This article was written well ahead of scheduled publishing in order to accommodate my travel plans.
The above disclaimer is especially warranted on this article. It seems the story of Trump associated scandals can’t rest for more than a few hours at a time. Exactly where it is going and where it will stop is beyond me. However, I am firmly convinced that an earnest attempt(s) to punish him must be made even if it fails and that other than in the court of informed and objective public opinion he skates.
Trump is basically a wannabe mobster. The most famous American mobster of all time was Al Capone. He also ran an organized criminal enterprise. Capone was never convicted of most of his crimes. In the end the only charge the authorities could obtain a conviction on was income tax evasion. The bottom line is that they finally got him in the end and the same must be Trump’s fate.
Even someone like me who religiously follows the political news has lost track of all the publically known investigations into Trump. Arguably the most prominent is the 1/6 Committee. They have zero criminal prosecutorial power so other than referral Trump really has nothing to fear directly from them. Whether or not they make a criminal referral to the Justice Department the damage has already been done in that they have made a lot of information public and we know they have communication devices at Justice.
In New York State, New York State Attorney General Tish James has Trump’s corporation on the ropes. Again, direct personal criminal prosecution is not really a possibility but they have opened a few doors that others can go through. To date one apparent decision not to press charges doesn’t – at least publically -pass the smell test but things can change and more than one jurisdiction can jump in.
In Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is in the midst of a criminal investigation which is currently at the grand jury stage. Trump and his minions are playing their usual delay games trying to frustrate her and run out the clock hoping for a friendlier future and/or a Hail Mary. My gut tells me this is the best chance of getting a criminal indictment(s).
Assuming an indictment(s) comes from one or more investigations there is still the matter of getting a conviction. Here is also where it gets sticky. A prosecutor has to decide whether the chances of obtaining a conviction justify the projected expenditure of resources. (DAs get in trouble with their public all the time on these decisions and in the next election get falsely labeled as soft on crime. These are largely allocation of resources decisions. Pure business.)
I am asking the all prosecutors to weigh the cost of letting Trump go scot free into their decision. My request is that they consider the cost to democracy and the public’s confidence in the rule of law when making their decisions. If they do, it is difficult to see how dollars and cents can win out.
Trump must be punished even if the only conviction they can get is on a relatively minor charge. The circumstances of his subsequent incarceration are another matter for another day. Remember Trump is an old man and despite what Ronny Jackson says he is in terrible shape. Even a relatively modest sentence can effectively be life. Capone didn’t die in prison but his incarceration hastened his demise.
My advise to Attorney General Merrick Garland on down is take your time, dot the I’s and cross the t’s, then get the conviction you can and have a second indictment in your pocket to serve on the way out of the courtroom in the case that Trump beats the first set of charges.
Despite what Trump will say this is not a witch hunt. On the contrary it is the pursuit of justice. If Trump goes unpunished it will only lead to another Trump in America’s future and the next one, unlike Trump, may be smart and therefore have a better chance of succeeding.
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