 2004, whom he wanted prosecuted.  Let justice be done.

From The New York Times: 


Do Critics of Trump’s Indictment Have a Point?

Marjorie Taylor Greene wearing sunglasses and holding a megaphone while surrounded by a group of men. One of the individuals reaches toward the megaphone, and another raises his right hand in the air.
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, holding megaphone, at a protest outside the Manhattan courthouse where Donald Trump was arraigned.Credit...Mark Peterson for The New York Times
Marjorie Taylor Greene wearing sunglasses and holding a megaphone while surrounded by a group of men. One of the individuals reaches toward the megaphone, and another raises his right hand in the air.

Opinion Columnist

Republican leaders and Fox News personalities have erupted at the arrest of Donald Trump, so let’s consider some of their concerns.

“I believe the New York prosecutor has stretched to reach felony criminal charges in order to fit a political agenda.” — Senator Mitt Romney

Is this indictment a legal stretch? It may be. Even some sharp critics of Trump find the case thin. We liberals should recognize our biases and tread carefully.

Paying hush money to a porn star is not inherently a crime. To get a felony conviction, District Attorney Alvin Bragg must show that business records were falsified to advance a second crime that for now is not charged. It may be a violation of state or federal election law or perhaps of state tax laws (one of the few surprises this week).

There have been parallel felony prosecutions in New York, but apparently never one involving a federal election. It’s too early to assess the case fully, but my impression is that Bragg’s argument is plausible but not a slam-dunk.

In Bragg’s favor is the fact that Trump’s “fixer,” Michael Cohen, already went to prison on these facts, and a basic principle of justice is that if an agent is punished then the boss should be as well.

We may see a parade of indictments against Trump this year (plusone civil trial stemming from a rape allegation scheduled to start April 25 and another civil trial about financial fraud scheduled in October). The Manhattan indictment will not necessarily be the first criminal case to reach trial. I hope that the first case to be tried will be the strongest, for it is the first criminal trial that will be seared into history.

“It will be hard to persuade anyone outside of the progressive bubble that it was worth upending 230 years of American norms and customs to charge — for the first time — a former president with a felony.” — Eli Lake, The Free Press

No! There’s no norm or custom that former presidents are immune from prosecution. I’ve noted that even while he was president, Ulysses S. Grant was arrested by a policeman for speeding in his horse-drawn carriage. That wasn’t an embarrassment to the country but a tribute to democracy.

Likewise, Richard Nixon would probably have faced prosecution if he hadn’t been pre-emptively pardoned. Vice Presidents Aaron Burr and Spiro Agnew were both prosecuted.

Trump and some of his allies have a persecution complex. Marjorie Taylor Greene even compared Trump to Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ. But let’s not feed it: The norm in America is that presidents obey the law, not that they are excused from it. While legal accountability for all is complicated, it is a feature of our system, not a bug.

“District attorneys in deep-red jurisdictions can be just as creative as those in New York. Republican voters may grow more adamant about demanding it.” — Ramesh Ponnuru, The Washington Post

Yes, I can see Republican D.A.s going after Hunter Biden or Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. But charging decisions should be made on their merits, not based on the risk of retaliation.

Similar arguments were made against impeaching Trump. “The more you weaponize it and turn it into a partisan cudgel, you know, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” warned Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, suggesting that Republicans might impeach President Biden.

At last count, Republicans had introduced nine resolutions to impeach Biden, along with others to impeach Mayorkas, Vice President Kamala Harris, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of State Tony Blinken. Tit-for-tat impeachment resolutions aren’t good for the country, yet I don’t think that risk constitutes a good reason to refrain from impeaching Trump.

Perhaps my greatest fear is that any indictments of Trump increase the risk that congressional Republicans refuse to raise the debt ceiling and crash the American economy. That could hurt millions of Americans, but I still don’t think prosecutors should be scared off from pursuing what they believe are strong cases.

“Exclusive: Judge Napolitano Predicts Attack on Trump Part of ‘Scam’ to Install Hillary Clinton as President” — Infowars

“We can’t get a list on Epstein’s island and who went and how many times but if you’re Donald Trump” you’re prosecuted. — Alina Habba, a lawyer for Trump

There’s so much fever and delusion out there. Habba apparently doesn’t realize that we do have flight logs listing who traveled on Jeffrey Epstein’s airplane — and that Donald Trump, a friend of Epstein, traveled on the plane seven times.

Not even a prison sentence would necessarily keep Trump from running for president. In 1920, Eugene Debs received almost a million votes while running for president as a Socialist from his prison cell.

A CNN poll found that 60 percent of the public approves of the Manhattan indictment, but that about three-quarters believe the prosecution is driven at least in part by politics.

All this makes it all the more important that Democrats act responsibly toward a man that they detest. I wish the first indictment were stronger on its face, but I’m wary of prejudging the case — and let’s brace ourselves for more tumult ahead.

Trump challenges us. He is a hypocrite who, according to The Washington Post, has called for the prosecution of every Democratic presidential nominee since 2004, who urged police officers to rough up suspects they arrest, saying, “Don’t be too nice.” He is also a charlatan who has surrounded himself with scoundrels: People who have worked for him as campaign chairman, deputy campaign chairmanchief strategist, national security adviser, lawyer and company chief financial officer have all pleaded guilty to or been convicted of crimes.

Yet he must also be presumed innocent. The indictments and trials ahead will be a test for all of us and for our country. What we need isn’t glee or a rush to judgment, on either side, but a sober, measured process even for a defiant demagogue.


Anonymous said...

Yeah they have a point...they are pro crime as long as enough people authorize an individual to commit crime. A rich Republican should be above the law while they shovel the lower classes into jail by the tens of thousands. That and they wish to paint a rosy picture of America that doesn't exist. This is the biggest reason why our problems never get fixed. In this case, everyone is supposed to answer to a mob.

Anonymous said...

Conservative Republican is synonymous with an anti-government bum. They seek to occupy seats in government to obstruct and sabotage for the most part... cut taxes and make government impotent. All this in many cases to benefit themselves and people who they feel are like them. They obtain seats to fight for the rich... keep government away from the rich. To everyone else they feed propaganda that goes against the interests of those people.