Friday, July 28, 2023

Voters Aren't Prosecutors, Folks

The stance of most GOP 2024 candidates on the charges faced by Donald Trump is that they should be delayed until after the election or dropped completely, with the "empowering" tagline of "Let the voters decide!" Ron DeSantis is a perfect example of this trope:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said it's up to voters to decide whether former President Donald Trump's legal woes are disqualifying, as Trump faces the possibility of a third criminal indictment.

DeSantis made the comments in an interview Thursday in Iowa with CBS News senior White House and political correspondent Ed O'Keefe, on the same day Trump's attorneys met with federal prosecutors in the special counsel's office in Washington, D.C.

The Florida governor has staked out a middle ground on the topic of Trump's ongoing legal battles, often accusing federal prosecutors of going forward with politically motivated indictments, though he also stops short of defending Trump.

"At the end of the day, voters make that decision," DeSantis told O'Keefe. "Some people to ask me like, 'Well, if somebody's indicted, should they be able to run?' The problem is we've seen political indictments. I mean, I think Bragg was political. You have these other — these people. So, that would just give any prosecutor the ability to — to render someone ineligible. So, I've not said that. But I also think just at the end of the day, the election's got to be about the future."
So yeah, let's talk about this.
Let's talk about how Republicans want to leverage the voters in order to dismiss the charges against Trump, increasing in both number and severity as the weeks roll on. The GOP basically is confirming Trump is above the law even when not in the Oval Office. The theory is that being the leading GOP candidate indemnifies Trump despite the serious charges against him.

And since all the charges came from ordinary citizens in grand juries, then it's 100% up to ordinary citizen voters to determine if Trump should face any actual consequences, and that none of those consequences can involve state or federal criminal charges. "The worst is he loses the election, and he should be left alone after that."

But DeSantis also brings up another point when he says "that would just give any prosecutor the ability to — to render someone ineligible". What Republicans doing criminal acts are really worried about is that if Trump can be arraigned, they can too. We'd live in a world where being in political office offers no protection from charges. That worries them, but it also serves as a warning: that Republicans will order Democratic opponents to be arrested and charged in order to disqualify them from office too.

And it's because all these Republicans believe there are no merit to these charges whatsoever, laws are for those people, not national Republicans. Every politician is crooked in their worldview, enriching themselves the way Trump did in office, making billions and taking billions -- that's the point of being a politician. They're all guilty of something, but we look the other way in order to function as a society. That silent agreement has been broken, that's more of an offense than anything Trump could ever be charged with. Just as being called a racist is worse than actual racism to Republicans, charging Trump with crimes is worse than Trump actually being a criminal.

Finally, Republicans want voters to be involved. "You have the power to stop this travesty of justice, but if you elect me instead of Trump because you're worried he'll go too far, well I'll still make sure Joe Biden and Barack Obama and Hillary and Bill Clinton all go through this as well. I'll put them in jail, and I'll punish them and the people who voted for them. And they will never oppose us again." That's the silent agreement they want.

Plenty will use their votes to seal that dark covenant. The other side of that agreement is that the people who vote for the GOP won't be persecuted. Everyone else is fair game. 
What these folks really fear is being treated the way they want to treat the rest of us. Everything you're seeing descends from that.

Orange Meltdown, Con't

Donald Trump was indicted on federal charges by Special Counsel Jack Smith on Thursday, but it just wasn't for January 6th charges, as that grand jury is still proceeding.
Special counsel Jack Smith on Thursday brought additional charges against former President Donald Trump in the case alleging mishandling of classified documents from his time in the White House.

Prosecutors allege in the updated indictment that two Trump employees – Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira – attempted to delete security camera footage at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort after the Justice Department issued a subpoena for the footage.

De Oliveira told the director of IT at the resort, “that ‘the boss’ wanted the server deleted,” according to the indictment.

Trump, who is already facing 37 criminal charges, was charged with one additional count of willful retention of national defense information and two additional obstruction counts.

Trump was charged with willfully retaining a top-secret document about possible Iran attack plans, which he discussed with biographers during a taped meeting at Bedminster, New Jersey, in July 2021, according to the indictment.

The indictment says the document was a “presentation concerning military activity in a foreign country” and that Trump “showed” it to the biographers during the meeting.

New charges were also filed against Trump’s aide Nauta, and Mar-a-Lago maintenance worker De Oliveira was also added to the case. De Oliveira, 56, was charged with lying to the FBI about moving boxes with classified documents.

Trump and Nauta were previously charged last month and have pleaded not guilty.

De Oliveira was the maintenance worker who helped Nauta move boxes of classified documents around Mar-a-Lago after the Justice Department first subpoenaed Trump for classified documents last May.

CNN has previously reported that surveillance footage turned over to the Justice Department showed Nauta and De Oliveira, moving document boxes around the resort, including into a storage room just before Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran searched it for classified documents.
So we've reached the cover-up portion of the proceedings, and I wouldn't be surprised if more charges were brought in the weeks ahead against Trump and his Mar-a-Lago staff that assisted in efforts to hide the documents from investigators.

And while the hammer didn't drop on January 6th charges on Thursday, I would surmise that those charges are coming in the weeks ahead too, along with whatever Fulton County, Georgia DA Fani Willis has coming later this summer.

The additional charge involving a document discussed at Trump's Bedminster property now brings that location into play, too.

Expect more legal trouble for Trump, is what I'm saying. As Marcy Wheeler documents, this is big:

While all the journalists were in Prettyman Courthouse in DC, Jack Smith superseded the Florida stolen documents indictment to add Trump employee Carlos De Oliveira — the property manager — to the indictment.

He’s the guy who helped Walt Nauta move boxes around, including loading them to go to Bedminster. Nauta also allegedly asked him to help destroy surveillance footage.

The superseding indictment adds another stolen document count — the Iran document he showed others, which is classified Top Secret — and another obstruction count for attempting to destroy the video footage.

This passage describes how Nauta flew to Florida to attempt to destroy security footage.

This is a key paragraph of the superseding indictment. It shows how Trump uses legal representation to secure loyalty. It’s a fact pattern that crosses both of Trump’s crimes, and may well be in the expected January 6 indictment. It may help to break down the omerta currently protecting Trump.

Just over two weeks after the FBI discovered classified documents in the Storage Room and TRUMP’s office, on August 26, 2022, NAUTA called Trump Employee 5 and said words to the effect of, “someone just wants to make sure Carlos is good.” In response, Trump Employee 5 told NAUTA that DE OLIVEIRA was loyal and that DE OLIVEIRA would not do anything to affect his relationship with TRUMP. That same day, at NAUTA’s request, Trump Employee 5 confirmed in a Signal chat group with NAUTA and the PAC Representative that DE OLIVEIRA was loyal. That same day, TRUMP called DE OLIVEIRA and told DE OLIVEIRA that TRUMP would get DE OLIVEIRA an attorney.

Several uncharged Trump employees have been added to the indictment.
  • Trump Employee 3, who simply passed on the information that Trump wanted to speak to Nauta on the day Trump Organization received a subpoena
  • Trump Employee 4, who is the Director of IT who had control of the surveillance footage; according to some reports, he had received a target letter
  • Trump Employee 5, who is a valet, but from whom DOJ seems to have firsthand testimony
The passage above seems to rely on testimony from Trump Employee 5 and the final exploitation of Walt Nauta’s phone.
Trump's discount organized crime family operation in Florida is about to be taken apart. And in order to avoid doing decades of time for their boss, they're going to talk. Trump knows he has to now do everything he can to keep them loyal and that means buying them legal representation. "Don't worry," he says. "I'll take care of you."

And he will. He'll make sure they are sacrificed for him. It's worked for him for decades.

Will it still work now?
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