Thursday, October 28

Lock it up! Why is repeat offender Donald Trump still a free man? | Simon Tisdall


TO the sudden fall from power is always difficult. King Alfred was reduced to hiding in a Somerset swamp. A distraught Napoleon spoke to the coffee plantations in Santa Helena. Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was prowling the haberdashery department at Jolly’s in Bath. Idi Amin from Uganda planned a bloody revenge from a Novotel in Jeddah. Only Alfred the Great returned successfully.

All of which brings us to Donald Trump, currently in exile at his posh club in Bedminster, NJ. Groaning amid the manicured greens and bunkers of his exclusive golf course, the defeated president remembers an aging Bonnie Prince Charlie, a kind of “king on water” with aquatic elements. As deposed leaders throughout history, he becomes obsessed with a return to power.

Yet as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell moves to do away with a 9/11 style National comission To investigate the January 6 uprising on Capitol Hill, the pressing question is not whether Trump can maintain a cultic dominance over Republicans, or even whether he will run again in 2024. The question that should most concern Americans who care for democracy is: why not? Is Trump in jail?

The fact that he is not, and that he has not been accused of anything, is a real enigma: some might say a scandal, even a conspiracy. Trump’s actual and potential criminal record sheet is long before the Capitol siege. Includes alleged abuses of power, obstruction of justice, fraud, tax evasion, laundering of Russian money, manipulation of elections, conflicts of interest, secret money bribes, murder and many lies.

Let’s take these accusations one by one. Investigators from the District of Columbia say they have indicted 410 people for the rape of the Capitol. Some could be tried for conspiring to overthrow the United States government, a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison, or even murder, given that five people were killed.

However, Trump, who urged his supporters at a rally in Washington that day to “fight like hell” to prevent Congress from certifying their electoral defeat, is not among them. It has not even been questioned about its indisputably fundamental role.

Of course, Trump was indicted, but he refused to appear before Congress, and the Republican toads scoffed at the process and voted to acquit him of inciting the insurrection. In March, DC attorney Michael Sherwin said federal investigations involving Trump they are still going. “Perhaps the president is guilty,” he reflected. But, inexplicably, updates are lacking on this key aspect of the matter.

Letitia James, attorney general of New York, last week confirmed a criminal investigation in alleged wrongdoing by Trump’s business empire. This investigation is being conducted in conjunction with another criminal investigation into the Trump Organization by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. Alleged false accounting and tax irregularities appear to be the main focus.

However, these long-term investigations lack tangible results. They also do not appear to be examining potentially more politically illuminating allegations, such as Trump’s dealings with Vladimir Putin and Russia’s oligarchs, money laundering through the New York real estate market, and the past role of Deutsche Bank dishonored. While claiming that the whole thing is a “witch hunt,” Trump can be happy that these limited investigations drag on indefinitely.

Why, in the meantime, has Trump not already been indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and abuse of power? Exactly two years ago, special counsel Robert Mueller cited 10 cases in which the then-president allegedly obstructed investigations into collusion between the Trump 2016 campaign and Russia. They included his firing of FBI Director James Comey and an attempt to fire Mueller himself.

Mueller clearly indicated that there was a case to answer, but said he could not press charges. “A president cannot be charged with a federal crime while in office,” he said. Even if that is legally correct, Trump is no longer in office. Merrick Garland, thankfully less Uriah Heep-ish successor to William Barr as attorney general, should be in on all of this. Why isn’t it?

Trump’s well-attested attempts to induce Georgia state officials to manipulate the November election count in his favor were a crime. Fulton County prosecutors suggest. If so, why the delay? Charge it! Add to the background sheet allegations that the former president corruptly funneled US and foreign taxpayer funds into his hotel and resort businesses.

“Special interest groups probably spent more than $ 13 million on Trump properties” to gain access and influence, reports Citizens for Accountability and Ethics in Washington, an independent watchdog. This typified an administration “marked by self-interest, profiting at the highest levels, and more than 3,700 conflicts of interest”.

In short, Trump, who promised to “drain the swamp,” waddled to his knees in squalor. So investigate and accuse him!

Trump also has a lot to answer for internationally. The UN says the murder it ordered last year, without just cause, of an Iranian general, Qassem Suleimani, it was an illegal act – possibly a war crime. And if all of that isn’t enough, consider, from a moral, if not legal, standpoint, the thousands of preventable deaths from Covid-19 attributable to Trump’s denial, stupidity, and reckless incompetence.

It’s truly weird that in a land of law, Trump still walks free, strutting on his fancy pants golf course, holding $ 250,000 a head to raise money, evading justice, encouraging sedition, and Daily Blogging Bile Divisive About a stolen election The Great Kahuna sells the Big Lie. What other country worth its salt would allow it?

The daunting answer may be that locking him up, the fate he desired for Hillary Clinton, would be to risk another insurrection. That’s the last thing Joe Biden and America’s shaky democracy need. But letting him get away with it also hurts democracy. In office, Trump ruled out of anarchy and fear. In exile, fear keeps him out of the reach of the law.


www.theguardian.com

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