Trump’s Crimes Are Plainly Visible

I wanted to post this a couple of days ago, but it took me this long to find it. Here is Laurence Tribe on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show Monday night, reacting to Trump’s “overturn the Election!” memo.

Maybe it’s just me, but he seems on the edge of a panic attack.

Recently it seems we get some new details about The Plot to Steal the Election every day. Today’s bit is that Trumpers wanted to seize raw data from the National Security Agency and Defense Department and sift through it for evidence of foreign interference in the election. See also Trumpers Wanted Conspiracy Theorist Help On Proposed NSA Effort To Steal Election at Talking Points Memo.

We don’t know if this idea was ever presented to Trump. However, we do know that Trump was involved in the scheme to seize voting machines.

Six weeks after Election Day, with his hold on power slipping, President Donald J. Trump directed his lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to make a remarkable call. Mr. Trump wanted him to ask the Department of Homeland Security if it could legally take control of voting machines in key swing states, three people familiar with the matter said.

Mr. Giuliani did so, calling the department’s acting deputy secretary, who said he lacked the authority to audit or impound the machines.

The reporting, by the New York Times, says that on Rudy Giuliani’s advice, Trump rejected the suggestion to ask the Pentagon to seize voting machines. So instead he had Giuliani go to DHS. After being shot down by DHS, Trump asked Attorney General Barr to do it. Barr also shot the idea down. But in the meantime Trump also asked lawmakers in contested states to seize voting machines.

Later in the story —

Mr. Giuliani was vehemently opposed to the idea of the military taking part in the seizure of machines, according to two people familiar with the matter. The conflict between him and his legal team, and Mr. Flynn, Ms. Powell and Mr. Byrne came to a dramatic head on Dec. 18, 2020, during a meeting with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office.

At the meeting, Mr. Flynn and Ms. Powell presented Mr. Trump with a copy of the draft executive order authorizing the military to oversee the seizure of machines. After reading it, Mr. Trump summoned Mr. Giuliani to the Oval Office, according to one person familiar with the matter. When Mr. Giuliani read the draft order, he told Mr. Trump that the military could be used only if there was clear-cut evidence of foreign interference in the election.

Hence, the need for a fishing expedition to find evidence of foreign interference.

There’s a long article by Ed Kilgore at New York magazine that lays out the plot(s) to overturn the election. (If you don’t have a subscription, you can probably read it in an incognito or inprivate window. That’s what I do.) I linked yesterday to Philip Bump’s “the sloppy, patchwork, spaghetti-at-the-wall effort to steal the presidency.”  See also Trump’s Words, and Deeds, Reveal Depths of His Drive to Retain Power by Shane Goldmacher at the New York Times. These all go over much the same material. But the point is that there’s a bleeping avalanche of evidence that Trump was actively attempting to overturn the election, and it’s all out in the open. There’s enough stuff out in public to put him away for years, as Laurence Tribe said.

We don’t know if the Justice Department is working on any of this. Maybe it is; maybe it isn’t. Waiting for Merrick Garland to Do Something is an ongoing topic of consternation in the nation’s op eds. Lots of people discuss the virtue of caution. But Trump is out in public telling his followers to violently punish any prosecutors, whether Letitia James, Fani Willis,  or Alvin Bragg, who dare to indict him for anything. Fani Willis asked the Justice Department for protection.

That all three of these prosecutors are Black has not escaped Trump’s notice. Jonathan Chait:

Addressing a rally last weekend, former president Donald Trump presented himself as the victim of racist prosecutors. “These prosecutors are vicious, horrible people. They’re racists and they’re very sick. They’re mentally sick,” he bellowed. “If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal,” Trump said, “I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protest we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta, and elsewhere. Because our country and our elections are corrupt.”

Yesterday, his largest adult son, Eric, took up the refrain with a slightly classier spin, filing suit against New York Attorney General Letitia James for what he called her “third world” conduct.

If you still need a decoder ring, the Trumps habitually attack whomever is prosecuting them as corrupt, but the alleged corruption is usually cast as either akin to Russia (i.e., second world) or embodying the corruption of American institutions Trump frequently alleges. Eric’s “third world” epithet is a specific reminder that the prosecutors in New York are Black and therefore lack the standing to charge his upstanding family with crimes.

I’m rooting for Fani Willis especially. Her taking down Trump on criminal charges would be just about the sweetest thing that ever happened in American history. Everything I hear about her says she is thorough and professional and won’t make a move until she’s got every “i” dotted.

In other news — in a hopeful sign, Trump-endorsed primary challengers to Republican politicans Trump doesn’t like are lagging way behind in fundraising.

Key Trump-backed Republican challengers were heavily outraised by their Republican primary opponents late last year, newly filed financial reports show. …

… The trend was most evident in Wyoming.

The incumbent, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), more than quadrupled the fourth-quarter fundraising haul of her top primary opponent, fellow Republican Harriet Hageman.

Cheney’s $2 million haul, her best-ever fundraising quarter, came as she spearheaded efforts to investigate Trump’s role in the January 6 Capitol attack — triggering the ex-president’s fury.

Hageman reported raising $443,000.

However, Trump’s candidates would be weaker general election candidates, I suspect, so Democrats might be better off if some of them won.


Fulton County Prosecutor Fani Willis