Why Trump Won’t Get Away With It

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S1: This is elections, this is the backbone of democracy, and all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this.

S2: And he discerned the fact that he said, quote, There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix. I don’t want to scare anybody but understand the facts. We’re likely to lose another two hundred and fifty thousand people dead between now and January.

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S3: Hello and welcome to Tramcars Time, Virginia Heffernan. We have spent a lot of time on this show talking about how frightening Donald Trump is and for four years he has been I mean, when he’s the commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces, he’s scary. And when he’s pickpocketing you and me to fatten up his crackpot kids, he’s freaking scary. And when he has Air Force One in the Oval Office, in the Rose Garden, the presidential seal and phalanxes of government lawyers and every bully pulpit in the attention of all world leaders, he is a menace when he can divert the resources of the U.S. government away from sick and dying people who need them. His cruelty and his negligence is deadly when he can sign brutal executive orders that materially ruin the lives of Americans. He’s he’s he’s terrifying. And come on, when he has thirty eight hundred active nuclear warheads at his disposal, Trump is freaking dangerous as hell. But without the entire resources and authority of the executive branch of the U.S. government trumps just another racist shmo, an old man braying online about how the world has done him wrong. I mean, he’s about to become the aged surviving son of an old racist con man, Fred, the dropout who went to juvie but still got the money and fucked over is one of your siblings and the guy that became a stupid meme in New York. And then I’m daffy reality television. And then he started bellowing about Obama and squeaked into the White House with Russian help to refresh our memories. He served one term as president, was a total bust, got nothing done, and then was impeached and was voted out the first chance the American people got. So in less than 50 days, Donald Trump will not have the office, the arsenal, the Treasury, the salutes, the trappings, the White House, the Secret Service, Walter Reed or Air Force One. The problem in this country has not been the psychotic old man, Donald Trump. The problem has been Donald Trump, plus the presidency and all of you listeners. This is where I say thank you. All of you listeners and 80 million of our closest friends voted to take the AK away from the angry geezer who’s been snorting crystal meth. And that is something to be proud of. My guest today, also no surprise, voted against Donald Trump. She’s a Trump cast favorite. Her name is Al Run. GAPA Acia is a former FBI special agent, a lawyer and a faculty member at Yale. She’s also an analyst at CNN and an editor at Just Security. Welcome back to Dreamcast.

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S1: Thank you so much for having me again.

S3: It’s been too long. We realize we haven’t spoken since something like the Mueller report ages ago ages. But you’re the perfect guest to have in our denouement. I was calling it, but we’re in the last six episodes of Fairooz. You know, where the denouement because you just do such a good job of kind of crystallizing and putting in context, putting in legal context, putting it in the law enforcement, FBI context, a DOJ context, everything that has happened in this catastrophic assault of a presidency. And even though we only have forty seven or eight days left, we still are still trying to do as much damage as they can. Yes, Trump and his goons. So maybe you could start by talking about Bill Barr’s big day this week. We learned, right.

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S1: That it sounds like a children’s children’s book like ours. Big day. Big day. Exactly. But I know like each page, he does something else quasi illegal and it all ends with him watching several executions.

S3: I kind of feel like one of us could draw him, too, and he would be like, you’d be some creature like. Like like what they are in Frances, like badgers or, you know, the Francis stories or where anyway. Yes, he does a very cartoon face and he gets up bit too much cartoon mischief. But I think there was a day last week that reminded me of four years ago the crazy Access Hollywood drops and the WikiLeaks dump drops it within minutes of each other, where we first learned that Jenna Ellis and Giuliani were angry at Barr for dismissing the fraud charges or saying that DOJ could find nothing of no election fraud.

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S1: Yeah, there was nothing to dismiss. Basically, he came out and said we there’s no evidence of widespread voter fraud, which is really interesting because in the lead up, I mean, several months ago, he was all over the news like he was doing interviews, claiming that there were all these big cases of voter fraud.

S3: Do you remember that? Yes.

S4: Which he was misrepresenting at the time.

S1: I mean, he was he was actually misstating the facts of cases that had been prosecuted in the past and exaggerating them and lying about that.

S3: Yeah, what was that? What was that? Because, I mean, I knew he was laying the groundwork by talking about laying the groundwork.

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S1: He was making claims of voter fraud and mail fraud. There was a case that he specifically cited where he claimed that I remember the numbers. Seventeen hundred. And I think that was a number of votes he claimed were fraudulent. But it turned out that he was actually literally misstating the facts of that case and then that was not correct. OK, but in any case, we know that he lies in public and that he was out kind of pushing the narratives of the president. So it was very noteworthy. And then he disappeared. I was like unawares bar watch, right? Because I was like, what is this guy up to? You cannot look you on him. This is where my law enforcement antenna comes in like I want to where I could see him. I want to see his hands. I want to see one, see everything that’s open because I don’t trust that guy when when he disappears. And so we learned a few things. He was trying to hasten several federal executions, for example. So that was happening behind the scenes.

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S4: And then he comes out.

S1: And basically makes the statement that really angered the Trump team, which was saying that the DOJ had not found credible evidence of voter fraud, and I think this is this gets to really where the rubber meets the road for Barr and where he has all of his attempts hit a brick wall is that you can say anything you want out in public, in the court of public opinion. But at the end of the day, you actually have to have evidence to even initiate an investigation, like you have to have facts. And so what happens is he pushes these narratives. But, you know, when when push comes to shove, these FBI agents, these prosecutors, they’re not going to fabricate a case based on nothing. They also have their reputations on the line. They have to go into court. And so he then becomes he is ends up being forced to. Concede that there’s nothing there. And we’ve also seen that happen with a Durham investigation, though he’s made a twist in that little project of his.

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S3: So that Durham investigation is sort of right what people refer to as the origins investigation, meaning an investigation into the origins of the Mueller investigation, unrelated rush to investigate it kind of connects to the point you were just making, because to look into voter fraud, you have to have a reason to look into voter fraud. I mean, just anything. Just, you know, I think Seth Abramson sometimes says, you know, if a candygram bunny shows up at your door and says, you know, I just witnessed the ballots being burned, that might be a reason to look into it.

S1: Yeah, it’s information, an allegation.

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S3: They could have that right. And then what’s strange is having not found it in that case, Barr has doubled down on the idea that Mueller and company and Comey and the FBI didn’t have reason to look in to Trump’s Russia ties in the earlier case, when, in fact they had much more than a bunny with a candy gram. And to discredit the origins of the FISA warrant. I mean, there will be, don’t you think, a year from now you’ll be able to say that even the most die hard student of Devin Nunes? Do you remember what that memo we were all supposed to release was or read the transcript or just the word crowd strike mean anything to you or Barry Smart or FISA warrant, like just the amount of smoke that they’ve tried to generate around the origins of the Russia investigation or crazy. In any case, they still have this other kind of meta investigation that that bar has been very excited about to kick the foundations out of the Mueller report at the start by going back to give bias or whatever is what kicked it off instead of actual evidence. And I almost thought he had sort of let that slide. Not much had come of it in Senate hearings. And I sort of thought, well, that will just die when Trump leaves office, but no bar has tried to harden.

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S1: Wait, there’s more. Yeah, there’s more to tell us about. Right. So just to rewind and give people the landscape, we remember that the Department of Justice inspector general basically did an audit of CROSSFIRE hurricane, which was the investigation that was the ultimately the Russia probe and what what Special Counsel Mueller took over. And he found some irregularities and omissions and errors with regard to, I think, the Carter Page FISA application. But overall found also that the investigation was properly predicated, that basically there was a basis to do all to to continue that investigation. The Carter Page FISA is one piece of this big puzzle which was crossed by a hurricane. Then unsatisfied with that, bill, Barr had appointed the US attorney for the district of Connecticut, a political appointee by Trump, who is actually well regarded. He is well regarded here in Connecticut to basically do another investigation of the origins of CROSSFIRE hurricane. And there was a lot of talk that this was going to be the October surprise that he that Durham was going to release some report, the Q. People thought they were going to be, you know, tons of arrests and people sitting, getting set to Gitmo or whatever it is. Their narrative is now at some point in August or September, I think his Durham’s deputy, Nora Dennehy. Hmm. Resigned. And there was no it wasn’t clear why, but there was speculation that maybe there was pressure there to try to. You know, make some political statement or do or do something that was beyond the norms of the Justice Department and, you know, because it’s a big deal when somebody resigns from their their position. Right. And we all know we know that Durham had already, by the way, commented on his investigation and he had publicly disagreed with the inspector general’s conclusion that the CROSSFIRE hurricane investigation was properly predicated. So he had also violated a norm of his own by commenting on an ongoing investigation. So this whole thing was shady is the point, but nothing ever came out. And so, as you said, Virginia, it seemed like there was a lot of smoke, but no fire. And you know that this investigation didn’t find anything. Well, what we find out a few days ago is that in October, Bill Barr had essentially authorized Durham to continue this investigation and had afforded him the protections of a special counsel. And it seems to me that the idea is to allow Durham to continue his origins, investigation into the next administration without, you know, and to protect him from the next AG, for example, from firing him. The appointment letter says that Durham’s investigation has resulted in a criminal investigation. So it sounds like there’s a criminal investigation that has come out of that. My money this is my complete speculation. I think it might be a leak investigation. That’s something, you know, that that would fall within that jurisdiction. But in any case, that’s where we are. And it’s a little bit shady because Durham is a political appointee. There has been all this these questions about his true independence because of his commenting, because of his deputy resigning. And so he’s going into the next administration with these protections of a special counsel. And what’s interesting is that under the special counsel regulations, a special counsel, the criteria for a special counsel is that they must be from outside of the government. So the whole idea is to bring in someone who isn’t a political appointee, who’s not associated with this administration, not that they can have ever worked for government before, but that they are outside and they’re coming in. This was Mueller, right, like he was in private practice or whatever he was doing and who is well respected. And because the point of the special counsel regulations is to have an independent investigation so that people can trust that it is not biased in one way or the other, and that is free from political influence. So it’s very it goes against the spirit of those regulations to basically entrench a Trump appointee who is investigating a matter in which the person who appointed him has a personal interest.

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S3: So, yeah, I mean, there will come a day where you and I will not have to wonder about the workings of the brain of Bill Barr. But alas, today is not that day. So let’s just speculate one more time about how I mean, I’m sort of still interested in this Fintan O’Toole article from a month ago about how Barr was a little more than a month ago, about how Barr had been really teeing up to kind of jack the election and make Trump president for life because of his commitment to the unitary executive theory and that he basically wanted a monarchy. And so I think we were all kind of prepared for that and prepared for Barr is, you know, this sort of Galaxie brain who he just wants his thousand year Reich. I keep saying that, but you just you want a strong man in the Republic of Chiliad is what he wants. He wants the Republic of Chiliad exactly. To bring about whatever his Judeo-Christian something something vision. OK, so I sort of got that. But since he dropped the voter fraud thing kind of pretty precipitously and yeah, right in the middle where he if he had any intention, he could have just sat on that for a little while, if he had any intention of kind of messing it up for you lectors in a couple of weeks. But instead he comes right out with that. But now I think he has something else potentially up his sleeve by consolidating Durham’s power. And that is his legacy really does seem to be tied to how he blocked and muddied the waters around the Mueller investigation. And, you know, we we know he’s hard hearted. He doesn’t care how remote people remember him. And he is a tough guy, but it can’t be lost on him that he really has lost the respect of the kind of Muehler crowd with whom he used to be kind of. Yes, and what he may now be doing is trying to double down on his actions there, his misrepresentation of the report, his defense of Trump by saying it’s still true, the investigation was misguided and I would continue. The investigation was misguided. And that’s why I was allowed to kind of liberate the president from this conspiracy against him so that he’d be free to pursue his agenda. And that that is that’s my work. And I want to feel good about it, but I feel doubly good about it if the investigation was perjured from the start and. Right. But this is right. And that he would finally be redeemed if two, three, four years from now Durham comes out and says not only were there leaks in the beginning, but every warrant was given wrong and there was no reason to suspect this. And this was not buttoned up at all. And so good for us for having Barr to have blocked its effects up the rear end since it was so poisoned from the beginning. Is that what you think? I mean, I don’t know. Are you with me?

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S1: I mean, I think I think that’s a very astute take on it. Bill Barr did audition for his job with this unsolicited memo, basically saying that before he even saw any evidence at all that this was a misguided investigation. So he clearly there’s going to be confirmation bias going on. He auditioned for the job starting with that conclusion. So he has to kind of validate that assessment. And I think that’s what we’ve seen over and over again. I think there could be multiple things going on. So it could be that in the short term, this is a bone that he’s thrown to Trump because he couldn’t deliver on the mass arrests and Gitmo jail October right before the election, or he couldn’t deliver on investigations of voter fraud, that this is retribution by now. There’s going to be a special counsel in the Biden administration kind of thing. Yeah, but as you said, I think there’s also a way in which you’re right that he wants to take credit for anything that comes out of this, because remember, if there is an ongoing criminal investigation that was going to continue into the next Department of Justice, regardless, you can’t just stop an investigation. It doesn’t just because it Durham found something. Once that ball gets rolling, it’s it’s there. So in some ways, Barr is basically preemptively saying this incoming Department of Justice is biased. I don’t even know who the next AG is, but that person is going to be biased. They’re going to bury all of this. Therefore, I have to insulate this investigation. So it’s it’s already very norm breaking in that regard.

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S3: Is it also is it also since Trump recently, you know, things kind of cycle back to the top of mind for him. And lately he’s been talking again about some the Obama was spying on his presidency. And isn’t it a little bit like putting like FBI, FBI counterterrorism investigation that started before Trump took office and started when in right. In the lame duck lame duck period the counterintelligence, foreign counterintelligence, counterintelligence that started while Obama was still president, but not not entirely at his direction. But don’t you think that Trump wants Biden to come in being spied on by his administration or at least by the with the feeling that he’s or that’s something that could deliver him?

S1: You know, the thing that he thought Obama did that maybe trumps understanding? That’s what I mean. I think it could be a bone for I don’t think it will affect Biden in any way because I can’t see how Biden would have ever been involved in anything having to do with the CROSSFIRE hurricane investigation to begin with.

S3: You don’t think Verismo had something to do with Carter Page meeting that Russia does?

S1: It is this weird catch phrase thing, as you’ve noted. Right. Like, let’s throw in as many different uranium, one barista, pizza emails, the new one, the menu. And all of these things are just shorthand for a lot of shady shit happen. It’s kind of like when we think back to Whitewater, that’s my that’s my touchstone is ask anyone. They have no freakin idea what Whitewater was about, you know, but you say Whitewater and, you know, there was a big investigation and there was something kind of sketchy maybe going on. I don’t know. Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s what all of these shorthand phrases are for. And they just repeat them and they throw them out. And so Russia gate gets to continue into the Biden administration.

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S4: Like I said, there’s one criminal investigation.

S1: I suspect it’s probably something like a leak. Right. They should investigate that. If people were leaking, that’s against the law. I have no reason to believe it wouldn’t have continued anyway. But what Barr is doing is making sure that when it comes out, it’s going to be Durham who was overseeing that. And but for Bob. It never would have come to light to your original point that he’s going to get to kind of claim credit for it, otherwise it would be like whatever the the U.S. attorney’s office for for D.C. or New York or whatever would have jurisdiction over that case. You see what I’m saying?

S3: Yes. Yes, I do. So is Durham in place? I mean, it also gets interesting because lots of discussion on this show and everywhere else concerns whether Biden ought to Biden’s DOJ ought to prosecute Trump after he leaves office. And if if there is an ongoing investigation into whoever Durham would, we can presume he has in his sights. You know, it is it I don’t know. It’s not exactly Biden, but it’s the DNC. Maybe it does nudge up Dr. Biden. What do we know? It’s a whole world. There’s Obama. There could be Peter Strock. There could be whoever. Oh, who’s the one, Meghann? Or all those people that they always kind of throw around and maybe that could touch Biden. Or maybe the hope is that touches Biden. But in any case. So we might have with all the kind of all the over polite worries about should Biden vindictively let his ag, you know, prosecutor investigate Donald Trump after he leaves office? Well, there is like a hidden Durham prosecuting. The Democrats are looking into the Democrats after Trump leaves office. So kind of tit for tat on these investigations. Yeah, is it’s kind of grinding and miserable.

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S1: It’s grinding and miserable. And I think, honestly, the biggest casualty here is the Department of Justice. Right, that they are going to continue to be in these political crosshairs and politicized. And that is truly one of the most awful legacies of the Trump era, is that the Department of Justice, the FBI, has been cast and is seen as basically puppets and tools of whatever administration is in office as opposed to being independent, which is so important not just for these cases that may implicate particular people associated with either administration, but for all the work that the Department of Justice does like, it is essential when they prosecute corrupt politicians at the local or state level, when they get into a courtroom and have to testify or present cases to a jury that they’re seen as being on the up and up. And what he’s done is taint all of that. And I think it’s just it’s awful. And you’re right. It’s just going to continue. There’s no way out now. And I mean, the Trump stuff presents exactly that dilemma is the question of whether to press whether it’s a terrible position to be in. Right. Because Trump committed crimes. There’s no way around it. And it’s not just the Russia probe stuff. It’s the Stormy Daniels campaign finance violation for which his lawyer went to jail and he was a coconspirator. Yeah. So someone has been punished and is literally serving time for that crime that happened before he came into office that actually assisted him in getting into office. Right. It was a way to cheat in the time getting in in the time leading up to the election. Then there may be other things that the Department of Justice uncovers with regard to his tax returns or bank fraud or whatever. And it is a good list. There’s a good list of all the possible the Russian stuff. And then, you know, it’s it’s sad the Department of Justice will be in a position of do we proceed with these cases like we would do for any other person and risk then being cast as politically biased, which, as I just mentioned, will affect everything that we do? Or do we let it go? And it’s not the same as, you know, in the Nixon you know, Nixon got away with it. He was pardoned, but he also resigned. He basically accepted responsibility at a public level that at least a lot of people were unhappy with him not being prosecuted, but he did accept responsibility. That’s not going to happen here either.

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S3: So are you with maybe with Bob Bauer, so I don’t know if you’ve seen Jack Goldsmith and Bob Bauer’s new book after Trump, but they disagree on this, whether Trump ought to be prosecuted when he leaves office. And Goldsmith thinks not only does he think they couldn’t get a conviction on even obstruction, even the volume, the volume to material in the Mueller report and also not on these other things, and that it would be too risky and that we’d have to trust the mechanisms of the state for which he can’t be pardoned to do these things or else it just looks vindictive. But he’s quite persuaded by Bauer’s case that a president who appears to be above the law while he’s in office has to be you have to be able to prosecute him when he’s out of office or else he’s always above the law in perpetuity. And that’s that’s bad for the American people. You know, it’s just sort of bad.

S1: It’s terrible. And this yeah, this was this was, I think, for his calculation in pardoning Nixon. Right. Is that it’s embarrassing. It’s a stain on the country. It’s turmoil to watch a former president be prosecuted. Now, people are going to listen to this now. I would get out my popcorn. I would be very happy to watch that. But my point is at a at a let’s take Trump out of it. Just like think about the general presidency. You don’t want to become a norm and a precedent that some you know, the guy who is president, which is the most powerful office in the world, is going through this process. But on the other hand, we are a nation of laws. And the whole idea is that no one is above the law. And so the these are here. Virginia is don’t elect criminals to be president, then you don’t have to deal with this. That’s the takeaway, I think. And so because then you end up in this dilemma. And absolutely, I think I would agree with Bob Bauer that if you are saying that, especially with the Department of Justice policy, that you can’t indict a sitting president. And then you also say, but we also can’t because of national and democratic norms and the and the health of our democracy, prosecute them afterwards, then basically becoming president is a get out of jail free card to your way to the presidency. Do whatever you need to do to get in there because you then can launder all your crimes and also be immune from prosecution once you get out. Yeah. Is that what we want the office of the presidency to be? I mean, that’s that’s awful.

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S3: No, that is awful. I mean, I’m torn on this one and I’m I guess like everyone, I would like for Biden to stay away from it as much as possible. Just Biden himself, because we have a pandemic and an economic crisis on our hands and he and Harris need to do everything they can there.

S1: So I’ll add this. I think the flip side is when you elect a criminal as president, they’re probably going to keep climbing. So I would say I’d I’d be interested to know what Jack Goldsmith has to say about crimes that are committed after you leave. In other words, we’re not even talking back. Like let’s just like bygones be bygones and move on. This is kind of the O.J. situation where, OK, fine, guess what? You’re going to get out and we’re just going to move on with our life, even though this would make a lot of people unhappy. But he’s going to commit more crimes. I mean, that is his pattern of behavior. This is his lifestyle. This is how he’s going on. And so, you know, at some point, I think if that happens, if he doesn’t retire quietly and go into exile in Moscow, just shut up, which he’s not going to do at that point. I don’t think there is any legitimate argument that you can’t investigate and then pursue to the full extent, extent of the law. Right? Yeah. Like he leaves office and then there are like entirely new crimes that begin federal crimes afterwards.

S3: Federal crimes. Yeah. And what do you think? Well, you know, when you said the lesson is don’t let criminals, I think that’s actually strangely profound. And that’s, I think what Goldsmith and Bauer both want to do, which is harden the norms. What we all want to do is harden the norms and sort of the moral principles of that haven’t been codified of how we elect someone, how someone comes to power, how transparent they have to be, what they have to do while in office so that we don’t get another criminal in office like Donald Trump. So that, you know, I didn’t I said this to Goldsmith. He didn’t say it. But, you know, all these fail safes that that let us down on the way up to and including just small things like Trump’s ability to to dodge the draft and then crush the news of how he did it or the word of how he did it. Trump’s ability to get into college would be, you know, kind of rubber stamped as an Ivy League person, even though he cheated on his SATs, just each one of these institutions that didn’t need to anoint him. He didn’t need to get through all these. So that he could get the Republican nomination, you know, if he had to show his taxes, had to show his taxes, had to show his medical report, we might not have had him as a nominee if there were, you know, different standards for how, you know, information is regulated on Facebook or even on on the networks that he might not have made it there. So there’s certain other kind of things that we have to go back and figure out how to make this this safer so that our house can’t be burglarized again. Right. Like we need better alarm systems and all kinds of better lighting and all kinds of things. There are ways that the social world and our mores might catch up after the fact. Just one example is something has gone gravely wrong when Donald Trump can still get a loan with Deutsche Bank. Right. Like you’re going through the wilderness of your life and you’re like, I got to keep my credit pretty good. That’s one of the things I have to do if I ever want to, you know, get a good job, be a partner at a law firm, you know, manage a Friendly’s B, be the president. United States. I’ve got to keep my credit pretty good, right? Well, he didn’t, but he could still get loans, so something went wrong there. So one of the things that might happen after he’s out of office is that those institutions catch up to him and the Deutsche Bank calls in that loan that he’s not good for. You know, that he we know he’s not good for it because he’s insolvent and then seizes some assets. And that’s kind of a way that like on that on the financial level, that the country can regulate itself when it has had a criminal in a position of power and wealth. Yeah. Is kind of call in those debts. And that might not be satisfying because it doesn’t get him on obstruction of justice. It doesn’t get him on emoluments. It doesn’t get him on these federal crimes. But that’s just one of the things in in civil litigation. And then there’s also there’s also the state crimes. And this brings me to the present moment. This bribe, this possible bribe for pardons scheme that we’ve seen heavily, heavily redacted report on also seems to violate some state laws that might be and that if it goes to Trump, even a self pardon couldn’t save him from them. I don’t know. I don’t know. What do you think about that? And tell me about that report generally and maybe more broadly, what you think about the state charges Trump might be facing, but he can’t be pardoned for?

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S1: Well, I think he definitely has potential criminal liability in New York related to the Trump Organization. And I think it would be very hard to do that. That is where he has based his operations. And New York is a financial epicenter, that there is a state interest in ensuring that financial activity in the state is in compliance with the law. So and I think New York would be able to point to other people they’ve prosecuted for these kinds of things. So I think he is definitely needs to be worried about New York. And they have uncovered, I’m sure, a wealth of information just from their civil and civil suits on his foundation. Mm hmm. Yeah. For that which I desire to today, he they dissolve. He had to pay two million dollars in fines.

S3: So I think I mean, are you asking I am very certain that New York will go after him, you know, in ways that that could still spare Biden the appearance of impropriety and vindictiveness, but also give some kind of cognitive relief to people who have seen this guy get away with so much for so long is that the Trump organization and the Trump presidency have a lot of bleed through. And yet one of them is in the jurisdiction of of of the state of New York. And the other one is, is it federal jurisdiction? And I don’t think that’s lost on the public that all he did was kind of relocate the Trump or to the White House.

S1: Yeah, that’s an excellent point, that basically he was running his he was essentially using the presidency as an extension of his business empire and as a way to make money for his business empire and therefore to punish the business even at the state level, is effectively punishing he. Is Griffy an illegal behavior. What when he was president, is that kind of what you’re saying?

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S3: That’s what I’m saying. And that’s also a kind of framework that I think could be valuable when we’re while we’re trying to sort of like, you know, while we’re in the just what the hell happened, period. I have confidence in the state prosecutions that are even there’s even business in California. If this if this bribes for pardon thing does have implications or does have give him some exposure at the level of the states. And incidentally, as you know, his name is not even mentioned in that we don’t know if his name is even mentioned in that document. But if it did, that is very closely tied to obviously his time as president. And, you know, Barr’s effort to make Donald Trump at real Donald Trump, the guy that it ran the that ran the Trump organization, coextensive with the United States of America, as he did when he changed the name of the. With Aegean, Carol, Aegean Carrolls defamation cases now versus the United States of America, as if we all defamed her and not the thug that raped her, and and that by bar is something that we need to we need to undo so that he doesn’t get the protections of I am the federal government and he becomes another joke.

S1: Yeah, I, I think that’s very compelling. I think that’s compelling. And I think you’re right because it does it does free up that look, the FBI agent and me, the lawyer in me, you know, watch him accountable for everything that he’s done wrong, I think, because that’s what the right thing to do is. But you’re right with the equities involved, and I think especially with what I was mentioning before about the politicization of the Department of Justice, you can serve the interests of justice, allow people to feel that the law has that he’s not above the law, but also spare the you can cut the narrative. Gnip, the narrative in the bud about witch hunts and all of this by by Biden, by pursuing this avenue. And I think it just goes to Vertigo’s something I’ve been thinking about that the real heroes of the last four years have been states or basically federalism, that on so many different levels, whether it’s states fighting states having sanctuary cities and fighting against his deportation orders or the election and the fact that it was so decentralized and in the hands of the state and that he couldn’t do it or even with covid and that, you know, states could were free to not deal with his crazy and implement their own orders just to protect the residents of their own states. Yeah, I think we realize it now with the potential for state prosecutions. Just I feel like we’ve realized so much the wisdom of diffusing power, leaving so much power in the states, because I think for a lot of people, states rights is associated with racism, resisting policies that that are for the benefit of the country. But I think that in many ways we’ve seen that they are also are a bulwark against tyranny and craziness and now unlawfulness.

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S3: If states are able to to pursue these prosecutions, I think that’s that is profound at that point, that this is an extension of the kind of federalism that is that has you know, it’s a cliche, but they saved us. You know, we keep looking for Muehler or institutionalists or something to save us. Nothing has saved us. We heard a full term of Donald Trump. On the other hand, it’s something that has stayed intact. I’ve said this on the show many times, and I’m very happy that we’re in the tri state area together, you and I. Yeah, that that you know, there is something in the like in the beginning of the apex, just looking at Governor Cuomo on television and thinking this vague reminder of what a leader is, just forget politics. Just that someone who’s like this is what we’re going to do. This is why we’re doing it. This is how lives will be saved. This is what our commitment, our moral commitments are to each other. Yeah, I just was like, oh, this sounds sort of familiar. This was like a nursery rhyme. I heard as a child that, you know, people could work together to do something good that would save lives. And you sort of you do hear that from states. And it’s, you know, just recently from Georgia, you know, understanding how Georgia fought to get its for enfranchisement back at the with the leadership of Stacey Abrams. Just amazing to see. Yeah. New kind of fellow feeling for your states. You know, like when those maps existed that showed who was actually going to wear masks, like the nonsmoking sections of the state. And you just were like, oh, God, I’d never thought about that before. But, you know, these parts of the industrial Midwest, you know, really do have a lot in common with this. And, you know, maybe we can all kind of kind of tune out Washington, D.C. and tune in to each other along those lines. I mean, that’s a book there you like just on on all those levels, because you’re right, it’s always ominous to talk about states rights and especially when it comes to kind of regionalism and tradition and set ways. It sounds like you’re talking about the Confederacy or secession, but the state is kind of an entity.

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S1: You know, the states. I mean, I think, you know, we’ve seen it in different ways before. Trump I mean, states were the ones that state by state began to legalize gay marriage. And that momentum helped in it, finally culminating in this Supreme Court case, saying that that is a fundamental right. So states are great laboratories and great ways to to protect interests even and oftentimes on behalf of. The entire country, even if they’re only representing the state, it was the state of Hawaii that challenged Trump’s travel ban, you know? That’s right. That’s right. So we see that they are great ways to push back. And I think for me, just talking through this, I feel like you’ve convinced me that, you know, I think the New York and New York prosecution could really split the difference of all the interests, kind of with the best of both worlds that wouldn’t have the negative externalities that we want. And in some ways, it could also set its own good precedent, which is the president isn’t above the law because you can abuse the privileges and immunities of your office and maybe even our democratic norms might protect you from your your successors going after you. But you always have to worry about the states. And then, as you’ve just noted, with the bribery for pardons, a lot of conduct that’s criminal will often be also criminal conduct under state laws. Yes. I mean, it’s not like I can money launderer and it’s only a federal crime. If you’re money laundering, you probably violated a bunch of state laws to illegal bank fraud and things like that. So. And on that point, we know, for example, that Paul Manafort, the New York City, has an indictment lined up to file. So so there it is, kind of a stop gap. That could be a good signal for future would be criminals who want to aspire to the White House as a way to protect themselves, free them from their mortal bonds of their.

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S3: So we have difficult days ahead, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It feels there is an inauguration and there is a vaccine somewhere there in the future. And I’ve decided to just park my faith that this will happen if we keep isolated, keep mitigating the virus, you know, and keep faith that that the inauguration will take place. What are you worried about in the intervening days and what are you hopeful about in twenty twenty one? I’m worried.

S1: So we’re just in the period of crazy. And we knew this would trump that if he lost, he was going to burn the place down on his way out. He kissed his ego and his world view simply cannot handle the reality. He’s unwell. And I think in many ways we need to really understand that. And he’s got also unwell people around him like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell. I mean, these people who are just doing crazy things. So what I’m worried about with that is that I’m actually worried about potential violence, like people really listening to this rhetoric and deciding that they have to take matters into their own hands against officials, against judges, things like that, because I think that is where this rhetoric is heading. And I think we saw that election officials from Georgia pleading the other day, because I think I think that people see that on the horizon. I’m sure I can’t even imagine what these election officials are just doing their job or experiencing. So that’s my fear. I mean, I am not if I am not worried that his term will be over, he will be extricated from the White House. Biden will then assume residence in the White House. And we’re going to we’re going to move on. But I think that’s the long term damage and that we have we have a rupture in our social fabric and a a significant portion of the population who are living in an alternate reality where they don’t believe that either the government is legitimate or delivering for them. And when you have that, then people feel like they have no choice but to start taking extreme measures. And that’s kind of what I worry about. And we’re late. Those seeds are being sown right now without basically any objection from the elites that matter and that could put an end to it.

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S3: Achievement Gap is a former FBI special agent, a lawyer. She’s on the faculty at Yale. She’s a CNN analyst and an editor at Justice Security. Thanks so much for being here.

S1: Thank you. Virginia, this is great.

S3: And that’s it for today’s show. What do you think can find us on Twitter and celebrate the Danimal of Dreamcast? I’m at page 88. The show is Attrill Trump cast our show today was produced by Melissa Kaplan and engineered by Richard Stanislaw. I’m Virginia Heffernan. Thanks for listening to Trump cast.