Trump will be indicted. The GOP should cut him loose (Charlotte Observer editorial)

An interesting editorial by Gene Nichol*, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, called “Trump will be indicted. The GOP should cut him loose now” is a must read. Here are a few paragraphs, with a link to the full piece below.

“The handwriting is now, at the least, on the wall. I know a lot of Tar Heels don’t want to hear this — but Donald Trump is, in the months ahead, going to be indicted. His lawbreaking is so habitual, so overt, so pervasive, so foundational, and so rule-of-law decimating, that it simply won’t be possible for the Department of Justice and law enforcement officials in Georgia and, likely, New York, to ignore it. Perhaps Trump couldn’t help himself. Maybe it’s like his lying — a lifelong, all-consuming practice. He can’t shake it. Or even try. Old dog. Old tricks. He’s the don, not just The Donald.

And when the indictments come, what’s going to happen? Sadly, we know this too. Trump has opened his mind, or at least his mouth. He told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that ‘the people of the United States won’t stand for it.’ Filing charges against him would lead to ‘problems in this country, the likes of which we’ve never seen before.’…

Perhaps you think I overstate the peril. (I get that sometimes.) But do these various folks described above actually think that the other 60% or so of Americans will simply cower in the corner, surrendering their human rights and our nation’s long-declared meaning, because the MAGA coalition may be fueled by hatred and replete with arms? I wouldn’t bet on it.

There’s a lot more courage and commitment out here in the rest of the land than the Trumpists imagine. They make the same mistake Putin made about Ukraine. Democracy has its steel. Even if it’s hard to arouse. Won’t it be easier, even if unnerving, for the Republican Party to turn Trump loose now, than it will be after he again summons the gun thugs?

As the niece of the losing former president said after the 2020 election result was finalized, “her uncle will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.” Yes, his ego is that shallow that he cannot admit defeat. He was told by attorney Roy Cohn, his mentor per his many biographies, “to never apologize and sue everyone.” Doing the math, I calculated that Trump averaged 1 1/2 lawsuits per week during his business career before the 2016 election.

To be frank, telling the truth is not top of mind when thinking to define the losing former president. Nor is playing fair, treating people with dignity and grace, or consistently acting in a legal manner. As Michael Cohen, his attorney and longtime fixer of all his problems, said under oath, “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is a cheat.” It interested me that Cohen had sent out over 500 cease and desist letters to people and institutions threatening them into silence on any known Trump transgression.

Whether he is actually charged beyond the financial fraud civil charges for his company in New York, which the Attorney General refused to settle as she has a good case, remains to be seen. But, in my opinion, he needs to be.

Beyond his untruthfulness and bullying, the losing former president appears to be guilty of the alleged seditious actions against the United States. He appears to be guilty of allegedly taking classified documents, exposing secrets to foreign adversaries (note a Chinese national with cyberware in her possession was arrested at Mar-a-Lago a couple of years ago). And, he may be charged for election tampering in the State of Georgia.

At the barest of minimums, our country is more at odds with itself because we have a former president who is not man enough to admit he lost an election. I am very tired of his sycophants perpetuating this Big Lie. It is noted the wife of SCOTUS member Clarence Thomas testified to the January 6 House Select Committee and still voiced the Big Lie. The House members defined her testimony as “deranged.”

Folks, quite simply, whether Donald Trump can win in 2024 is beside the point. We were dumb enough as a country to elect him in 2016 and we are dumb enough to do it again. But, what we need to understand is he should not serve as president as we should not have a traitor at the helm. Because if a traitor leads us, all bets are off.

*Note: Contributing columnist Gene Nichol is the Boyd Tinsley Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina.

Read more at: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/article266413511.html#storylink=cpy

Truth be told

The following is another letter I forwarded to a few newspapers. Let’s see if one will print it. Please feel free to adapt and use.

As a former Republican and now independent voter, it saddens me that to be a legitimate Republican, one has to endorse untruthful pronouncements by the losing former president and his sycophants. I don’t mind people espousing conservative ideas, but I do expect them to be truthful. Governing is hard enough when using facts, but nigh impossible when making decisions off lies.

Truth be told, I expected this behavior from the former president as that has long been his modus operandi, but what I am frustrated by is his sycophants who perpetuate untruths, even when they know they are lies. The former president lost the election and cannot prove otherwise even after spending a lot of other people’s money to do so. He also instigated an insurrection against Congress putting people in danger. And, that does not include his mishandling of classified information and alleged financial fraud at his company.

We deserve better than those who are purposefully lying to us, regardless of party. Full stop.

Trump Family Fraud Charges

Let’s keep this simple.

The news out of New York regarding the civil fraud case against the Trump family and organization should not be a surprise as these folks have been investigating the Trumps for three years. While this is a civil action with severe financial consequences, the case has also been referred to the US Attorney General for possible criminal action.

For those who cannot believe the Trumps would do such things, they should look at the fraud case he settled before the 2020 election where the former president agreed to repay the Trump Foundation for about $1.6 million Trump used for personal benefit. The Foundation was then terminated and the funds were distributed to charities with no one named Trump allowed to be part of the oversight process. To add insult to injury, the Trump children on the Board of Trustees had to undergo philanthropic training.

So, the current charges are in keeping with previous precedent. It should also be noted the New York Attorney General, Letitia James, stiff-armed forays by the former president to settle the case beforehand. Why? Her team of prosecutors must have a very good case.

There is a reason why classified information needs to be protected

People who claim the taking of confidential and classified documents from the White House by the former president is not a big deal, should be reminded of this story from April, 2019 as reported by the Associated Press under the headline and sub-headline: “Chinese woman arrested at Mar-a-Lago had device to detect hidden cameras – officials say Yujing Zhang ‘lies to everyone she encounters,’ Assistant U.S. Attorney Rolando Garcia told judge during a bond hearing.”

“A Chinese woman recently arrested at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club lied repeatedly to Secret Service agents while carrying computer malware unlike anything a government analyst had ever seen and had more than $8,000 in cash at her hotel room, along with an electronic device that detects hidden cameras, federal authorities told a judge Monday. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rolando Garcia told Magistrate Judge William Matthewman during a bond hearing that ‘there are a lot of questions that remain’ about 32-year-old Yujing Zhang.

He said the FBI is investigating whether Zhang is a spy. Zhang was arrested March 30 after Secret Service agents said she lied to gain admission to the president’s Palm Beach resort and was found to be carrying two Chinese passports, four cellphones, a laptop computer, an external hard drive and a thumb drive containing the malware.”

Now why would she have gone to Mar-a-Lago and not another resort community? I do not care if the former president is a member of the Libertarian, Green, Republican, or Democrat Party or is an independent, we cannot have classified information in the hands of people who do not protect it or honor their oath to the constitution, as the former president has shown time and again.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/chinese-woman-arrested-mar-lago-had-device-detect-hidden-cameras-n992301

Speaker of Arizona’s House speaks up

In an article called “Ousted Republican reflects on Trump, democracy and America: ‘The place has lost its mind’” by Ed Pilkington of The Guardian, long-time Republican Rusty Bowers reflects on his actions that led to his failure to win reelection in the GOP primary. Who is Bowers?

Per the article, “Rusty Bowers was speaker of Arizona’s house of representatives when he stood up to the former president’s demand that he overturn the election result. He paid the price but has no regrets.

Rusty Bowers is headed for the exit. After 18 years as an Arizona lawmaker, the past four as speaker of the state’s house of representatives, he has been unceremoniously shown the door by his own Republican party.

Rusty Bowers shakes hands with Adam Schiff at a January 6 hearing in June.

Last month he lost his bid to stay in the Arizona legislature in a primary contest in which his opponent was endorsed by Donald Trump. The rival, David Farnsworth, made an unusual pitch to voters: the 2020 presidential election had not only been stolen from Trump, he said, it was satanically snatched by the ‘devil himself.’

Bowers was ousted as punishment. The Trump acolytes who over the past two years have gained control of the state’s Republican party wanted revenge for the powerful testimony he gave in June to the January 6 hearings in which he revealed the pressure he was put under to overturn Arizona’s election result.

This is a very Arizonan story. But it is also an American story that carries an ominous warning for the entire nation.

Six hours after the Guardian interviewed Bowers, Liz Cheney was similarly ousted in a primary for her congressional seat in Wyoming. The formerly third most powerful Republican leader in the US Congress had been punished too.

In Bowers’s case, his assailants in the Arizona Republican party wanted to punish him because he had steadfastly refused to do their, and Trump’s, bidding. He had declined to use his power as leader of the house to invoke an ‘arcane Arizonan law’ – whose text has never been found – that would allow the legislature to cast out the will of 3.4 million voters who had handed victory to Joe Biden and switch the outcome unilaterally to Trump.

Bowers has a word for that kind of thinking. ‘The thought that if you don’t do what we like, then we will just get rid of you and march on and do it ourselves – that to me is fascism.‘”

The article goes into more detail about Bowers’ long-time fealty to the Republican party. It also speaks of a man who campaigned for Donald Trump. Yet, per an attorney who worked for years for Trump before the White House, “if you are on Donald Trump’s good side, don’t get used to it.” At some point, you won’t jump high enough or genuflect low enough to suit the would-be-king acting former president.

What saddens me is to be loyal to Donald Trump requires you to believe his deceitful words and actions, even when you know they are not true. I am sure there are fans who still think every word he says is true, but I do believe that is naivete. I think far more go along with the lies because it is easier than being courageous and standing up to the lies. Plus, courage often means you are more alone in your quest, as it is a rare attribute.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/aug/20/rusty-bowers-interview-trump-arizona-republicans

Republican governors call fellow Republicans on the carpet for criticism of FBI

In an article in Newsweek penned by Jason Lemon called “Republican Larry Hogan Rips GOP Lawmakers Calling to ‘Defund’ FBI: ‘Absurd’,” a Republican who is known for more rational thinking has called others on the carpet for their criticism of the FBI. It should be noted that Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas joined in the criticism by the Maryland Governor of fellow Republicans about the FBI. Here are a few paragraphs with the link to the full article below.

“Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, slammed fellow GOP lawmakers on Sunday who have called to ‘defund’ the FBI in the wake of the Monday raid on former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican and staunch Trump loyalist, this past week called for defunding the federal law enforcement agency, and even began selling shirts and hats with the words ‘Defund the FBI’ printed on them. Representative Jeff Duncan, a South Carolina Republican, also floated the idea of abolishing the FBI in a Monday Twitter post. Meanwhile, a number of other GOP lawmakers have attacked the FBI, accusing the agency of corruption and political bias.

The Republican governor said that such calls are ‘dangerous,’ and added that ‘there are threats all over the place,’ warning that ‘losing faith in our federal law enforcement officers and our justice system…is a really serious problem.’…

The FBI, with the approval of Attorney General Merrick Garland, carried out the raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort home, searching for top secret and sensitive compartmentalized information, as well as other classified documents. Trump and his allies have condemned the raid, with the ex-president calling it part of a ‘hoax’ and an ongoing ‘witch hunt’.”

One of the tactics of authoritarian type leaders as the come into power is denounce all institutions as bad and ineffective. The institutions are the problem and I am here to take them apart, the authoritarian says. As Michael Lewis noted in his excellent book “The Fifth Risk,” the deep-state, who has been labeled and ridiculed tends to be made up of hard-working people who not only take their oaths seriously, they “know what they are talking about.”

Mind you, every institution is imperfect and we need to guard against bureaucracy creep. The same goes for laws and regulations – we need to monitor them, improve them when needed and scrap when obsolete. In essence, there is needed oversight.

Over the last six years, we have heard a former president claim on numerous occasions that investigations were “witch hunts” or “hoax.” Just pick a topic and search “Donald Trump and witch hunt” or “Donald Trump and hoax.” He called COVID-19 a “Democratic Hoax” and how many hundreds of thousands died in the next few years? He called a judge sentencing the disbandment of the Trump Foundation ordering the former president to repay the money he took from the foundation for his personal benefit a “hoax.” He still he had to fork over $1.6 million and the Foundation funds were distributed per the by-laws before being terminated.

He said and still says the 2020 election was stolen from him using bogus election fraud claims that he has abysmally been unable to prove after people spent a lot of money on attorneys to do so. He cannot lose that election as many times he has with a court case record of 1 win out of 65 or so cases and no wins in every recount, audit and review.

And, numerous Republicans have testified under oath and at huge risk that the former president had a heavy hand in a seditious act against Congress. Quite simply, the insurrection against Congress would not happen if Donald Trump was not president. When he got to court a financial fraud case last week, he pleaded the 5th which is not usually a sign of innocence.

So, before we walk down a path of calling this FBI raid a hoax, know a couple more things. A judge felt there was enough evidence to issue a warrant. A very well thought of judge by Republicans and Democrats (who should be on the Supreme Court) personally signed off on the raid as Attorney General. I expect Donald Trump to cry foul as his ego cannot allow criticism of any kind. What frustrates me most is his sycophants who go out of their way to support his claims and his fans who for some reason ignore the overt lying and fraud.

Let’s get to the bottom of this. And, for those that are crying foul now, what are you going to say if he is charged with another crime, much less convicted of one? As painful as it will be, our country needs to hold the former president accountable or it will happen again.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/republican-larry-hogan-rips-gop-lawmakers-calling-to-defund-fbi-absurd/ar-AA10Eolm

Let’s get to the bottom of this

The following is a note I tried to post on a Fox News website for one of their opinion personalities regarding the raid on the one of the residences of the former president. For some time now, I feel my comments have been blocked as a persona non grata.

“Let of me get this straight. A judge issues a legal warrant in response to another alleged crime of the former president and the FBI conducts a raid to prevent the targeted information from being destroyed. And, this has been deemed worse than the former president instigating and involving himself in an insurrection against a branch of government based on a bogus claim of election fraud that he has been unable to prove in about 65 court cases (winning one case in PA) and every recount. My strong suggestion as an independent and former Republican is let’s get to the bottom of this before we equate the FBI with the Gestapo or some other poor comparison.”

To be frank, it frustrates me that opinion hosts try to drum up rebellion implying something has to be wrong. From my vantage point, there is one common denominator in these sordid affairs. He looks back from the mirror when Donald J. Trump shaves.

Fox News political analyst Bret Baier adds to Trump criticism

An article in Business Insider by Mia Jankowicz called “Fox News anchor Bret Baier slams Trump, saying January 6 hearings made him look ‘horrific'” adds to the editorials criticizing the former president from conservative publications such as The Wall Street Journal and New York Post, also owned by Rupert Murdoch.

Here are a few paragraphs, with a link to the article below.

“Baier said that the hearings highlighting criticism by former Trump supporters and members of his administration — such as former Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger and former Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Matthews — was especially persuasive.

‘All of these people who have been testifying at one point or another wanted Trump to win,’ Baier said. ‘They served under his leadership. They wanted him to be a success.’

Whether it changes the view of Republican voters is another matter, Baier said.

‘The charges are that it’s just not balanced,’ he said, in reference to the ongoing criticism that the hearings are one-sided. (A congressional committee hearing is supposed to publicize already-established findings, and Republican leaders boycotted involvement in the committee.)*

Baier also called for more information on exactly what Trump said about mobilizing the National Guard in advance of the riot. If Trump had taken such action, Baier said, ‘it kind squelches or downplays the thought that he wanted this insurrection.'”

Unlike the opinion entertainment hosts, such as Hannity, Ingraham, Carlson, et al, that still echo support of the former president, Baier is part of Fox News’ news organization. It should be noted that even Fox News management threw Carlson under the bus in a defamation trial noting what he says should not be considered as news.

People have asked if these criticisms are making a difference? From what I read they are, but those questioning are correct that it is likely not reaching the hardcore MAGA fans. One thing Trump is good at is marketing and people close to him have noted he realizes he is screwed. He should be as the only person who is largely responsible for all of this is the guy looking back at the former president when he shaves.

*Note: Republicans who offer this criticism should note that at least two of the representatives offered up by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy were people of interest in the investigation. They were denied by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, rightfully so. McCarthy then pulled the rest of the nominees. Yet, Pelosi did appoint two Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger who have performed well on the committee.

Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against Fox News allowed to proceed

In a telling article called “Fox News in real trouble for spreading ‘pure bunk’ about Trump’s loss — and OAN could be ‘wiped out’ by lawsuits” by Travis Gettys in Raw Story, a judge has ruled to allow the defamation lawsuit brought forward by Dominion Voting Systems to proceed. Per select paragraphs:

“A judge ruled last month that Dominion Voting Systems could move forward with its lawsuit against Fox Corp., the conservative news network’s parent company, for amplifying bogus claims that it rigged the election for Joe Biden, and Judge Eric Davis made clear the $1.6 billion suit was not frivolous, reported The Guardian.

Dominion has a very strong case against Fox News – and against OAN for that matter,” said Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, a constitutional law professor at Stetson University and a fellow at the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice. ‘The reason Dominion is suing is because Fox and other rightwing news outlets repeated vicious lies that Dominion’s voting machines stole the 2020 election from Trump for Biden. But all of these conspiracy theories about Dominion’s machines were just pure bunk, and Fox as a news organization should have known that and not given this aspect of the big lie a megaphone.

What’s particularly bad for Fox is [that] Dominion asked them to stop and correct the record in real time,’ she added, ‘and Fox persisted in spreading misrepresentations about the voting machine company.’”

The entire story (which can be linked to below) tells of inappropriate contact between the network and the former president who has continued to make unprovable claims of election fraud. He has lost over 65 court cases, winning one small one in PA, and has lost every recount, audit and review of election results. What Fox is learning late in the game is folks that fly to close to the former president usually get burned. The truth matters, especially if you report to be a news agency. This one may come with a hefty price tag, if proven liable.

Murdoch newspaper tells the GOP to move on from the former president

In an article called “Trump ‘refuses to accept reality’: Murdoch newspaper says it’s time for GOP to move on” by Bob Brigham of Raw Story notes Rupert Murdoch’s New York tabloid took the former president to task for his continual focus on these bogus election fraud claims. Here is the gist of the article. Note I won’t repeat the former president’s ongoing BS, as his Attorney General Bill Barr called them to his face before he was fired.

“The newspaper said Trump was wrong (about the January 6 insurrection being a hoax)

‘It wasn’t, of course. It was a national shame. One that neither Democrats nor Trump can stop obsessing over. It’s time for Republicans to move on,’ the newspaper counseled. ‘But Trump has become a prisoner of his own ego. He can’t admit his tweeting and narcissism turned off millions. He won’t stop insisting that 2020 was ‘stolen’ even though he’s offered no proof that it’s true.’

The editorial board wrote the expected 2024 presidential candidate is unfit for the job.

‘Respected officials like former Attorney General Bill Barr call his rants ‘nonsense.’ This isn’t just about Liz Cheney. Mitch McConnell, Betsy DeVos, Mark Meadows — they all knew Trump was delusional. His own daughter and son-in-law testified it was bull,” the NY Post wrote. ‘Meanwhile, reports that Trump was pleased that the Jan. 6 crowd chanted for Vice President Mike Pence to be hanged — a truly reprehensible sentiment — makes him unworthy for the office. Trump can’t look past 2020. Let him remain there.'”

There is really not much to add here. This is a pro-Trump publication telling the former president to just STFU. And, the GOP to move on from these bogus claims.