March 28, 2023
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
The Zealous Efforts to “Get Trump” Continue Unabated
Much of the media has been obsessed recently about a putative legal action which may be brought by New York DA, Alvin Bragg, against President Donald Trump. The possible decision by a convened grand jury would be an outrageous and politically-motivated perversion of the American justice system. In a real and horrifying sense, it would represent a culmination of the movement in our collective history when the legal and court apparatus of the nation has been suborned ideologically and made a weaponized arm of one political party—the party now in power—to suppress, proscribe, and eventually imprison the titular leader of the other political party and his supporters
In short, it would represent the replication of one of the worst and most onerous characteristics of the former Communist regimes in Eastern Europe. It would be, effectively, the end of the constitutionally-prescribed separation of powers that has served as a major component in our “regime of liberty,” so carefully—and tenuously—established by the Framers.
“A republic, if you can keep it,” Ben Franklin supposedly said of the new American federation, a federation in which executive, judicial, and representative powers were balanced, and liberty thus safeguarded. In recent times, overreach by the Executive and its insidious and increasing control of the Judiciary, while the Representative branch seems largely asleep-at-the-switch (or often cooperating) has meant the severe and ineluctable decline in that fragile balance.
The object of this usurpation and overturning of nearly all constitutional safeguards has been President Donald J. Trump: to prevent him at all costs from coming back into office as president, including engineering the final destruction of what remains of the old American republic to stop him. Trump’s election in 2016 and the fact that, unlike all other previous presidents for the last century, he was not part of the Washington DC Deep State “swamp,” that he was unpredictable, and that he essentially could not be bought off (after all he was already a millionaire many times over and did not need the money), meant that the elites of the Managerial State—to use James Burnham’s terminology—felt profoundly threatened.
Trump threatened not just the multiplicity of domestic programs and agencies, but, perhaps more importantly, the consensual globalist foreign policy of the US and its dutiful minions in Europe. The internationalist hegemony so desired by Washington and Brussels, with its thuggish assortment of prostituted “allies,” aka, NATO and such groups as the EU and the World Economic Forum, was, they believed, placed in peril—even if Trump, himself, was somewhat unaware of the forces he was unleashing. His return to power must never be permitted to happen.
Thus, the various frenzied efforts, as Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz describes them in a recently published volume, to “Get Trump.” Trump did not play by their rules, even if as a political neophyte he occasionally took extremely bad advice, especially in some of his thoroughly awful appointments (e.g., John Bolton, Nikki Haley, General Jim Mattis, etc.), naming denizens of the Deep State to his government. Or, tried to unite an irretrievably split GOP.
A short catalog of attempts to defenestrate him is instructive. The accompanying venom and hysteria of a Deep State-compliant media (including Fox News and the Murdoch empire), which has sworn eternal vengeance is much like the wild, screaming rabble of Madame Dufarge awaiting the next beheading in Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities (1859): “We will not rest until we see Trump’s blood flowing in the streets!” they sneer as they supposedly report the news. In fact, they project their own scarcely-veiled vile and violent desires upon him and his supporters. Even formerly rational conservatives, like Carter Wrenn in North Carolina, who once aided Jesse Helms, have now joined the howling, irrational Never Trump mob.
Since his election in 2016 Donald Trump has been forced to confront:
1) Two major and utterly frivolous, politically-inspired impeachment efforts against him, charging that he was a “Russian agent” of Vladimir Putin and/or that his election was facilitated by the Russkies; with a totally bogus Mueller Report, which after millions of taxpayer dollars and the frenzied work of a dozen high-powered Democratic attorneys, finally came up with—nothing. “Russiagate” was an immense and costly fraud perpetuated on the American nation.
2) The creation of a partisan “star-chamber” congressional January 6 committee, populated by fanatical enemies of the president, zealously dedicated to shaping a very specific narrative on “the insurrection against our democracy,” using carefully-edited (mis)quotes and mired in vicious partisan malice. And then using it not only as an attempt “to get” the president but to unleash a thoroughly politicized and weaponized FBI (and other intel agencies) to “root out domestic terrorists,” that is, any Trump supporter who would dare raise alarms about what is occurring, traditional Catholics, white middle class voters, Southerners and those who have the misfortune of living in what Jewish author Philip Roth once called “fly-over” country—basically any traditional American who worked a forty hour week and paid taxes, had a traditional family, went to church, and lived outside the insane asylum known as California or the Socialist Republic of New England.
3) The infamous Mar-A-Lago raid, another “Aha!” moment, which has turned out to be a bust. President Trump supposedly had taken top secret documents to his home, against the law. The FBI made a highly-publicized, early-in-the-morning raid, with accompanying media coverage by those Paul Craig Roberts has appropriately called “presstitutes.” Only to discover that Trump had already been in negotiations with the National Archives (NARA) about documents that perhaps needed to be transferred there, and that the president had, before leaving office, declassified others. Then, the whole issue collapsed with a colossal thud as hundreds of top secret documents were also found at Joe Biden’s home (from his tenure as vice-president when he had NO power to declassify) and in his garage, where the China-compromised Hunter Biden could have accessed them at any time. Suddenly, the “Mar-A-Lago” assault subsided from public view; the media seemed to bury any mention of it.
4) And the latest attempt has been the potential New York legal action, once again moored in hysterical hatred for Trump and his supporters. And the cast of actors in that unreal travesty makes the most absurd vocalists in any comic opera by Gilbert & Sullivan look like characters in a Shakespeare tragedy. One could not possibly dream up such insanity.
First, there is Stormy Daniels who has claimed that Donald Trump had an affair with her way back in 2006. Trump, then, supposedly had his former attorney, Michael Cohen, funnel $130,000 to Daniels to obtain her silence. Yet, in a sworn affidavit from January 2018, Daniels denied having such an affair, and Trump has consistently and strongly denied it.
Then, there is attorney Cohen, an inveterate liar who has been disbarred for malpractice. Although he has conveniently altered his story since then, on February 8, 2018, Cohen’s attorney Stephen Ryan wrote to the Federal Elections Commission that: “Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford [AKA Daniels], and neither reimbursed Mr. Cohen for the payment directly or indirectly.” Cohen “used his own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford,” aka Daniels, to supposedly keep her quiet about the dubious 2006 affair. Yet, six months later he pled guilty to a laundry list of Federal charges, including supposedly “making an excessive campaign contribution to Trump… by paying Daniels to keep quiet about her alleged affair….”
Lastly, there is New York DA Alvin Bragg, a “woke” Democrat George Soros-supported protégé, whose ideological zeal and venom reveal far more about his “get Trump” motives than any niceties of legal and judicial procedure. At first Bragg was “encouraged” by the frenzied Left to prosecute the president whatever the cost, but more recently some prominent Democrats wonder if such a patently absurd prosecution might redound to Trump’s advantage. Even stalwart progressives like Andrew Cuomo have demurred: “I think it’s all politics and that’s what I think the people of this country are saying. It just feeds that anger and that cynicism and the partisanship. It’s a coincidence that Bragg goes after Trump and Tish James goes after Trump and Georgia goes after Trump? That’s all a coincidence? I think it feeds the cynicism and that’s the cancer in our body politic right now." And, of course, Cuomo has received fierce push back from more radical Leftists.
One of the more equanimous and measured analyses of the potential New York case is by Jonathan Turley, Professor of Public Interest Law at The George Washington University.
I transcribe it below:
“The moment that we are waiting for, we made it to the finale together” — those familiar words from “America’s Got Talent” — could well be the opening line for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg next week, when he is expected to unveil an indictment of former President Trump. With Trump’s reported announcement that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday, it would be a fitting curtain raiser for a case that has developed more like a television production than a criminal prosecution. Indeed, this indictment was repeatedly rejected only to be brought back by popular demand.
Trump faces serious legal threats in the ongoing Mar-a-Lago investigation. But the New York case would be easily dismissed outside of a jurisdiction like New York, where Bragg can count on highly motivated judges and jurors.
Although it may be politically popular, the case is legally pathetic. Bragg is struggling to twist state laws to effectively prosecute a federal case long ago rejected by the Justice Department against Trump over his supposed payment of “hush money” to former stripper Stormy Daniels. In 2018 (yes, that is how long this theory has been around), I wrote how difficult such a federal case would be under existing election laws. Now, six years later, the same theory may be shoehorned into a state claim.
It is extremely difficult to show that paying money to cover up an embarrassing affair was done for election purposes as opposed to an array of obvious other reasons, from protecting a celebrity’s reputation to preserving a marriage. That was demonstrated by the failed federal prosecution of former presidential candidate John Edwards on a much stronger charge of using campaign funds to cover up an affair.
In this case, Trump reportedly paid Daniels $130,000 in the fall of 2016 to cut off or at least reduce any public scandal [which denies, and she denied in 2018]. The Southern District of New York’s U.S. Attorney’s office had no love lost for Trump, pursuing him and his associates in myriad investigations, but it ultimately rejected a prosecution based on the election law violations. It was not alone: The Federal Election Commission chair also expressed doubts about the theory.
Prosecutors working under Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus Vance Jr., also reportedly rejected the viability of using a New York law to effectively charge a federal offense.
More importantly, Bragg himself previously expressed doubts about the case, effectively shutting it down soon after he took office. The two lead prosecutors, Carey R. Dunne and Mark F. Pomerantz, resigned in protest. Pomerantz launched a very public campaign against Bragg’s decision, including commenting on a still-pending investigation. He made it clear that Trump was guilty in his mind, even though his former office was still undecided and the grand jury investigation was ongoing.
Pomerantz then did something that shocked many of us as highly unprofessional and improper: Over Bragg’s objection that he was undermining any possible prosecution, Pomerantz published a book detailing the case against an individual who was not charged, let alone convicted.
He was, of course, an instant success in the media that have spent years highlighting a dozen different criminal theories that were never charged against Trump. Pomerantz followed the time-tested combination for success — link Trump to any alleged crime and convey absolute certainty of guilt. For cable TV shows, it was like a heroin hit for an audience in a long agonizing withdrawal.
And the campaign worked. Bragg caved, and “America’s Got Trump” apparently will air after all.
However, before 12 jurors can vote, Bragg still has to get beyond a series of glaring problems which could raise serious appellate challenges later.
While we still do not know the specific state charges in the anticipated indictment, the most-discussed would fall under Section 175 for falsifying business records, based on the claim that Trump used legal expenses to conceal the alleged hush-payments that were supposedly used to violate federal election laws. While some legal experts have insisted such concealment is clearly a criminal matter that must be charged, they were conspicuously silent when Hillary Clinton faced a not-dissimilar campaign-finance allegation.
Last year, the Federal Election Commission fined the Clinton campaign for funding the Steele dossier as a legal expense. The campaign had previously denied funding the dossier, which was used to push false Russia collusion claims against Trump in 2016, and it buried the funding in the campaign’s legal budget. Yet, there was no hue and cry for this type of prosecution in Washington or New York.
A Section 175 charge would normally be a misdemeanor. The only way to convert it into a Class E felony requires a showing that the “intent to defraud includes an intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof.” That other crime would appear to be the federal election violations which the Justice Department previously declined to charge.
The linkage to a federal offense is critical for another reason: Bragg’s office ran out of time to prosecute this as a misdemeanor years ago; the statute of limitations is two years. Even if he shows this is a viable felony charge, the longer five-year limitation could be hard to establish.
Of course, none of these legalistic problems will be relevant in the coming frenzy. It will be a case that is nothing if not entertaining, one to which you can bring your popcorn — so long as you leave your principles behind.
Indeed, some will view it as poetic justice for this former reality-TV host to be tried like a televised talent show. However, the damage to the legal system is immense whenever political pressure overwhelms prosecutorial judgment. The criminal justice system can be a terrible weapon when used for political purposes, an all-too-familiar spectacle in countries where political foes can be targeted by the party in power.
…we seem to be on the verge of watching a prosecution by plebiscite in this case. The season opener of “America’s Got Trump” might be a guaranteed hit with its New York audience — but it should be a flop as a prosecution.
This is what the American nation and its political and justice systems, so hopefully established in Philadelphia in 1787, have devolved into. We are one short step away from full totalitarianism.
The remedy does not lie in what Neoconservative Piers Morgan glowingly prescribed after a recent, blatantly soft-ball “interview” with Ron DeSantis on Fox News. To the fulsome applause of Neocon Brian Kilmeade, Morgan pronounced that DeSantis was “very organized…doesn’t like drama, likes things planned out.” In other words, the Florida governor would be the path back to GOP “normalcy”…and Karl Rove and the Bushies back in the White House. As for Trump, Morgan despectively derided him: he “thrives on chaos and drama and unpredictability, and being spontaneous and outrageous.”
Exactly! That’s the very thing that scares the dickens out of the frantic Left and the establishment Republican elites, all part of the Uniparty Deep State globalist swamp. And that is why the traditionalist populist MAGA voters elected Trump 2016: because the only way to stage any kind of counter-revolution against the rot in today’s broken America is to be spontaneous, uncontrolled, occasionally outrageous, and willing to say and do things that your father’s GOP honchos would never say or do.
That brings the filthy swamp denizens out of their fetid lairs and forces them to lower their masks of respectability. And what is revealed are faces of sheer satanic evil. A return to “normalcy” is a course which leads to continued perversion and destruction. Trump sends the Left shrieking in horror and may well provoke a real and final battle for our decaying republic. It may be our last opportunity.
Can we afford another “normal” presidency while Evil grows impregnable?