“In 2016, after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death gave Democrats their first chance in a generation to control the Supreme Court — and with it the federal judiciary — Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell announced that no nominee would receive a confirmation hearing until after that year’s presidential election. He claimed that this newly invented rule against election-year confirmations was necessary to ensure that “the American people have a voice in this momentous decision.”
Yet, after McConnell successfully held this seat open until Trump could fill it, Republicans reversed course when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died fewer than two months before the 2020 election that cast Trump out of office. Republicans didn’t just give Trump nominee Amy Coney Barrett a confirmation hearing, they raced to confirm her just eight days before the election.”
“Any trial of a former head of state would be a difficult endeavor. Anyone elected to the nation’s highest office is likely to have many loyal supporters throughout the country, who will be skeptical of claims that their political leader is actually a criminal. And, in the United States, any former president will have appointed a significant percentage of the federal judiciary.
And again, Trump’s criminal trials will not be heard under the best of circumstances. Trump may try to rally his supporters to commit acts of violence similar to the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Many of Trump’s judges aren’t just unusually conservative, they show little regard for the rule of law. And, in part because the United States has never tried a former president before, Trump’s criminal trials are likely to produce a raft of novel legal questions that can be readily appealed to higher courts — including the hyper-politicized Supreme Court.
On top of all of this, at least one of the former president’s trials will be overseen by Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee who has previously behaved like she is a member of Trump’s legal defense team.
It is far from clear, in other words, that the judiciary enjoys enough public trust that it can endure the political strain Trump’s trials will put on its spine — even assuming that every judge who hears one of Trump’s criminal cases acts in good faith.”
“One reason to worry about what appellate judges, including the justices of the Supreme Court, might think about Trump is that criminal trials involving famous criminal defendants often present unusual legal questions that don’t typically arise in other cases. And Trump isn’t just famous, he’s the first former president ever to be indicted. And he’s a current candidate for the presidency.
These unique facts are likely to produce unprecedented legal questions that will need to be resolved by appellate courts. And that gives the justices an unusual amount of ability to sabotage these prosecutions if they chose to do so.”
“this case “will legally define what a politician is able to do to reverse a defeat.” The outcome of this case could have major implications for the 2024 election and every race that follows: If Trump isn’t held accountable for the actions he took on January 6 and leading up to it, he and others could try to pull the same schemes in the future.
Ultimately, this case has a significant bearing on the future of US democracy.
Number of charges: Four felony counts. They include:
Charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States, which includes plotting to overturn the results of the 2020 election
Conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, including plotting to prevent the 2020 election certification
Obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, which includes actually blocking the certification of the 2020 election results
Conspiracy against rights, which includes a plan to deprive someone of a constitutional right (in this case, that is the ability to vote)”
” Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis accused Trump and several of his associates of a sprawling racketeering conspiracy related to their efforts to overturn Biden’s win in the state. In contrast to the federal election indictment, where Trump is the only one charged so far, here 18 others were also charged for participating in this alleged conspiracy. These include famous names like Rudy Giuliani and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, notorious Trump lawyers like John Eastman and Sidney Powell, and lower-level Georgia players.”
“This case centers on a president’s ability to endanger the country’s national security by taking and mishandling classified documents after leaving office. Documents that Trump kept addressed everything from US nuclear programs to the country’s defense and weapons capabilities to how America could respond in the face of a possible attack. Additionally, the case looks at how Trump obstructed FBI efforts to take back the documents.”
“Based on his private statements to colleagues, we know that former Fox News personality Tucker Carlson did not believe Trump lawyer Sidney Powell’s wild claims about systematic fraud in the 2020 presidential election. “Sidney Powell is lying,” Carlson flatly stated in a November 16, 2020, text message to fellow Fox News host Laura Ingraham that came to light as a result of the defamation lawsuit that Dominion Voting Systems filed against the channel. Ingraham agreed that Powell could not be trusted: “Sidney is a complete nut. No one will work with her. Ditto with Rudy [Giuliani].”
We also know, again thanks to discovery in the Dominion lawsuit, that Carlson had a low opinion of Donald Trump. In a November 10, 2020, text message, he called Trump’s decision not to attend Biden’s inauguration “hard to believe,” “so destructive,” and “disgusting.” He was more broadly critical in a January 4, 2021, text message to his staff. “There isn’t really an upside to Trump,” he said, describing “the last four years” as “a disaster.” Carlson was eager for a change: “We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can’t wait. I hate him passionately.” The day after the January 6 Capitol riot by Trump supporters, Carlson privately called him “a demonic force” and “a destroyer.”
Carlson, who launched a new show on Twitter after Fox News fired him in April, was singing a different tune.. t the Turning Point Action Conference in West Palm Beach, Florida. “Why were they so mad?” he said during a giddy, meandering 44-minute speech at the pro-Trump gathering, referring to the Capitol rioters. “Why do they take the bus from Tennessee to go jump up and down in front of the Capitol?” The answer, he said, is that they were frustrated by the patronizing, dismissive response to their legitimate concerns about how the presidential election had been conducted.
Carlson suggested it was laughably implausible that Joe Biden had received “81 million votes”—”15 million more than Barack Obama,” which “seems like a lot”—especially “considering [that] he didn’t campaign and he can’t talk.” But instead of taking that reaction seriously, Carlson said, the political and journalistic establishment told Trump’s supporters to “settle down,” saying, “We have the source code in the voting machine software, and we’ve looked at it, and it’s totally on the level. We’ve double-checked. We wouldn’t let an electronic voting [company] hide their software from us.”
The unfounded claim that deliberately corrupted Dominion software enabled Biden to steal the election, of course, was the central issue in the company’s lawsuit against Fox, which the parties settled for a jaw-dropping $788 million shortly before Carlson got the boot. It was also the claim that Carlson privately dismissed as dangerous nonsense. “It’s unbelievably offensive to me,” he told Ingraham. “Our viewers are good people and they believe it.”
“Carlson, who was transparently craving the adulation of the Trump supporters in West Palm Beach, is reinforcing their conviction that Biden could have won the election only through a vast criminal conspiracy that Carlson publicly called unsubstantiated and privately called a lie. He apparently has swallowed any disgust he once felt at Powell et al.’s deception of “good people.””
“Two theories may explain why the biggest shift in Trump’s favorability rating happened after Trump was charged with mishandling of classified material. For one, it is the only crime (so far) that was not known before this year. The Wall Street Journal reported on the hush money payments way back in 2018, and the events surrounding efforts to overturn the 2020 election played out mostly in public, with lots of the evidence presented in the Justice Department’s indictment initially reported by U.S. media outlets and documented in a report from the House of Representatives last year. And while there was some reporting on Trump’s legal efforts to hold onto classified material, including wall-to-wall coverage of a 2022 raid on Mar-a-Lago conducted as part of the investigation, the unsealing of Trump’s indictment for maintaining classified documents after he left the White House represented the first time the breadth of the prosecution’s allegations became clear.
That case also deals with matters of national security, which are important both to the average American and average Republican.”
“Trump’s indictments for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, meanwhile, could have additional political costs, particularly if he wins the Republican nomination. GOP primary voters might not care about allegations of interference, but general election voters are another story: Two studies of election results in the 2022 midterms found that the Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives who received endorsements from Trump or voiced support for his election denialism performed worse than Republican House candidates who did not. In a CBS/YouGov poll conducted Aug. 2-4, a majority of adults said the indictments against Trump were “upholding the rule of law” (57 percent) and an effort to “defend democracy” (52 percent), although more than half also said the indictments and investigations were trying to stop the Trump campaign (59 percent).
And of course, these are just the indictments. Potential fallout from the trials for each series of charges (which could start as soon as January) could be even more significant. Not only will the public see an actual prosecution, Trump will also be forced to divert focus from running for president to appear in court — which could distract from his campaign.”
“Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel this week announced criminal charges against 16 Republicans who presented themselves as the state’s electors after the 2020 presidential election. Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Norman Eisen and New York University law professor Ryan Goodman responded with a New York Times essay headlined “Trump’s Conspirators Are Facing the Music, Finally.” As Eisen and Goodman see it, the Michigan defendants participated in a criminal conspiracy to overturn Joe Biden’s victory by posing as the state’s true electors.
The defendants, of course, do not accept that narrative. As they see it, their conduct was a legitimate way of preserving objections to a contested election, grounded in historical precedent and the advice they received from Donald Trump’s lawyers. The “contingent” Trump electors in Georgia, who have been informed that they are targets of a similar investigation by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, make the same basic argument. Press coverage of these investigations, which routinely describes the targets as “fake” or “bogus” electors, tends to dismiss that argument out of hand. But it is worth a closer look, because it is central to the question of whether prosecutors can prove that would-be electors who followed the Trump campaign’s advice acted with criminal intent.”
“French adds that “the case is no slam dunk.” But “if a prosecutor believes—as Smith appears to—that he can prove Trump knew his claims were false and then engineered a series of schemes to cajole, coerce, deceive and defraud in order to preserve his place in the White House, it would be a travesty of justice not to file charges,” he writes.”