Dahlia Lithwick: 1/6 Hearing Established Requisite Intent For Trump’s Criminal Prosecution

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Slate writer Dahlia Lithwick appeared on MSNBC’s The Beat w/Ari Melber(06/10/22) where she made the most compelling legal case yet, for criminally prosecuting Trump. Lithwick told host Ari Melber that the televised January 6th hearings established the mens rea–the requisite intent for such criminal prosecution. Put another way, DOJ has enough evidence to initiate a criminal prosecution against Trump for his efforts to overturn the 2020 elections because he was told by people he trusts that what he was doing was wrong, potentially criminal, but he proceeded to do it anyway. The only question left is whether AG Merrick Garland wants to criminally prosecute him.

Dahlia Lithwick(1:30):“When[Rep] Liz Cheney said he lit the match, he set the fuse, that is Donald Trump, and it seemed to me the entire organizing theme of last night’s hearing was, this starts at the top…this starts with Trump. And I think it’s almost impossible to look at the videos you just sort of showed in that montage, and not see this animating theme, which is, everyone around Donald Trump told him no. Mark Short, Joint Chiefs, Vice President Pence, his own Attorney General said this is unlawful, you have no basis for this, and he went forward, and so to the extent that there is mens rea–the intent to do something that you know is illegal–we’ve always heard, ‘Oh, Donald Trump can’t form the requisite intent, he didn’t know what was going on, he’s delusional’, well now we know, that’s why Ivanka is important, that the one person he listened to, evidently told him no, and when you have everyone around him telling him no, he can no longer say, ‘I’m not culpable because I didn’t understand what was happening’…”

It cannot be restated enough just how significant, Lithwick’s legal analysis is. The decision by most prosecutors on whether or not to pursue criminal charges against someone, almost always comes down to that Latin phrase–mens rea. If they can show that you knew the conduct you are about to engage in is illegal, and you did it anyway, then that is a case they can secure a conviction for, and you are almost definitely getting prosecuted/charged with a crime. This by the way, is also the reason insane people get off the hook even for serious crimes–prosecutors can’t establish the requisite intent(that the insane person knew what they were doing was wrong). 

Bottom line folks, as Dahlia Lithwick brilliantly laid it out on MSNBC’s The Beat show, after only one public hearing by the January 6th Committee, the mens rea requirements for a potential criminal prosecution of Trump for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results have already been met and surpassed, meaning DOJ can easily secure a conviction against Trump if it chooses to criminally prosecute him. The only question left is whether AG Garland has the fortitude, or desire, to do so. 

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Lawyer Group Wants Ted Cruz Disbarred For His Efforts To Overturn 2020 Elections

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Michael Teter, the Managing Director of a lawyer group called The 65 Project, appeared on MSNBC’s Ayman show(05/28/22) to discuss his group’s efforts to among other things, have Senator Ted Cruz(R-TX) disbared for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. Teter says Senator Cruz, by agreeing to represent Trump and some Pennsylvania lawmakers in their “bogus lawsuits” at the U.S. Supreme Court, “lent the respect and credibility of the legal profession to the cause”, something Teter contends, runs afoul of the legal profession’s rules of professional conduct.


Michael Teter specifically said(video at 2:40):“[Senator]Ted Cruz, like many public officials, sought to overturn the election. He, led the charge in his own words, to do so, but he took an extra step, which is that he agreed to represent Donald Trump, he agreed to represent several Pennsylvania Republicans in their bogus lawsuits before the United States Supreme Court, and when he agreed to take on that representation, he lent his law license, he lent the respect and credibility of the legal profession to the cause, and in doing so, he then is obligated to abide by the rules of professional conduct. He failed to do so, and he should be punished for that.” 

Turns out The 65 Project is also targeting Texas Attorney General and super Trumper Ken Paxton for disbarment. You’ll remember AG Paxton ran to the U.S. Supreme Court asking the high court to overturn the results of the 2020 elections in an effort to bolster Trump’s bogus claims of a rigged election.


Bottom line folks, we have seen hundreds of regular folks being paraded in federal court to be held accountable for their roles in the January 6th insurrection. However, politicians like Ted Cruz and company, who assisted Trump in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, have largely come out unscathed for their highly unpatriotic behavior. It’s therefore very encouraging to see the good folks at The 65 Project trying to exact some accountability from Trump-allied politicos who aided and abetted his insurrection. The ideal punishment would of course be to bar them from any future public office, but we’ll take disbarment for those of them in the legal profession, for now.

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CBS Face The Nation Interview Leaves Viewers Asking “Who’s Lying?”

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Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper appeared on CBS’ Face The Nation (05/15/22) to discuss his new book “A Sacred Oath”, which chronicles his time in the Trump administration. During his interview however, there was an interesting, even awkward exchange about the infamous Lafayette Square incident, that left viewers wondering whether he, or former Attorney General William Barr, or both, were lying to the public about the incident. Specifically, Esper told host Margaret Brennan that former President Trump did indeed request 10,000 active duty troops to deal with the BLM protesters at Lafayette Square even though at his earlier appearance on the same show, with the same host, former AG Barr had called such claims “completely false.”

How can two senior officials of the Trump administration(SecDef & AG), who were both present at a seminal moment in the administration(Lafayette Square protests), end up with a polar opposite recollections of the same event? Who’s lying?

Host Margaret Brennan(video at 3:50): “You(Esper) talk about, and have spoken quite a lot this past week about the events in Lafayette Square, and it’s an important bit of the public record. You were in the Oval Office with the President, and he spoke about a very specific number, 10,000 of active duty troops potentially being sent into the streets of Washington DC. I want to play a clip for you here, because I asked the then Attorney General Bill Barr about exactly that..[plays clip with AG Barr, where he calls such claims ‘completely false’]…”

Margaret Brennan: “Why do you seem to have different recollections?”

Mark Esper: “I don’t know. I wrote about this in my book that Bill Barr and I have different recollections. Of course if you go through my story you’ll understand that the President calls into the Pentagon earlier that morning and talks about 10,000 troops. That’s when I’m first made aware of this request. Look, I don’t know why we have different recollections. I think in all these cases people hear or see different things, but I’m 110% confident of what the President was seeking that morning.”

Reasonable people will agree that these two dramatically different accounts of the same Lafayette Square event cannot both be true. Someone is clearly lying here. Who is it?

Bottom line folks, this new phenomenon of Washington insiders sitting on information of great public interest, only to release them after lucrative book deals, is getting out of control. Both Esper and Barr have written books about their experiences in the Trump administration, and have presumably been rewarded handsomely for the books. The public however is still left hanging on the question as to whether Trump requested active duty troops to deal with the Lafayette Square protests. What public good do these “bombshell” books serve?

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Trump Lashes Out At AG Barr For Not Going After Hunter Biden

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Former President Donald Trump called into Fox News’ Sean Hannity show(04/13/22) where he among other things, lamented the weaponization of law enforcement for political purposes. Trump joked that in the last five years, he has gone through “more investigations than Al Capone, Jesse James and Billy the kid put together.” Yours Truly found this quite interesting because even though weaponization of the criminal justice system for political purposes is a legitimate topic of concern, Trump’s DOJ was brazenly political, especially under Attorney General William Barr. As a matter of fact, Trump admitted to host Sean Hannity that he was frustrated with AG Barr’s refusal to prosecute President Biden’s son Hunter, during the 2020 campaign season.

Trump specifically told Hannity(video at 32:00 onwards): “I’ve gone through in five years, more investigations than Al Capone, Jesse James and Billy the kid put together…They’ve weaponized law enforcement essentially, they’ve weaponized the AGs in the states..and district attorneys…I mean, it’s such a horrible thing that they are doing, and I just don’t think the people of the country are going to take it. but I just, based on past, I think probably nothing will happen[to Hunter Biden]. Look, we also had a chance, but Bill Barr, the Attorney General, didn’t want to be impeached, they[Democrats] were vicious with him…How do you not get impeached? You just sit back and relax and wait out for your term to end, and that’s what he did, and it was a sad thing and a sad day for this country, then he writes his crummy book, which was so false…He was so afraid of being impeached, that he refused to do his job.”

There’s no other way to interpret Trump’s remarks on Hannity other than, he was infuriated by his own AG Bill Barr, for not prosecuting Hunter Biden during the runup to the 2020 presidential elections, a move that Trump knew would give him political advantage over his opponent Joe Biden. This, needless to say, would have been the quintessential weaponization of the criminal justice system. Put another way, Trump is not concerned about the legitimate problem surrounding the weaponization of the criminal justice system, he is just mad that his own AG refused to go along with it when it came to Hunter Biden.

Bottom line folks, as we have seen with many other issues involving former President Trump, projection is always a major theme. As Trump is now complaining about weaponization of the criminal justice system, it must not be left unsaid that his own DOJ was notorious for that. Trump’s remarks also raise serious questions about the Hunter Biden criminal investigation. If Bill Barr was against the investigation while he was AG, why is he now saying on cable TV that Hunter should be investigated?

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Ivanka Grossly Overstated The Value Of Her Apartment In DC Hotel Lease Application

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A bombshell segment on the The Rachel Maddow Show (02/01/22) says that New York’s Attorney General Leticia James is in possession of documents that will show that Ivanka Trump, who was the lead negotiator in the acquisition of the Trump DC Hotel, grossly overstated the value of an apartment she was personally renting, in order to secure the lease and loan for the hotel. Specifically, Ivanka Trump knew her apartment was only valued at $8.5 million, yet proceeded to list it as worth more than $20 million in the lease and loan application for the hotel. This and other examples of outright fraud, presumably now in the hands of AG James, could open up Ivanka and the rest of her family, to criminal fraud charges, even though AG James’ current investigation is civil in nature.

Maddow speculates that fear of AG James’ investigation, may have been the impetus for Trump’s call for riots at his Conroe, Texas rally. Given the numerous media reports of how close he is to his daughter Ivanka, that speculation is not far-fetched at all.

The full Maddow segment is available below.

Maddow said: “This weekend, former President Trump lashed out at prosecutors who appear to have him in their sites in multiple ongoing criminal and civil investigations. He told his supporters that he wants them in the streets in DC, in Georgia, in New York, if these prosecutors act against Trump. Well today we have some new reporting from the Washington Post that provides another window into why an investigation like the one being carried out by the New York Attorney General Leticia James, might be so concerning to the former President, that he is calling for people to take to the streets in case the investigators act. The Post reports that the New York AG’s investigation has subpoenaed records about the Trump Hotel in DC…Leticia James’ investigation is reportedly looking into whether Trump got the lease on that property through fraud, whether the Trump Organization lied about its assets in order to obtain the lease for the property, and the loans they used to pay for it. We know from documents that were filed by Attorney General James last month, that it was Trump’s adult daughter Ivanka Trump, who according to the Attorney General, negotiated the lease for that hotel with the federal government, and negotiated a loan from Deutsche Bank to pay for it. Tish James is arguing that the means by which the Trump Organization described their own financial condition in order to get the lease and the loan, were both fraudulent.”

Maddow added:“Here’s one example. As part of their statement of their assets to try to get the lease and the loan, the Trumps listed the value of apartments that they owned, including one that Ivanka was renting personally at the time. Under her rental agreement, she apparently had the option to buy that apartnent if she wanted to, for the cost of $8.5 million. But in the forms that were submitted to get the loan for the DC Hotel, that very same apartment was listed as being worth more than $20 million, then a few years later, they listed it as being worth $25 million, even though they knew there was an option to buy it for just $8.5[million]. Attorney General James is looking into exactly that type of potentially illegal inflation of the Trump family and Trump organization’s financial situation for a whole bunch of Trump properties…”

One doesn’t need to be a seasoned investigator to spot the level of fraud the Trumps engaged in, in order to acquire properties. Importantly, as Maddow points out, this is just one example. AG James is probably sitting on other slam dunk examples that will further solidify her case against the Trumps.

Bottom line folks, Trump’s recent rally in Texas demonstrated clearly that he is very worried about the ongoing investigations in New York(AG James), Georgia(Fulton County DA), and of course the one related to the January 6th DC insurrection. AG James’ investigation may be a civil(not criminal) probe, but the level of fraud it may expose, could open up the Trumps to potential criminal prosecution. Simply put, Trump should be worried about AG James’ probe.

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Fox News Sunday Host Grills Texas AG Ken Paxton About His Felony Indictments

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At his appearance on Fox News Sunday(11/14/21), Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was confronted with a question about his felony indictments, which his 2022 Republican primary challenger George P. Bush(Jeb’s son) argues, renders Paxton unfit for public office. A-G Paxton’s rattled and incoherent response to host Chris Wallace’s direct question shows that he did not expect such a question from Fox News.

A-G Paxton’s full interview on Fox News Sunday is available here, but the relevant clip is below.

Host Chris Wallace: “You face your own legal problems…You are under indictment on an allegation of securities fraud and you are also the subject of an FBI investigation because some former top officials in your own office accused you of bribery. George P. Bush, the son of Jeb Bush is running against you next year…Here’s what he says:’Our top lawyer needs to be above reproach. There shouldn’t even be a question of one’s character and competence for this important role.’ How big a problem do you think these allegations against you will be in your effort to win reelection?”

AG Paxton: “Look, I’ve been dealing with this kind of fight. When you go out and do the type of things that I’ve done, you are going to be challenged, you are going to have issues like this pop up. This happened 7 years ago, almost 7 years ago, I was reelected when it happened, and I think we’ve done a great job defending the state of Texas. That’s what I’m going to talk about…I’m going to continue doing my job.”

A-G Paxton’s rattled and incoherent response to this valid question basically boils down to (1) his felony indictments are the result of some vast left wing conspiracy, and (2) the fact that he got reelected even with the indictments means he’s innocent–both of which are bogus. In the eyes of the Texas public, it is A-G Paxton who’s the beneficiary of political favors. Simply put, no regular Texan would still be waiting for a criminal trial stemming from 7 year old indictments. Unless and until A-G Paxton’s indictments are resolved, either by being quashed, or by Paxton beating them at trial, he is simply not fit to continue serving as Texas’ top lawyer.

Bottom line folks, there was a time not very long ago, when public officials would swiftly resign if their character had been credibly called into question. Nothing credibly calls one’s character into question more than felony indictments. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton should save the Lone Star State from any further embarrassment by either stepping down now, or scrapping his reelection plans. There are many capable indictment-free Texans who can serve as Attorney General.

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Damning Senate Report Provides Sufficient Grounds For Trump’s Criminal Prosecution In Georgia

A newly released, and damning report by the Senate Judiciary Committee, shows the extent to which former U.S. Attorney General William Barr and other top officials at the Department of Justice(DOJ), abused their positions to further former President Trump’s false claims that the 2020 elections were rigged against him. Crucially, the Senate report shows that Trump and his DOJ allies focused heavily on the state of Georgia. You’ll remember that in early 2021, Fulton County DA Fani Willis launched an investigation into whether Trump’s phone calls to Georgia election officials pressuring them to overturn the Georgia election results, violated Georgia law.

Shortly after the Fulton County DA bombshell, there were media reports that a senior DOJ official, one Jeffrey Clark, went as far as drafting a letter that was supposed to be sent out to the Georgia legislature saying that the election results were under investigation, a move that would have given pro-Trump Georgia legislators an excuse not to certify the state’s election results. Even though Clark’s letter never went out, it’s mere presence raised a lot of questions as to whether DOJ resources were being abused to further Trump’s lies about election fraud.

Reasonable people will agree that this newly released, damning Senate Judiciary Committee report, bolsters the case for Trump’s criminal prosecution by the Fulton County DA’s office. You don’t have to take Yours Truly’s word for it, listen to what the esteemed Senator from Rhode Island said on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show.

Sen Whitehouse told Maddow: “I think there are three really key takeaways from this[Senate report]. First, is a very simple, one and that is how deeply, personally involved President Trump was in all of this–meetings, and phone calls, and contacts, Oval Office –he was neck deep in this personally. So that would be point one. Point two would be how much of the scheme focused on Georgia. The letter was about Georgia, the schemes to maneuver U.S. Attorney [B.J.]Pak out of Georgia were up his sleeve about Georgia, and it supplements whatever investigative materials the Fulton County DA, DA Willis, is pulling together to look at Trump’s effort to subvert the election in Georgia. So it ties together into what could be a very interesting case in the Fulton County DA’s office…”

There’s no other way any reasonable person could interpret Senator Whitehouse’s statements on The Rachel Maddow Show other than, the combination of Trump’s phone calls to Georgia election officials, plus the damning Senate Judiciary Committee report showing Trump’s effort to use the DOJ to overturn the state’s election results, provide enough legal justification for a criminal prosecution by the Fulton County DA’s office. The only reason Sen Whitehouse stopped short of saying so explicitly on Maddow’s show, is because there are constraints as to what he can discuss publicly about this issue, given his role as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Bottom line folks, Trump’s harassing phone calls to Georgia election officials, plus his efforts to use the DOJ to overturn Georgia’s election results, provide more than enough legal justification for his criminal prosecution by the Fulton County DA’s office. The only question left is whether DA Fani Willis will for the first time, make Trump face consequences for his misdeeds.

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Top DOJ Official Drafted Letter Bolstering Trump’s Election Fraud Claims

Jeffrey Clark, Former Acting Head Of DOJ’s Civil Division Under President Trump

A shocking report on MSNBC’s Ali Velshi show(08/15/2021) says that Jeffrey Clark, the former head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division, drafted a letter that he intended to send to the Republican-led Georgia legislature, which would have bolstered Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election results in Georgia were somehow fraudulent, thereby laying the groundwork for Trump to overturn the state’s results. If this reporting holds up, it will be one of Trump’s most egregious abuses of the Department of Justice, and grounds for an immediate investigation into Jeffrey Clark’s entire tenure at the department.

Host Velshi said:“The ex-President[Trump] was particularly obsessed with trying to overturn Biden’s victory in Georgia, and he managed to find someone who would help him do that. Enter Jeffrey Clark..He’s the former acting head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division…Clark’s scheme involved plans to send letters to the Republican-led Georgia legislature, claiming that the Justice Department was investigating possible voter fraud in Georgia. This was a lie, but Clark drafted those letters in a way that would have made them seem legitimate, with a Department of Justice letterhead up on the top…That letter would have laid the groundwork for Republicans in the state of Georgia to essentially invalidate as many votes as they wanted to, in order to overturn the will of the Georgia’s voters, and falsely declare the ex-President the winner.”

The letter would have read like this.

Velshi added that the reason Clark’s letter was never sent to the Georgia legislature, is that a few people at DOJ refused to go along with his potentially criminal scheme, and that then Acting AG Jeffrey Rosen, and his number two Richard Donoghue, also refused to sign off on Clark’s scheme.

Bottom line folks, Americans are increasingly getting impatient with U.S. Attorney General Garland’s seeming reluctance to go after crooks, both at DOJ and other federal agencies, who were complicit in Trump’s demonstrable corruption. As host Velshi correctly put it, “currently there are no legislative or legal guardrails in place that would prevent a scheme like Clark’s to be launched again in the future, which is why he and the other of the ex-President’s enablers must be held to account.” Americans turned out in record numbers, and stood in long lines at the polls, with the hope that a Biden administration would deal with the crooks who abused their government positions to aid and abet Trump. It is high time the Biden administration, and especially Garland’s DOJ, meet the voters halfway.

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Is Barr’s DOJ Targeting Sen Burr To Thwart His TrumpRussia Collusion Findings?

Senator Richard Burr(R-NC) and U.S. Attorney General William Barr (right)

On Thursday’s edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show (TRMS), host Maddow advanced a provocative theory as to the real reason Attorney General Barr’s Department of Justice (DOJ) may be going after senate intelligence committee chairman Richard Burr(R-NC) for possible covid-19 insider trading. According to Maddow, DOJ and by extension AG Barr’s pursuit of senator Burr may have very little to do with the serious covid-19 insider trading allegations, and more to do with the fact that senator Burr was getting ready to release the final installment of his committee’s findings on whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.

Host Rachel Maddow said, “As bad as the insider trading allegations are against Senator Burr, we also simultaneously have to worry whether the U.S. justice department under Attorney General William Barr might be targeting Senator Burr for reasons that are less about insider trading and more about convenience to the Trump administration. Sen Burr you will recall, has led the only functional bipartisan congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. His committee’s findings have supported the intelligence community’s conclusions that for example, Russia interfered in the 2016 election to support Donald Trump’s candidacy. That is something President Trump continues to deny as recently as an interview that aired this morning. More to the point though, Senator Burr’s committee is set to release it’s final report on the Russia issue in the coming months and that last installment we are expecting is on ‘possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.’ That’s what Burr is working on right now, but he’s had to step down as chair of the committee.”

As Maddow correctly points out, given AG Barr’s demonstrable pattern of acting as president Trump’s personal defense attorney, it is not entirely implausible for one to conclude that the AG’s pursuit of senator Burr is also about defending Trump from a potentially damning senate intelligence committee finding that the Trump campaign did indeed collude with Russia in 2016. Maddow also correctly points out that an investigation into a sitting U.S. senator, especially one who chairs the powerful senate intelligence committee, must have been approved at the very highest levels of DOJ meaning AG Barr’s footprints are all over this.

Bottom line folks, AG Barr has so tarnished DOJ’s reputation that even when it undertakes a valid high profile criminal prosecution like senator Burr’s, the general perception among members of the public is that it must have something to do with helping president Trump politically. The very same thing happened during Jeffrey Epstein’s high profile criminal prosecution. I will say again what I have repeatedly stated before and that is, the only way DOJ can cure its tarnished reputation is for career officials within the DOJ to pressure AG Barr to step aside. Because it is highly unlikely that Trump will ever push aside his trusted defender, the onus is on career DOJ officers to begin demanding that AG Barr step down for the good of the department. Simply put, continued silence by career DOJ officials regarding AG Barr’s conduct at this juncture is tantamount to complicity.

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