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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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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