Absolutely Frank! Like it or not 45 is using all the freedoms available to every citizen accused of a crime. He just has more money for defense.
We don't need to lynch him, his own words convict him. I beleive in due process. The Orange Shitgibbon will be in prison soon enough. Even he's admitted as much.
You didn’t answer my questions, and you put words in my mouth to answer yours.
Do you at least understand how perverted it seems to me, for us to be talking about what the public would think if we jailed Trump, like we would jail anyone else?
Do you at least acknowledge that when we consider who might not approve of jailing Trump, that we are considering something that isn’t a legitimate part of the process?
And that by considering this, we make him separate - unique - above the law?
Can you at least see that?
The request by prosecutors that a judge impose a gag order on former President Donald J. Trump in the federal election-subversion case presents a thorny conflict between the scope of his First Amendment rights and fears that he could — intentionally or not — spur his supporters to violence.
There is little precedent for how the judge overseeing the case, Tanya S. Chutkan, should think about how to weigh strong constitutional protections for political speech against ensuring the functioning of the judicial process and the safety of the people participating in it.
It is one more example of the challenges of seeking to hold to account a norm-shattering former president who is being prosecuted in four cases as he makes another bid for the White House with a message that his opponents have weaponized the criminal justice system against him.
“Everything about these cases is making new law because there are so many gaps in the law,” said Paul F. Rothstein, a Georgetown University law professor and a criminal procedure specialist. “The system is held together by people doing the right thing according to tradition, and Trump doesn’t — he jumps into every gap.”
Citing threats inspired by the federal indictments of Mr. Trump, a recently unsealed motion by the special counsel, Jack Smith, has asked Judge Chutkan to order the former president to cease his near-daily habit of making “disparaging and inflammatory or intimidating” public statements about witnesses, the District of Columbia jury pool, the judge and prosecutors.
A proposed order drafted by Mr. Smith’s team would also bar Mr. Trump and his lawyers from making — or causing surrogates to make — public statements “regarding the identity, testimony or credibility of prospective witnesses.” It would allow Mr. Trump to say he denies the charges but “without further comment.”
Judge Chutkan, of the Federal District Court in Washington, has ordered Mr. Trump’s legal team to file their opposing brief by Monday. A spokesman for Mr. Trump has called the request “blatant election interference” and a cynical attempt to deprive the former president of his First Amendment rights.
Gag orders limiting what trial participants can say outside of court are not uncommon, especially to constrain pretrial publicity in high-profile cases. Courts have held that orders barring participants from certain public comments are constitutional to avoid prejudicing a jury, citing the public interest in the fair and impartial administration of trials.
The context of the gag request for Mr. Trump, though, is different in fundamental ways.
Mr. Smith’s filing nodded to the potential for Mr. Trump’s statements to influence the eventual jury in the case, which is scheduled to go to trial in March. But the request focused primarily on a different concern: that Mr. Trump’s angry and vengeful statements are putting people in danger now.
Four charges for the former president. Former President Donald Trump was charged with four counts in connection with his widespread efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The indictment was filed by the special counsel Jack Smith in Federal District Court in Washington. Here are some key takeaways:
The indictment portrayed an attack on American democracy. Smith framed his case against Trump as one that cuts to a key function of democracy: the peaceful transfer of power. By underscoring this theme, Smith cast his effort as an effort not just to hold Trump accountable but also to defend the very core of democracy.
Trump was placed at the center of the conspiracy charges. Smith put Trump at the heart of three conspiracies that culminated on Jan. 6, 2021, in an attempt to obstruct Congress’s role in ratifying the Electoral College outcome. The special counsel argued that Trump knew that his claims about a stolen election were false, a point that, if proved, could be important to convincing a jury to convict him.
Trump didn’t do it alone. The indictment lists six co-conspirators without naming or indicting them. Based on the descriptions provided, they match the profiles of Trump lawyers and advisers who were willing to argue increasingly outlandish conspiracy and legal theories to keep him in power. It’s unclear whether these co-conspirators will be indicted.
Trump’s political power remains strong. Trump may be on trial in 2024 in three or four separate criminal cases, but so far the indictments appear not to have affected his standing with Republican voters. By a large margin, he remains his party’s front-runner in the presidential primaries.
The motion cited “multiple threats” to Mr. Smith. It noted that another prosecutor, Jay I. Bratt, had been subject to “intimidating communications” after the former president targeted him in “inflammatory public posts,” falsely saying Mr. Bratt had tipped off the White House before Mr. Trump’s indictment in the case accusing him of mishandling classified documents.
And it cited a Texas woman who has been charged with making death threats to Judge Chutkan last month. She left the judge a voice message using a racist slur, court filings show, and said, “You are in our sights — we want to kill you.”
“If Trump doesn’t get elected in 2024, we are coming to kill you, so tread lightly, bitch,” the message also said, adding that “you will be targeted personally, publicly, your family, all of it.”
Prosecutors connected their request to the threats and harassment that election officials and other people carrying out election-related duties experienced after Mr. Trump attacked them in late 2020 as part of his false claims that the election had been stolen.
“The defendant knows that when he publicly attacks individuals and institutions, he inspires others to perpetrate threats and harassment against his targets,” the motion said, adding: “It is clear that the threats are prompted by the defendant’s repeated and relentless posts.”
In that sense, the request for the gag order was as much about so-called stochastic terrorism — the idea that demonizing someone through mass communication increases the chances that a lone wolf will be inspired to attack the target — as it was about more traditional concern of keeping a jury from being influenced by statements outside of court.
The request carries the risk of playing into Mr. Trump’s hands.
The former president and his defense have made clear that they want people to think the case is about whether he had a First Amendment right to say whatever he wanted about the election. Mr. Smith sought to head off that move by acknowledging in the indictment that Mr. Trump had a right to lie to the public and by not charging him with inciting the Capitol riot.
But the request is directly about what Mr. Trump is allowed to say. Moreover, it has given him more fodder to portray the case as intended to undercut his campaign — and, if he is under a gag order and loses again in 2024, to once again tell his supporters that the election was rigged.
“They want to see if they can silence me. So the media — the fake news — will ask me a question. ‘I’m sorry, I won’t be able to answer’ — how do you think we’d do in that election?” Mr. Trump said at a summit of religious conservatives. “So we are going to have a little bit of a fun with that, I think. That’s a tough one. Can you imagine?”
Implicit in the ways he could “have a little bit of a fun” is the question of how Judge Chutkan could enforce any such order if Mr. Trump skirted its edges or even boldly defied its limits. It would be one thing to impose a fine, but if he refused to pay it or to tone down his statements, a next step for a judge in a normal case would be to order imprisonment.
Any such step in this case would be legally and politically explosive.
At a hearing last month, Judge Chutkan vowed to “take whatever measures are necessary to protect the integrity of these proceedings” and warned lawyers for Mr. Trump that “even arguably ambiguous statements from parties or their counsel, if they could reasonably be interpreted to intimidate witnesses or to prejudice potential jurors, can threaten the process.”
The judge also suggested that she could speed up the trial date in response to inflammatory statements.
Most cases about gag orders affecting criminal defendants have focused on limits imposed on what their lawyers can say — in part because defense lawyers typically insist their clients say nothing in public. That is one of many ways Mr. Trump operates from a different playbook.
In a 1991 case, the Supreme Court upheld barring defense lawyers from making comments outside court that are likely to prejudice a jury, citing “the state’s interest in fair trials.”
But the Supreme Court also suggested that greater speech restrictions might be permissible on lawyers because they are officers of the court. It has never addressed what standard a gag order on a defendant must meet. A handful of appeals courts have addressed gag orders imposed on defendants and set different standards.
Margaret C. Tarkington, a law professor at Indiana University, Indianapolis, and a specialist in lawyers’ free-speech rights, predicted that any gag order would be more likely to survive on appeal if Judge Chutkan barred Mr. Trump only from attacking witnesses and jurors. The First Amendment provides particularly strong protections for criticism of government officials, she noted.
Still, Professor Tarkington acknowledged that a gag order that still permitted demonizing the judge and prosecutors would not address much of the concern that prosecutors are raising. She also said past gag-order cases offered few guideposts because Mr. Trump is such a unique figure: His megaphone and its potential impact on his more extreme supporters — as demonstrated by the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021 — puts him in a different realm.
“It’s a really hard argument in normal circumstances to say the government, who is prosecuting someone, can shut them up from defending themselves in public,” Professor Tarkington said. “What makes this backward from everything else is that normally, in every criminal prosecution I can think of, the power imbalance is that the state has all the power and the defendant has none. But in this case, you have a defendant who has very significant power.”
In their motion, prosecutors also cited an appeals court ruling in 2000 that involved a rare example of a defendant who challenged a gag order. A judge had prevented all trial participants from making statements outside the court “intended to influence public opinion” about the case’s merits, and the defendant, an elected insurance commissioner in Louisiana named Jim Brown, wanted to be exempted. But the appeals court upheld it.
The motion said the Brown precedent showed that the reasoning of the 1991 Supreme Court case upholding gag orders on defense lawyers “applies equally” to defendants. But prosecutors did not mention that the gag order was lifted for about two months to avoid interfering with Mr. Brown’s re-election campaign and reimposed only after the election was over.
“Brown was able to answer, without hindrance, the charges of his opponents regarding his indictment throughout the race,” the appeals court noted, adding, “The urgency of a campaign, which may well require that a candidate, for the benefit of the electorate as well as himself, have absolute freedom to discuss his qualifications, has passed.”
Do you honestly think that putting him in jail, despite the fact that he is far and away the favorite candidate of a significant segment of the American people...would be seen favorably by the American people...
...and by the people of the other countries of the world?
ProPublica has published yet another piece about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s connections to wealthy donors. Joshua Kaplan, Justin Elliott, and Alex Mierjeski reported that Thomas attended at least two donor summits hosted by the Koch family, acting as a fundraising draw for the Koch network, but did not disclose the flights he accepted, which should have been considered gifts, or the hospitality associated with the trips. His appearances were coordinated with the help of Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society, who has been behind the court’s rightward swing.
The Koch family network funds a wide range of right-wing political causes. It has had interests in a number of cases before the Supreme Court during Thomas’s term, including an upcoming challenge to the government’s ability to regulate businesses—a principle the Koch enterprises oppose.
Republicans have been defending Thomas’s behavior since these stories began to surface.
Also in the corruption file today is Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who, along with his wife, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in New York on three counts of conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion in connection with using his influence to advance the interests of Egypt.
This is Menendez’s second legal go-round: in 2015 he was indicted on unrelated charges of bribery, trading political help for expensive plane flights and luxury vacations. Ten of the twelve members of the jury did not agree with the other two that he was guilty and after the hung jury meant a mistrial, the Department of Justice declined to retry the case.
That the DOJ has indicted Menendez again on new charges undercuts Republicans’ insistence that the department has been weaponized to operate against them alone. And while Menendez insists he will fight the charges, he has lost his position at the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under the rules of the Democratic Conference, and New Jersey Democratic leaders have already called on him to resign.
“So a Democratic Senator is indicted on serious charges, and no Democrats attacking the Justice Department, no Democrats attacking the prosecutors, no Democrats calling for an investigation of the prosecution, and no Democrats calling to defund the Justice Department,” wrote former Republican representative from Illinois and now anti-Trump activist Joe Walsh.
Frank Apisa wrote:
Do you honestly think that putting him in jail, despite the fact that he is far and away the favorite candidate of a significant segment of the American people...would be seen favorably by the American people...
...and by the people of the other countries of the world?
The only people outside of US who give a **** about Trump are fascists like Putin.
Locking him up would help to restore America's reputation which Trump wiped his arse on throughout his term in office.
..they need to make a concerted, public, public, immediate call for Menendez’ resignation.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy called on Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez to resign following his indictment on federal bribery charges Friday, joining a growing chorus of fellow Democrats calling for the senator to step aside.
Murphy called the allegations contained in the indictment "deeply disturbing" and said they "implicate national security and the integrity of our criminal justice system."
"Under our legal system, Senator Menendez and the other defendants have not been found guilty and will have the ability to present evidence disputing these charges, and we must respect the process," Murphy said in a statement. "However, the alleged facts are so serious that they compromise the ability of Senator Menendez to effectively represent the people of our state. Therefore, I am calling for his immediate resignation.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the nation’s highest-ranking military officer and the principal military advisor to the president, secretary of defense, and national security council. The current chairman, Army General Mark Milley, has served in the military for 44 years, deploying in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Panama, Haiti, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Somalia, and the Republic of Korea. He holds a degree in political science from Princeton University, a master’s degree in international relations from Columbia University, and a master’s degree from the U.S. Naval War College in national security and strategic studies.
Former president Trump chose Milley for that position, but on Friday night, Trump posted an attack on Milley, calling him “a Woke train wreck” and accusing him of betraying the nation when, days before the 2020 election, he reassured his Chinese counterpart that the U.S. was not going to attack China in the last days of the Trump administration, as Chinese leaders feared.
Trump was reacting to a September 21 piece by Jeffrey Goldberg about Milley in The Atlantic, which portrays Milley as an important check on an erratic, uninformed, and dangerous president while also warning that “in the American system, it is the voters, the courts, and Congress that are meant to serve as checks on a president’s behavior, not the generals.”
Trump posted that Milley “was actually dealing with China to give them a heads up on the thinking of the President of the United States. This was an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH! A war between China and the United States could have been the result of this treasonous act. To be continued!!!”
In fact, the calls were hardly rogue incidents. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, another Trump appointee, endorsed Milley’s October call, and Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, who replaced Esper when Trump fired him just after the election, gave permission for a similar call Milley made in January 2021. At least ten officials from the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department were on the calls.
Trump is suggesting that in acting within his role and through proper channels, our highest ranking military officer has committed treason and that such treason in the past would have warranted death, with the inherent suggestion that we should return to such a standard. It seems much of the country has become accustomed to Trump’s outbursts, but this threat should not pass without notice, not least because Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) echoed it today in his taxpayer-funded newsletter.
In the letter, Gosar refers to Milley as “the homosexual-promoting-BLM-activist Chairman of the military joint chiefs,” a “deviant” who “was coordinating with Nancy Pelosi to hurt President Trump, and treasonously working behind Trump’s back. In a better society,” he wrote, “quislings like the strange sodomy-promoting General Milley would be hung. He had one boss: President Trump, and instead he was secretly meeting with Pelosi and coordinating with her to hurt Trump.”
Trump chose Milley to chair the Joint Chiefs but turned on him when Milley insisted the military was loyal to the Constitution rather than to any man. Milley had been dragged into participating in Trump’s march across Lafayette Square on June 1, 2020, to threaten Black Lives Matter protesters, although Milley peeled off when he recognized what was happening and later said he thought they were going to review National Guard troops.
The day after the debacle, Milley wrote a message to the joint force reminding every member that they swore an oath to the Constitution. “This document is founded on the essential principle that all men and women are born free and equal, and should be treated with respect and dignity. It also gives Americans the right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly…. As members of the Joint Force—comprised of all races, colors, and creeds—you embody the ideals of our Constitution.”
“We all committed our lives to the idea that is America,” he wrote by hand on the memo. “We will stay true to that oath and the American people.”
Milley’s appearance with Trump as they crossed Lafayette Square drew widespread condemnation from former military leaders, and in the days afterward, Milley spoke to them personally, as well as to congressional leaders, to apologize. Milley also apologized publicly. “I should not have been there,” he said to graduates at National Defense University’s commencement. “My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics.” Milley went on to defend the Black Lives Matter protesters Trump was targeting, and to say that the military must address the systematic racism that has kept people of color from the top ranks.
Milley’s defense of the U.S. military, 43% of whom are people of color, drew not just Trump’s fury, but also that of the right wing. Then–Fox News Channel personality Tucker Carlson made a special effort to undermine the man he said was “not just a pig, he’s stupid!” “The Pentagon is now the Yale faculty lounge, but with cruise missiles. That should concern you,” he told his audience. As Carlson berated the military for being “woke,” his followers began to turn against the military they had previously championed.
Trump has made it clear he intends to weaponize the government against those he perceives to be his enemies, removing those who refuse to do his bidding and replacing them with loyalists. Ominously, according to Goldberg, another area over which Trump and Milley clashed was the military’s tradition of refusing to participate in acts that are clearly immoral or illegal. Trump overrode MIlley’s advice not to intervene in the cases of three men charged with war crimes, later telling his supporters, “I stuck up for three great warriors against the deep state.”
Goldberg points out that in a second Trump administration packed with loyalists, there will be few guardrails, and he notes that Milley has told friends that if Trump is reelected, “[h]e’ll start throwing people in jail, and I’d be on the top of the list.”
But Milley told Goldberg he does not expect Trump to be reelected. “I have confidence in the American people,” he said. “The United States of America is an extraordinarily resilient country, agile and flexible, and the inherent goodness of the American people is there.” Last week, he told ABC’s Martha Raddatz that he is “confident that the United States and the democracy in this country will prevail and the rule of law will prevail…. These institutions are built to be strong, resilient and to adapt to the times, and I'm 100% confident we'll be fine."
Milley’s statement reflects the increasingly powerful reassertion of democratic values over the past several years. In general, the country seems to be moving beyond former president Trump, who remains locked in his ancient grievances and simmering with fear about his legal troubles—Adam Rawnsley and Asawin Suebsaeng of Rolling Stone recently reported he has been asking confidants about what sort of prison might be in his future—and what he has to say seems so formulaic at this point that it usually doesn’t seem worth repeating. Indeed, much of his frantic posting seems calculated to attract headlines with shock value.
But, for all that, Trump is the current frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. He has suggested that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s senior military advisor, has committed treason and that such a crime is associated with execution, and one of his loyalists in government has echoed him.
And yet, in the face of this attack on one of our key national security institutions, an attack that other nations will certainly notice, Republican leaders remain silent.
Donald Trump said Comcast, the owner of NBC and MSNBC, “should be investigated for its ‘Country Threatening Treason’” and promising to do so should he be re-elected president next year.
In response, one progressive group said the former US president and current overwhelming frontrunner in the Republican 2024 presidential nomination race had “gone full fascist”.
The US media was “almost all dishonest and corrupt” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform on Sunday, “but Comcast, with its one-side and vicious coverage by NBC News, and in particular MSNBC … should be investigated for its ‘Country Threatening Treason’.”
Listing familiar complaints about coverage of his presidency – during which he regularly threatened NBC, MSNBC and Comcast – Trump added: “I say up front, openly, and proudly, that when I win the presidency of the United States, they and others of the lamestream media will be thoroughly scrutinised for their knowingly dishonest and corrupt coverage of people, things, and events.”
Trump also used familiar terms of abuse for the press, “the enemy of the people” and “the fake news media”.
Observers reacted to Trump’s threat to NBC, MSNBC and Comcast with a mixture of familiarity and alarm.
Paul Farhi, media reporter for the Washington Post, pointed to Trump’s symbiotic relationship with outlets he professes to hate, given that only last week Trump was “the featured interview guest last week on Meet the Press, the signature Sunday morning news programme on … NBC”.
Others noted that on Monday night, the former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, a key witness for the House committee that investigated the January 6 attack on Congress, which Trump incited, was due to be interviewed on MSNBC.
“Female political or media antagonists really cause blood to come pouring out of Trump’s eyes,” wrote Howard Fineman, a columnist and commentator.
Sounding a louder alarm, Occupy Democrats, a progressive advocacy group, said Trump had gone “full fascist” with an “unhinged Sunday-night rant”.
“There you have it, folks,” it said. “While Trump and his Republican enablers love to falsely accuse Democrats of ‘weaponising’ the government against Trump, Trump himself is now openly threaten[ing] to weaponise the presidency to completely remove entire news channels from the airwaves simply because they expose his rampant criminality.”
Juliette Kayyem, a Kennedy School professor and CNN national security analyst, pointed to a previous warning: “To view each of Trump’s calls to violence in isolation – ‘he attacked Milley’ or ‘he attacked NBC’ or ‘he attacked the jury, the prosecutor, the judge’ – is to miss his overall plan to ‘introduce violence as a natural extension of our democratic disagreement’.”
Trump’s rantings were also coupled with threats to Gen Mark Milley, the chair of the joint chiefs of staff whose attempts to cope with Trump were detailed in an Atlantic profile last week.
They come after a Washington Post poll gave Trump a 10-point lead over Joe Biden, who beat him in 2020, in a notional 2024 general election match-up.
The Post said the poll was an “outlier” but Trump dominates the Republican nomination race and generally polls close to Biden despite facing 91 criminal charges – for election subversion, retention of classified information and hush money payments – and civil threats including a defamation trial arising from an allegation of rape a judge said was “substantially true”.
Another new poll, from NBC, showed Trump and Biden tied at 46% but Trump up 39%-36% if a third-party candidate was added. A “person familiar with White House discussions” about the prospect of a candidacy from No Labels, a centrist group, said it was “concerning”, NBC said. Biden, the report added, was “worried”.
The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity (PEIC or PACEI), also called the Voter Fraud Commission, was a Presidential Commission established by Donald Trump that ran from May 11, 2017, to January 3, 2018. The Trump administration said the commission would review claims of voter fraud, improper registration, and voter suppression. The establishment of the commission followed Trump's false claim that millions of illegal immigrants had voted in the 2016 presidential election, costing him the popular vote. Vice President Mike Pence was chosen as chair of the commission and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was its vice chair and day-to-day administrator. ... On January 3, 2018, Trump abruptly disbanded the commission; he repeated his baseless claims of election fraud and cited many states' refusal to turn over information as well as the pending lawsuits. The commission found no evidence of voter fraud.
At least eight lawsuits were filed challenging the commission, alleging that its activities violated the law. Five of the plaintiffs in the different lawsuits were non-profit organizations that included: the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU v. Trump and Pence and Joyner v. Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity), the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, NAACP (NAACP v. Trump), Public Citizen, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center. The lawsuits by the first two groups involved the lack of transparency of the commission's meetings, whereas the lawsuits by the last two groups involved the collection by the commission of personal private data. In addition to the lawsuits, complaints have been filed with federal agencies against two of the commission's members.
In November 2017, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, a Democratic member of the commission, said that Kobach was refusing to share working documents and scheduling information with him and the other Democrats on the commission. He filed suit, and in December a federal judge ordered the commission to hand over the documents. Two weeks later, in January 2018, Trump disbanded the commission, and his administration informed Dunlap that it would not obey the court order to provide the documents because the commission no longer existed. On August 3, 2018, Dunlap wrote that the documents available to him did not support claims of widespread voter fraud. He described the investigation as the "most bizarre thing I've ever been a part of....After reading this, I see that it wasn't just a matter of investigating President Trump's claims that three to five million people voted illegally, but the goal of the commission seems to have been to validate those claims.