I’m a person who believes in playing by the rules, especially when it comes to the government of the United States. I know it isn’t perfect, but for 243 years it has stood the test. I believe it’s the most democratic form though not the most efficient. I believe its institutions deliver the fairest, most even-handed justice, though not always to everyone. I believe in one-man one-vote, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to bear arms (limited), separation of church and state, equal protection of the laws, due process of law, and three independent branches of government. I do not believe anyone, including the president of the United States is above the law or beyond its reach.
It’s very difficult to write anything original about Donald Trump. He’s a crass, venal, petty, corrupt, sexist, racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, ignorant, inarticulate, sexual predator and unfit for the office he holds. Have I left anything out? I have…he is the sole or principal owner and titular head of the Trump Organization, an extensive criminal enterprise comprised of 500+ business entities.
For the past two years America has been waiting for Robert S. Mueller, Special Counsel to the Department of Justice, to complete his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. His primary charge – to determine whether any crimes were committed by the Trump presidential campaign in collaboration with the Russian government and its surrogates.
The report, delivered on April 18, 2019, concluded that although there was significant evidence of Russian interference designed to promote Donald Trump’s candidacy, there was insufficient evidence to establish a criminal conspiracy involving the Trump campaign and the Russian government. That conclusion, rather than clearing the air, caused interested parties to crank up their fog machines and deliver their own conclusions “based-on” the report’s findings. Attorney General William Barr issued a 4-page summary clearing the president of any wrong doing despite the fact that Mueller came to no such conclusion. Mr. Trump declared himself “totally and completely exonerated” by the report, a claim that moved more than 1000 former US Attorneys to sign a letter stating that but for a Justice Department policy against indicting a sitting president he would be found guilty of obstruction of justice and sent to prison.
Very unsatisfying all around. Trump wanted to be cleared of all misdeeds. Republicans wanted to declare “case closed,” and Democrats wanted to see Trump shackled in an orange jumpsuit.
Trump’s impeachment is on everyone’s tongue. Nancy says “I’d rather see him in prison,” but AOC and the progressives are restless and want to draft a Bill of Impeachment now. It does have an ironic turn-about-is-fair-play note to hear Sean Hannity declare that “Lock him up” would turn the US into little more than a banana republic. Sean…under Trump that’s exactly what we are now.
I agree with Donny Deutsch, the branding expert and former friend of the president’s; congressional Democrats have their knickers twisted over impeachment but the real play is the criminality of the Trump Organization writ large. Unless he stabs Nancy Pelosi in the White House’s Oval Office, impeachment is likely to die in the Republican Senate.
I have no doubt that he is going to be found guilty of assorted crimes sometime. There are so many to choose from – money laundering, bank fraud, serial sexual predation, campaign finance violations, bribery, extortion, Mafia collusion, violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, 501C(3) charity violations… and obstruction of justice. Take your pick. My guess is 15–30 years for the financial crimes, 5-10 for obstruction of justice. Served consecutively not concurrently, it would all be over for The Donald—just like Bernie Madoff.
If the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel policy stands, we may have to wait until he is out of office to see him indicted, but current Congressional investigations can lay the groundwork for later prosecution. Democrats are determined to rid the government of Trump and his cronies, but Trump’s vulnerability is much larger than his personal misdeeds. Congress should focus on the Trump Organization, that network of 500+ business entities of which he is the sole or principle owner.
In a wild spending spree between 2005 and 2015 Donald Trump paid hundreds of millions in cash for golf courses in Scotland and Ireland, overseas hotels, and houses in Florida etc. He was broke at the time and reputable banks wouldn’t loan him a cent. Suddenly he was flush with cash from the wealth management arm of Deutsche Bank. We know DB was laundering Russian money at the time. It paid a $10 billion fine for just that in 2017 and further fines and charges are pending.
In addition to other state and federal prosecutions, the Department of Justice should consider charging the Trump Organization and its principles, including Ivanka, Don Jr., and Eric with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as RICO, a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. For decades, in addition to its own crimes, the Trump Organization has been operating in partnership with Mafia groups, corrupt union bosses, and overseas criminal enterprises to build its empire.
Let’s finally put Donald Trump and the Trump Organization on the pointy end of a RICO investigation and prosecution. If we have to play by the rules, so should they. Let’s level the playing field and even the score.
Pictures courtesy of CNN and PinHead@PiercedSkull