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Trump Confesses!

This is an admission, and a massively un-American statement

- By Paul Rosenberg, Senior Editor

“he [Pence] could have overturned the Election!” — Former President Donald Trump

“This is what prosecutor­s call guilty knowledge. And also, intent…” — Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance

A year after the Jan. 6 coup attempt, crimes hidden in plain sight — the insurrecti­onists’ seditious conspiracy, Donald Trump’s election-interferen­ce phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensper­ger, the submission of fraudulent electoral college slates — are finally getting the public attention they deserve. It’s causing many to question why Trump seems immune to scrutiny, while Trump himself provided possible reasons at a rally in Conroe, Texas on Jan. 29. He raised the specter of violence if he’s charged with any crimes, while baselessly accusing two Black prosecutor­s of being racists, and also dangling promises of pardons, which could constitute obstructio­n of justice. He followed up by openly admitting he had tried to get Vice President Mike Pence to “overturn the election.”

“If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutor­s do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protests we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere, because our country and our elections are corrupt,” he told his audience, in the midst of an 80-minute lie-packed speech. Minutes later, he promised to “treat those people from Jan. 6 fairly,” if he runs and wins in 2024, “And if it requires pardons we will give them pardons. Because they are being treated so unfairly.”

In fact, as early as late August, the Washington Post reported that, “Federal judges in Washington are questionin­g whether rioters who have admitted to storming the Capitol on Jan. 6 in support of President Donald Trump are being treated too leniently.”

Never-Trump Republican­s were quick to condemn Trump’s most recent remarks.

“Trump uses language he knows caused the Jan 6 violence; suggests he’d pardon the Jan. 6 defendants, some of whom have been charged with seditious conspiracy; threatens prosecutor­s; and admits he was attempting to overturn the election,” said Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, co-chair of Jan. 6 Select Committee on Twitter. “He’d do it all again if given the chance.”

On Jan. 30, Trump released a statement attacking recent congressio­nal efforts to definitive­ly close

any loopholes in the Electoral Count Act. It concluded by saying, “he [Pence] could have overturned the Election!”

“‘He could have overturned the election.’ This is an admission, and a massively un-American statement,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, another GOP Select Committee member, tweeted. “It is time for every Republican leader to pick a side… Trump or the Constituti­on, there is no middle on defending our nation anymore.”

To understand Trump’s seeming immunity in a non-sinister light, there’s no better guide than legal/national security blogger Marcy Wheeler’s late August post, “How A Trump Prosecutio­n for January 6 Would Work.” In it, Wheeler argues that if Trump is charged, the DOJ will follow the patterns it’s already establishe­d: “Of around 200 January 6 defendants charged with obstructio­n, I can think of few if any against whom obstructio­n has been charged based solely on their actions on the day of the riot, and Trump is not going to be the exception to that rule .... DOJ would rely on Trump’s words and actions leading up to the event to prove his intent,” and “they would charge him in a conspiracy to obstruct the vote count that intersecte­d with some of the other conspiraci­es to obstruct the vote count, possibly with obstructio­n charges against him personally.”

She also cites two stand-alone crimes that might be charged separately: Trump’s call to Raffensper­ger and his public statements that made Pence a target for assassinat­ion threats.

Wheeler went on to note the “Manners and Means” alleged in the conspiracy indictment­s, and laid out what might be alleged against Trump. These include things that aren’t criminal in and of themselves, but that cumulative­ly contribute to a criminal enterprise, as well as things whose criminalit­y might be in doubt. Examples include:

• Agreeing (and ordering subordinat­es) to plan and participat­e in an effort to obstruct the vote certificat­ion

• Encouragin­g the Proud Boys to believe they are his army

• Personally sowing the Big Lie about voter fraud to lead supporters to believe Trump has been robbed of his rightful election win

• Asking subordinat­es and Republican politician­s to lie about the vote to encourage supporters to feel they were robbed

• Encouragin­g surrogates and campaign staffers to fund buses to make travel to D.C. easier

• Using the Jan. 6 rally to encourage as many people as possible to come to D.C.

• Applauding violence in advance of Jan. 6 and tacitly encouragin­g it on the day

• Recruiting members of Congress to raise challenges to the vote count

• Asking members of Congress to delay evacuation even as the rioters entered the building, heightenin­g the chance of direct physical threat (and likely contributi­ng to Ashli Babbitt’s death)

With this in mind, it’s much easier to understand how pressure is building up against Trump, whether or not the DOJ ultimately decides to charge him. Let’s consider four recent coup-related developmen­ts, and where they could lead.

The Oath Keepers conspiracy

On Jan. 12, the Department of Justice charged 11 Oath Keepers with seditious conspiracy, including the group’s founder Stewart Rhodes. Not only does it break new ground in terms of the seriousnes­s of charges, it has implicatio­ns that go far beyond the specific individual­s involved, as Wheeler explained.

First, it “makes it clear that the intent of mobbing the Capitol was formulated well in advance of the event.” (This doesn’t absolve Trump of responsibi­lity for inciting the mob that day, due to other evidence of Trump’s involvemen­t in wider efforts to overturn the election.)

Second, it’s one of several recent indictment­s that eliminated coordinati­on between the Oath Keepers and the Willard Hotel, where Trump allies had set up a “war room,” not because it’s unimportan­t, but because “I think they’ve just decided to move onto making other people sweat about their communicat­ions with now-charged seditionis­ts appearing in the indictment, while hiding how much more they’ve learned about the Willard in recent weeks.”

Third, there are other indication­s of broader connection­s, including a potential shared interlocut­or between Stewart Rhodes and Sean Hannity. In short, a wide range of people not part of the Oath Keepers may have their own questionab­le, if not criminal, conduct exposed in an Oath Keepers conspiracy trial, including figures like Sean Hannity and Roger Stone (who had Oath Keeper “bodyguards”) who are very close to Trump.

Coordinate­d slates of fraudulent electors

On the week of Jan. 10, several outlets began reporting on fraudulent electoral college slates submitted by Republican­s in seven states, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvan­ia, and Wisconsin. These existence of such slates had been known at the time of the insurrecti­on, and the group American Oversight first obtained copies of documents from the National Archive in March 2021, with the blatantly fraudulent­ly claim to be “the duly elected and qualified Electors or President and Vice President.”

But they finally gained high-profile attention as a result of references in two key couprelate­d documents, the how-to-overturn-theelectio­n memo prepared for Trump by attorney John Eastman, and the draft letter to Georgia state officials written by former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark, intended to bully them into invalidate­d Joe Biden’s win in their state. “Under state law, I think clearly you have forgery of a public record, which is a 14-year offense, and election law forgery, which is a five-year offense,” Michigan Attorney general Dana Nessel told MSNBC, even as she referred the matter to federal prosecutor­s, as did several other state attorneys general.

On Jan. 20, news broke that Trump campaign officials, led by Rudy Giuliani, were responsibl­e for coordinati­ng the effort. That night Rachel Maddow played a tape recording of a Trump campaign official leaving a scripted voicemail message for a Michigan state legislator, requesting their help to “send a slate of electors that will support President Trump and Vice President Pence.”

More details emerged, culminatin­g on Jan. 28, when the Jan. 6 Committee subpoenaed 14 people involved as chairperso­ns or secretarie­s of the slates from seven states. Electors in several states refused to go along with these schemes, recognizin­g their illegitima­te nature, and had to be replaced. Threats of both state and federal felony prison terms will likely produce significan­t witness cooperatio­n. Because the Trump campaign was involved in coordinati­ng this effort, Trump himself could conceivabl­y be criminally charged.

Seizing voting machines

On Jan. 20 the National Archives and Records Administra­tion turned over more than 700 pages of contested Trump Administra­tion documents to the Jan. 6 Select Committee. Politico reported that among them was a draft executive order that would have directed the defense secretary to seize voting machines. It claimed authority derived in part from National Security Presidenti­al Memoranda 21, a document not publicly known before, an indication it was drafted by a knowledgea­ble high-level advisor.

Further details emerged slowly until Jan. 31, when the New York Times reported that Trump had been intimately involved in exploring the possibilit­y of using two other department­s as well to seize voting machines — the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. Trump had already rejected using the military, and Attorney General William Barr had rejected using the DOJ before Trump directed Giuliani to ask DHS to seize the machines, the Times reported.

Trump’s active involvemen­t in pursuing this radical scheme casts an even more sinister light on his last-minute leadership replacemen­ts at the department­s of Justice and Defense, and provides additional evidence that would go to establishi­ng criminal intent in a possible conspiracy charge. In an instructiv­e parallel, the Oath Keepers’ conspiracy indictment includes planning and preparatio­n for moving arms into the Capitol from a safe house in Virginia, which was similarly not followed through on.

Election interferen­ce in Georgia

As already mentioned, Trump’s electionin­terference phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensper­ger, saying, “I just want to find 11,780 votes,” is a prime candidate for charging Trump with a stand-alone crime; but there’s no indication it’s being pursued by the DOJ.

However, it is being pursued by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, though as part of a broader inquiry. On Jan. 20, Willis wrote a letter requesting a special grand jury for the probe, which would allow her to subpoena witnesses, including Raffensper­ger, who thus far “have refused to cooperate with the investigat­ion absent a subpoena requiring their testimony.”

The request required a majority of judges to be approved, which was done within just four days. The grand jury will convene on May 2 and continue for up to 12 months. Trump isn’t the only person being investigat­ed. Willis has previously confirmed that she’s also investigat­ing a November 2020 phone call between U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Raffensper­ger, the abrupt resignatio­n of the U.S. attorney in Atlanta on Jan. 4, 2021, and comments made during December 2020 Georgia legislativ­e committee hearings on the election.

But Trump is clearly in the cross-hairs, and he knows it, as shown by his remarks in Texas, and Willis was quick to respond to his threats, with a letter to the FBI’s Atlanta field office, requesting protective resources that would include “intelligen­ce and federal agents,” as well as a risk assessment of the Fulton County Courthouse and Government Center.

“Security concerns were escalated this weekend by the rhetoric of former President Trump,” she wrote. “This rhetoric is more alarming in light of his statements at the same event regarding those convicted of crimes, including violence, for actions at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He stated that if elected President in 2024, he may pardon people who have been convicted of crimes related to illegal acts related to the attack in the U.S. Capitol.”

More darkness ahead — and a ray of light

“He promised pardons for people who are enemies of our country,” former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuaid said on MSNBC. “It’s a dangerous place to be going down the road,” which could get him charged with a crime.

Threatenin­g violence on the one hand, and promising pardons on the other are typical of how Trump has sought to thwart the justice system since he first became president. But he has a much longer history of evading accountabi­lity. A forthcomin­g book by criminolog­ist Gregg Barak, Criminolog­y on Trump, argues that “By most measures, Donald Trump belongs in the same annals where we place our now-legendary crime bosses,” according to a preview article at T he Crime Report website.

“To understand how we got to this point, my book examines three generation­s of Trump businesses. It attempts to show how long before he became president, he was operating a criminal enterprise composed of various illegal schemes and rackets as part of the Trump Organizati­on,” Barak explained. “This book is also an historical account of the intermingl­ing of illegal and legal activities that Donald Trump pursued in order to obtain the power of Commander-in-Chief, what he did with that power once he had obtained it, and finally the lengths to which he would go to keep from losing that power.”

Before Trump came right out and admitted his intent to overthrow the election, proving criminal intent had routinely been cited as a major obstacle to prosecutin­g him. That obstacle is now gone. But Barak shows that there’s another way past it as well — and it’s always best to have multiple angles of attack. That way past is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizati­ons Act (RICO), which has been used to take down other crime families, and could be used against the Trump family as well.

“RICO could be employed for much of but not all of Trump’s diversity of lawlessnes­s, civilly and/or criminally,” Barak told Random Lengths. “It could be potentiall­y very effective especially in the case of conspiraci­es but not necessaril­y with respect to overturnin­g the election conspiracy, but I would not rule it out.”

But when asked about a related matter — if it could be used with respect to Trump’s moneymakin­g off the “stop the steal” campaign, Barak responded enthusiast­ically.

“Absolutely,” he said. “And, the beauty is that the government could confiscate and freeze all the money raised by the fraudulent ‘stop the steal’ campaign while the adjudicati­on/litigation process plays out for months/years. Prosecutin­g for this type of fraud not using RICO would not allow for such state interventi­on/sanctions.”

In short, there is a clear path forward to extricate America from Trump’s extravagan­t lawlessnes­s. All that’s necessary is a firm resolve to take it.

 ?? File photo ?? Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes is charged with seditious conspiracy.
File photo Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes is charged with seditious conspiracy.
 ?? File photo ?? Author and criminolog­ist Gregg Barak has written a book that chronicles Trump’s history of evading accountabi­lity.
File photo Author and criminolog­ist Gregg Barak has written a book that chronicles Trump’s history of evading accountabi­lity.
 ?? File photo ?? Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis has opened a criminal investigat­ion into Trump’s alleged election interferen­ce.
File photo Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis has opened a criminal investigat­ion into Trump’s alleged election interferen­ce.

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