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A Very Good Day

I could say that yesterday was a great day, but of course we’ve still got the midterms, and Russia threatening to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, and the hurricanes on Puerto Rico. and migrants being flown and dumped as “a big joke against the liberals.” Things never get all fixed. But in things related to Trump, it was quite good.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a civil case against Trump, his three oldest children, and the Trump Organization, for fraud in the calculated inflating and deflating of the value of his assets, to defraud the IRS, banks and other institutions, and the general public. The suit will seek to shut down the company in New York, make it impossible for them to obtain any loans in New York. and additionally seeks $250 million in damages.

She also suggested the possibility of some body filing a criminal case against them. though she pointedly did not refer to the Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg, who has refused to file any criminal case, though he once again says that “the investigation is ongoing,” perhaps like O.J. Simpson’s “search for the real killers.”

Trump responded in very typical Hitlerian fashion, by calling James a racist who is allowing crime to flourish in New York City, and who is very unpopular and incompetent. This is his stock in trade, he never defends the accusations, he turns them into a rallying cry for his forces to destroy the person who is criticizing him, investigating him, or suing him.

What will be the result of this lawsuit is of course uncertain. The State of New York would need to convince a jury that Trump’s obvious misstatements of value were deliberate, and intended to defraud. It seems obvious to me.

Trump pleaded the Fifth Amendment 400 times in his deposition, and his son Eric pleaded it 500 times. Trump said in 2016, regarding Hillary Clinton staff who were brought before a Congressional Committee, and took the Fifth because they knew that if they said one thing the Committee didn’t like, or got one date or former address wrong, they would be charged with perjury, that “only the Mob takes the Fifth.”

There is immense evidence that Trump had been egregiously lying about his financial assets for his whole adult life; getting loans, and probably helping Russia launder money, while doing favors for him which he has been obliged to repay ever since. As to why Deutsche Bank continued to loan him money, that is a story in itself, but while one could ask why other banks in the past did not do more diligence in assessing property values, that doesn’t get him off the hook for lying about them. And there is undoubtedly a dark story about corruption from many quarters; the very rich helping each other, with the costs ultimately being paid by the non-rich.

Trump may hate AG James, but she is relentless, and the highly regarded investigative reporter David Farenthold praised the depth of her research in this matter. And some respected people suggest that this ultimately will mean the end of the Trump Organization. We will see, but I would not dispute that, even with all the history of Trump getting away with everything.

And then we just had a three-judge panel from the Eleventh Circuit Appeals Court, finding in a per curiam opinion, that various rulings by District Court Judge Cannon were wrong, and not supported by fact or logic. The essence of the opinion is that The DOJ can look at the hundred or so documents with classified markings that they found on Trump’s property, and continue their investigations. The Special Master does not need to deal with that issue, the Appeals Court decided it.

The only recourse Trump would have is to appeal to the Supreme Court, where he would very likely lose, even with those Justices, because Cannon’s rulings were disgraceful, she made up law as she went along. and somehow was contending that DOJ had the burden of proving the material was classified, even though Trump never actually claimed in filings that it was not classified, nor did he bring up any evidence to show that he declassified any of the documents. Plus, the panel held that the markings were a red herring, because it is the contents which are important, and Trump had no legal right to them. Of course, an appeal to the Supreme Court would buy Trump more time, so he could well do it.

This led to the inevitable moment of high, or low, comedy, where Trump said to Sean Hannity that he could declassify documents just by thinking about it. Yes, he said that. This is so megalomaniacally delusional, that it doesn’t even seem worth it to ask if he could then reclassify them five minutes later, in his version of “Red Light, Green Light,” or whether President Biden could do the same thing, or maybe did it five minutes after taking office? One does blanch even thinking about how this person became President. If he somehow does again, he will become Tyrant Emperor, executing people with a wave of his hand, or a thought.

The main thing, for now, is that DOJ can look at these documents, and try to somehow staunch the damage which Trump has done. And if DOJ does undertake a full investigation, as they seemed to be trying to do, Trump is going to be found guilty of various things. Some say that DOJ will let him escape if he accepts a bar from ever running again, but that would not at all be sufficient in my mind. This needs to be delved into in all its depths, even though there are things which DOJ would keep from the public.

When Trump has no other recourse, as with the redlining of rental applications made by Black people on property he owned, or with the fraud that was Trump University, he settles, or accepts a fine. He cannot get away with this again. He stole Classified and Top Secret documents from the government, kept them at his home, refused to give them back, lied about what he still had. And then course the darker questions as to why he took them, what he did with the information in them, what he was planning to do with any of the rest of it. Judge Cannon gave him a few weeks delay time, now hopefully the investigation can continue.

As with everything related to Trump, the result will not be known for perhaps a long time, and there is no assurance that justice will be done. But big steps were taken toward that end yesterday. And that is enough to make it a very good day, at least in that context.

6 Responses

  1. Yesterday was a very good day for our democracy. The legal system did not fail us. The question now is will Trump ask the Supreme Court to intervene in the matter? I suspect he will (emergency relief!). I hope William is correct in his assessment that Trump will very likely lose on that appeal. Still, delay, delay, delay. One of Trump’s favorite legal tactics.

    • It seems that Judge Cannon has now removed the part of her original order which dealt with classified documents. This is like Trump deleting tweets, so that they ostensibly never existed. She obviously does not want the indignity of being overruled, but she may not have the power to change her order, because the 11th Circuit had jurisdiction, not she. It probably would make it more difficult to appeal to the Supreme Court, though, since a key part of the original order was essentially deleted now. This is boggling, make law up as you go along. Maybe the 11th Circuit will decide to overrule the entire Order.

  2. More news from yesterday: Ginni Thomas has agreed to an interview with the House Jan. 6th Committee.

    Still waiting for Pence. Will he or won’t he?

  3. On the other hand, there’s speculation that Matt Gaetz may avoid prosecution, because (as Woody Allen and Roman Polanski discovered before him) child-raping is apparently okay if you’re rich enough or connected enough.

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