Until last week, Donald Trump led a relatively charmed life. He got away with things that would have ruined the lives of almost everyone else. These include four huge business bankruptcies, multiple accusations of sexual assault, charges of income tax evasion and fraudulent business dealings.
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Oh, and did I mention screwing up our nation’s response to the COVID epidemic? Or his so-far failed attempt to become president for life, which would have ushered in the end of our democracy?
But events just last week may not only mark the end of his decades-long streak of legal good fortune, but the beginning of an accelerating fall from grace, resulting in a long prison sentence. Until now, Trump had used virtually every possible legal stalling tactic to evade punishment for his multitude of sins.
The Discovery Of The Bogus Alternate Slates Of Electors In Seven Battleground States
Evidently masterminded by Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, a secret plan was hatched to have diehard Trump supporters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin submit alternate slates of electors supporting Donald Trump, rather than Joe Biden, who had won each of these states. On the morning of January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence expressly rejected these fake slates, and later that evening, he certified only the legal electoral ballots.
This attempted steal of the election was brought to light just last week, and could lead to criminal charges for Giuliani, the signers of these bogus ballots, and several others – possibly including Trump.
The U.S. Supreme Court Decision To Allow The House Select Committee Investigating The January 6th Insurrection To View Over 700 Pages Of Trump Administration Documents That The Ex-President Had Been Trying To Hide
After twice losing in lower federal courts, Trump petitioned the Supreme Court to hear his case seeking to bar the January 6th committee from viewing over 700 pages of archived document pages from his administration. By refusing to take up this case, the Supreme Court let the decisions of the lower courts stand.
The immediate result was the revelation that the Trump Whitehouse was strongly considering having Trump sign an executive order directing the Secretary of Defense to orchestrate the seizure of voting machines used in the 2020 presidential election to determine if there had indeed been voter fraud, and if Trump was actually the true winner. But Trump never signed it.
The availability of these documents will be of great help not only to the January 6th committee, but to the Justice Department in determining which Trump administration officials – including the ex-president himself – should be prosecuted for any crimes.
Another very important result from the Supreme Court decision is that Trump and his cronies. such as former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and policy advisor Steve Bannon, cannot successfully invoke the excuse of executive privilege in refusing to testify before the January 6th select committee, which will begin holding public hearings as soon as next month.
The Secretary of Defense would have sixty days to determine if electoral fraud had been committed, thereby allowing President Trump to remain in office until mid-February. Interestingly, a month before, Trump had summarily fired his Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, ostensibly for not calways agreeing with the views of his commander-in-chief.
If the new Acting Secretary of Defense, Christopher Miller, had found even a shred of evidence of voter fraud, Trump would probably have tried to remain in the Whitehouse indefinitely, while proclaiming that he had actually won the election. But fortunately, that executive order was never signed and issued.
As both Congressman Jamie Raskin, a member of the January 6th committee, and conservative Republican lawyer George Conway both observed, these were actions one would expect in a “banana republic.”
Fulton County Georgia District Attorney Seeks Grand Jury Indictment Of Donald Trump For Attempting To Interfere With 2020 Presidential Election
Nine weeks after the 2020 election, President Trump called Brad Raffensperger, the Republican Secretary of State of Georgia, who had already presided over a couple of very thorough recounts and pressured him to “find” 11,780 Trump votes, exactly the amount needed to swing Georgia’s electoral votes from Biden to Trump.
Was this “perfect phone call” a legal request to rectify a grave injustice? Fani T. Willis, the District Attorney of heavily Democratic Fulton County, has charged Trump with election fraud solicitation and intentional interference with the performance of election duties.
A grand jury is being convened, and it will almost certainly hand up an indictment of Trump before spring. Then, the former president will try his best to stall holding the trial for as long as he can.
Financial Fraud Cases Against Trump Organization And Its Officers By Manhattan District Attorney And New York State Attorney General
When Trump announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president in 2015, he refused to follow the long-standing precedent for presidential candidates to make their state and federal income tax returns available for public scrutiny. He falsely claimed that he could not do this while they were under audit, while critics asked what he was trying to hide.
To this day, he still has not released his tax returns. But both the New York State Attorney General and the Manhattan District Attorney now have not just all Trump’s income tax returns, but a vast trove of other financial records and the sworn testimony of several current and former employees of the Trump Organization. These include that of the long-time Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg, and Trump’s son, Eric, who is an officer of the Trump Organization. The testimony of two of Trump’s other children, Ivanka and Donald Jr. who are also officers, is now being sought, as is possibly that of Donald Trump himself.
The Trump Organization and Weisselberg have been indicted, and more indictments are may come very soon. It is also expected that the New York State Attorney General Letitia James and the Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg will soon be ready to go to trial. Charges will include income tax evasion and financial fraud.
Trump's Legal Strategy
Donald Trump is very probably the most litigious individual ever to attain high public office. Since his twenties he has constantly been involved in major lawsuits. Increasingly, in recent decades, his legal strategy has been to wait out his legal opponents, often hoping to run out the clock, whether with the aid of statutes of limitation or because his opponents were unable to continue paying their legal expenses.
Now, playing out the clock – using every stalling tactic in the book – has been his political strategy since leaving office. Knowing, for example, that the Republicans are very likely to retake control of the House of Representatives next January 1st, he has been trying to stall the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection, and to play down his own role in that attempted coup.
If the Republicans do regain control of the House, the first thing they will do is to shut down the January 6th Select Committee. By then, however, the committee very likely will have completed most, if not all of its work. In hearings beginning within a few weeks, scores of witnesses will be called upon to testify under oath about the machinations of Trump and his band of insurrectionists.
Many have already been interviewed by the committee’s staff, and will voluntarily appear in televised hearings. Other open testimony will be secured through subpoenas.
Just this last week, it suddenly became apparent that Trump’s basic legal strategy will probably fail. The most telling blow was that the Republican controlled Supreme Court refusal to hear his appeal to stop the National Archives from handing over 700 pages of documents to the January 6 Select Committee.
Since the last presidential election, it has become evident that the quality of his legal representation has sunk to new lows. Some sixty or so losing legal appeals in state and federal court over Trump’s swing state electoral defeats by Joe Biden and his transparently bogus attempt to present alternate slates of presidential electors from those states on January 6th were orchestrated by a clown car of utterly inept attorneys like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell.
Compounding Trump’s mounting legal problems is his refusal to pay his attorneys. Maybe in the near future, even Giuliani and Powell will refuse to represent the former president unless he pays them what he owes, and thereafter that Trump even pay them in advance.