By way of introduction, let’s summarize the major legal problems facing Donald Trump at the moment:
- Justice Department investigation of the unlawful taking of public documents, including some that are classified, which Donald Trump has or had at his Florida home for more than 18 months
- DOJ investigation of January 6 insurrection
- The House of Representatives January 6 Committee work
- New York Attorney General Leticia James suit against Trump and three of his children for possible financial fraud
- Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis investigation of election tampering
That sounds like a whole lot of lawlessness from the Trump/MAGA/Republican Party that is so concerned with crime.
All this requires a great deal of “lawyering up.” Trump’s history with attorneys has been consistently… bad. His reputation for playing his own shadow attorney; his efforts to drag out everything forever; his failure to pay his bills are all well-known marks of the man. The 2020 post-election legal proceedings by the Trump lawyers left wreckage around the country. They always lost (okay, one win out of 61 cases). As a result, many of them have faced discipline or disbarment actions.
His use and abuse of White House and Justice Department attorneys from November 2020 through January 2021 left many of those lawyers forced to testify in various legal venues and often to defend themselves when caught in Trump-dictated lies. Trump’s interactions with his attorneys explains why MAGA now stands for “Making Attorneys Get Attorneys.”
The most recent legal calamities to befall Trump are the result of him removing (or perhaps more correctly, stealing) public documents from the White House that he had no right to take with him. His Florida lawyers, likely at his direction, perjured themselves by signing documents in June stating that he had turned over everything.
Recent court proceedings with the Special Master assigned to review the document matters have resulted in Trump’s current lawyers being afraid to put things in legal papers concerning issues involving classified and top-secret matters. They know such actions can land them personally in jeopardy of committing perjury. Can’t wait for those lawyers to explain how a president can declassify documents “even by thinking of it… there doesn’t have to be a process, there can be a process but there doesn’t have to be.” It appears that it’s time for another one of those “person, woman, man, camera, TV” evaluations for the former guy.
The Special Master has also told those lawyers to explain what the former president was referring to concerning his comments suggesting that FBI agents had planted documents at Mar-a-Lago.
We are regularly reading about the possibility of one or more indictments of Trump for violations of the law involving the list of cases above. Who knows? Has anyone dusted off the old “unindicted co-conspirator” laws and procedures?
But here’s a different option. Imagine this unlikely scenario, even though it could go a long way to resolving things:
The players: Trump; one or more of his best (lol) attorneys; Attorney General Merrick Garland; U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams; New York Attorney General Leticia James; Congressman Bennie Thompson, Chair of the House January 6 Committee; Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis.
The location: the Justice Department, Washington, D.C.
The subject: consolidation of all potential charges against Trump.
Here’s is a possible discussion:
- Garland: “Mr. Trump, we are gathered here to see if we can protect American democracy, and less importantly, simplify your life. We are attempting to consolidate the legal prosecutions and investigations of your alleged wrongdoing.”
- Trump: “Let me tell you how you should work these matters out.”
- Thompson, James, Willis, Williams, in unison: “Please sit down. We’re doing the talking here.”
- Williams: “Mr. Trump, the prosecutors assembled here are quite confident that we can bring charges against you that will stick. It is our preference to do so. But as President Gerald Ford agonized over and ultimately decided in 1974 concerning Richard Nixon’s crimes, we need to consider how simultaneous prosecution in multiple venues could do great harm to a country that needs to begin healing. Our concern is for our country, not for you.”
- Trump: “These are all witch …”
- All: “shut up and sit down.”
- Garland: “We have collectively decided, in the country’s best interest, to offer you a plea deal, a very simple plea deal. In exchange for you acknowledging:
- that the 2020 election was not stolen
- that you and your allies attempted in various ways, to tamper with the legitimate election results
- that you incited a violent insurrection on January 6, 2021
- that you and your three children committed financial fraud involving your real estate transactions”
- “You will be required to sign a document I am now handing to you, accepting full responsibility for the above noted violations of federal and state laws. You will be admitting guilt to all official or prospective charges.”
- “As for punishment for these violations of the law, you will pay all attorney and government prosecutor expenses involved in all the noted cases.”
- “You will also acknowledge and agree to required actions such as making restitution for matters involving financial fraud in the minimum amount of $250 million.”
- “As a condition of accepting this plea deal, you will acknowledge that you are in fact a convicted felon, and therefore, ineligible to be a candidate for or to hold an elected public position for any federal, state, or local office for the remainder of your life.”
- Trump: “this is ridiculous. I’m being railroaded. I…”
- Garland: “sign here and accept your consequences or be prepared for never-ending legal hell.”
Speaking of Republicans whose political careers are on shaky grounds
Jack O’Donnell and his lobbying firm associate Camille Brandon invited some local Democratic Party officeholders to attend a Speaker Series event including drinks and dinner with Congressman Chris Jacobs at the Buffalo Club in late August. O’Donnell makes appearances on TV and radio as a Democratic analyst, and Brandon has a long history with Democratic Party politics. Were they promoting Jacobs for something? His name comes up as a possible candidate for Erie County Executive next year. Jacobs’s reputation among his fellow Republicans seems to be in tatters these days following his break with the party on gun control issues.
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