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Old 8th October 2019, 08:44 AM   #201
Meadmaker
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Originally Posted by WilliamSeger View Post
I think you're going to have a hard time convincing me that the country's best interests are served by protecting the political interests of a president who is completely unfit for office. But it's Trump's intent that would be an issue, so first, can you please give me some reason to believe that Trump doesn't put himself above all else?
I would have a hard time convincing you the sky is blue if you thought it might be a ploy to let Trump off the hook.

Narcissists don't know they are narcissists. In Trump's mind, getting himself reelected is the most important thing for the country.
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Old 8th October 2019, 08:47 AM   #202
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The way I see it, there's a list of reasons for a President to do Hypothetical X. As long as any of the reasons on that list are legitimately within the responsibility of the President, it is almost impossible to make a legal case that he should be tried for Corrupt Reason Y. Absent an explicit confession to Reason Y, I don't really see how it could be done.
Seems fairly straightforward.
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Old 8th October 2019, 08:47 AM   #203
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
....

Narcissists don't know they are narcissists. In Trump's mind, getting himself reelected is the most important thing for the country.
agreed.
But how can this in any way, shape, or form be something that can exonerate Trump?
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Old 8th October 2019, 08:52 AM   #204
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
That's certainly consistent with your other statements.


Anyone else care to offer an opinion?
Sure. If the investigation involves the mayor in any way, then yes, the mayor has committed obstruction of justice.
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Old 8th October 2019, 08:52 AM   #205
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Originally Posted by WilliamSeger View Post
I think you're going to have a hard time convincing me that the country's best interests are served by protecting the political interests of a president who is completely unfit for office. But it's Trump's intent that would be an issue, so first, can you please give me some reason to believe that Trump doesn't put himself above all else?
Looking at it from that perspective does shed some light on tweets like these from Trump:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/...67055226052609

Quote:
How do you impeach a President who has created the greatest Economy in the history of our Country, entirely rebuilt our Military into the most powerful it has ever been, Cut Record Taxes & Regulations, fixed the VA & gotten Choice for our Vets (after 45 years), & so much more?...
It's like he really believes he made the country better, and so that alone means there can't be any justification for impeachment, because anything he does is de facto good for America.

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Old 8th October 2019, 08:56 AM   #206
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
In Trump's mind, getting himself reelected is the most important thing for the country.
Do you think that's a valid legal defense?
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Old 8th October 2019, 08:57 AM   #207
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
Seems fairly straightforward.
I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying it seems straightforward to bring a corruption indictment to trial, absent clear evidence distinguishing legitimate reasons for acting from illegitimate reasons for acting?
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Old 8th October 2019, 09:00 AM   #208
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
Do you think that's a valid legal defense?
I don't think we can start looking at the validity of legal defenses until someone makes an attempt at a valid legal argument to defend against. (Note that the Mueller report explicitly does *not* attempt to make a valid legal argument for obstruction, since that would be directly at odds with the "can't indict a sitting president" policy.)
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Old 8th October 2019, 09:03 AM   #209
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I don't think we can start looking at the validity of legal defenses until someone makes an attempt at a valid legal argument to defend against. (Note that the Mueller report explicitly does *not* attempt to make a valid legal argument for obstruction, since that would be directly at odds with the "can't indict a sitting president" policy.)
Defend against this, for starters:

https://medium.com/@dojalumni/statem...s-8ab7691c2aa1

Those are, in fact, the charges which led us down this rabbit hole of Barr's "no obstruction" arguments predicated upon Trump's psychology, as summarized here:
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...&postcount=196

Originally Posted by meadmaker
Originally Posted by WilliamSeger
Yeah, Barr pretty much sums up the attitude we're seeing from congressional Republicans and Trump apologists here: There's nothing corrupt about a Republican president using his powers to protect himself since it's really in the best interests of the country to do so.
That's an interesting spin but, essentially, yes.


Some exceptions apply.
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Old 8th October 2019, 09:06 AM   #210
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The way I see it, there's a list of reasons for a President to do Hypothetical X. As long as any of the reasons on that list are legitimately within the responsibility of the President, it is almost impossible to make a legal case that he should be tried for Corrupt Reason Y. Absent an explicit confession to Reason Y, I don't really see how it could be done.

And yet juries are required to make that kind of decision about a defendant's motives and credibility every day, and I don't think the rule is that any excuse will do.
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Old 8th October 2019, 09:20 AM   #211
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
Looking at it from that perspective does shed some light on tweets like these from Trump:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/...67055226052609



It's like he really believes he made the country better, and so that alone means there can't be any justification for impeachment, because anything he does is de facto good for America.


Exactly. The "defense" is that a man who so clearly believes that anything good for the himself is good for the USA, and visa versa, sincerely thought he was faithfully executing his duties by obstructing justice. That's pretty much the equivalent of an insanity plea.
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Old 8th October 2019, 09:23 AM   #212
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Originally Posted by WilliamSeger View Post
Exactly. The "defense" is that a man who so clearly believes that anything good for the himself is good for the USA, and visa versa, sincerely thought he was faithfully executing his duties by obstructing justice. That's pretty much the equivalent of an insanity plea.
Yep.
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Old 8th October 2019, 09:36 AM   #213
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
Do you think that's a valid legal defense?
If his lawyers use the same language I did he needs better lawyers, but yes.
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Old 8th October 2019, 09:39 AM   #214
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
If his lawyers use the same language I did he needs better lawyers, but yes.
In authoritarian countries like Russia, the presidents sometimes have domestic political rivals murdered, and I'm sure they (the authoritarian presidents) can justify it in their minds as "for the good of the country".

I'm sure they really believe that.

Would murder of domestic political opponents also be covered in the US under your defense?
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Old 8th October 2019, 09:39 AM   #215
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying it seems straightforward to bring a corruption indictment to trial, absent clear evidence distinguishing legitimate reasons for acting from illegitimate reasons for acting?
No. I'm saying your statement was straightforward. If there's a no corrupt reason for something, it would be hard to prove a corrupt motive.
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Old 8th October 2019, 09:41 AM   #216
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
In authoritarian countries like Russia, the presidents sometimes have domestic political rivals murdered, and I'm sure they (the authoritarian presidents) can justify it in their minds as "for the good of the country".

I'm sure they really believe that.

Would murder of domestic political opponents also be covered in the US under your defense?
The statute that outlaws murder doesn't include the word "corruptly".
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Old 8th October 2019, 09:46 AM   #217
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Originally Posted by WilliamSeger View Post
And yet juries are required to make that kind of decision about a defendant's motives and credibility every day, and I don't think the rule is that any excuse will do.
I'm not sure that's true. I bet in a lot of cases, the evidence for motive is clear, and the jury is asked to render a verdict based not on what possible motives are speculated, but on what actual motives are demonstrated by the prosecution as they present their evidence and make their case.

And I bet that in a lot of cases, the jury is asked to make a decision where the motive is speculative rather than evidential, and find for the defendant because the prosecution is unable to replace speculation with evidence.

And I even bet that in some cases, the jury is swayed by the speculative arguments of the prosecution, and reach a verdict that is not actually based on evidence.

But that doesn't really concern us here. We're not examining how other juries might behave in other cases that may or may not be similar to our situation. You are in a position to decide for yourself, if you're going to settle for speculative motives, or argue that a specific motive is supported by the actual evidence.
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Old 8th October 2019, 09:50 AM   #218
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
The statute that outlaws murder doesn't include the word "corruptly".
It isn't murder if properly authorized by the President.
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Old 8th October 2019, 09:53 AM   #219
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
It isn't murder if properly authorized by the President.
"Properly"?

True.
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Old 8th October 2019, 09:54 AM   #220
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
The statute that outlaws murder doesn't include the word "corruptly".
What about the president's attempts to obstruct the investigation into the alleged murder?
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Old 8th October 2019, 09:55 AM   #221
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
It isn't murder if properly authorized by the President.
Depends on the legal and moral standard you subscribe to. On the one hand, we generally recognize murder as a subjective legal construct, that varies from community to community. On the other hand, we generally recognize human rights - including the right to life - as having validity independent of whether they're recognized by a specific jurisdiction. Thus we can probably say that Kim Jong Un has never murdered anyone in his life. But we can also probably say that Kim Jong Un is a murdering son of a bitch, no matter what the laws of his country let him get away with.

Strictly as a matter of US law, it literally can't be murder if properly authorized by the President. Unless you mean something wildly other than what I understand, by "properly authorized".

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Old 8th October 2019, 09:59 AM   #222
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm not sure that's true. I bet in a lot of cases, the evidence for motive is clear, and the jury is asked to render a verdict based not on what possible motives are speculated, but on what actual motives are demonstrated by the prosecution as they present their evidence and make their case.

And I bet that in a lot of cases, the jury is asked to make a decision where the motive is speculative rather than evidential, and find for the defendant because the prosecution is unable to replace speculation with evidence.

And I even bet that in some cases, the jury is swayed by the speculative arguments of the prosecution, and reach a verdict that is not actually based on evidence.

But that doesn't really concern us here. We're not examining how other juries might behave in other cases that may or may not be similar to our situation. You are in a position to decide for yourself, if you're going to settle for speculative motives, or argue that a specific motive is supported by the actual evidence.
See, that's why I think the insanity plea might work better than the non-corrupt motive thing.

ETA: ... and we still need that Dodge Ball smiley.
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Old 8th October 2019, 10:05 AM   #223
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Originally Posted by WilliamSeger View Post
See, that's why I think the insanity plea might work better than the non-corrupt motive thing.
I don't understand your reasoning, here.

The non-corrupt motive argument consists of simply pointing out that there's non-corrupt reasons to do it, and that the prosecution has no clear evidence that it was done for any other reasons.

An insanity plea would be a lot more work, to try to get a similar result. It's also kind of a non sequitur, since an insanity plea stipulates to the criminal act in question, but excuses it on grounds of insanity. A non-corrupt motive argument rejects the allegation of a criminal act up front.

Quote:
ETA: ... and we still need that Dodge Ball smiley.
You still haven't told me what you think I'm dodging.

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Old 8th October 2019, 10:06 AM   #224
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
The statute that outlaws murder doesn't include the word "corruptly".
Trump was aware of the fact that his behavior was illegal, and there is no "narcissistic dictator insanity defense" for obstruction of justice.

While Barr, handpicked by Trump to replace Jeff Sessions, whose great sin in Trump's eyes was recusing himself from the investigation, might have felt "non corrupt intent" was displayed, this is a fringe, minority view, as evidence by the 1k+ former prosecutors who say:

Quote:
Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice.
Quote:
The Mueller report describes several acts that satisfy all of the elements for an obstruction charge: conduct that obstructed or attempted to obstruct the truth-finding process, as to which the evidence of corrupt intent and connection to pending proceedings is overwhelming. These include:
· The President’s efforts to fire Mueller and to falsify evidence about that effort;
· The President’s efforts to limit the scope of Mueller’s investigation to exclude his conduct; and
· The President’s efforts to prevent witnesses from cooperating with investigators probing him and his campaign.
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Old 8th October 2019, 10:26 AM   #225
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The non-corrupt motive argument consists of simply pointing out that there's non-corrupt reasons to do it, and that the prosecution has no clear evidence that it was done for any other reasons.
Let's look the the legal definitions of "corruptly" as applicable to obstruction:
https://assets.documentcloud.org/doc...t.pdf#page=222
Quote:
Corruptly.
The word "corruptly" provides the intent element for obstruction of justice and means acting "knowingly and dishonestly" or "with an improper motive." United Slales v. Richardson, 676 F.3d 491 , 508 (5th Cir. 2012); United Slales v. Gordon, 710 F.3d 1124, 1151 (lOth Cir. 2013) (to act corruptly means to "act[] with an improper purpose and to engage in conduct knowingly and dishonestly with the specific intent to subvert, impede or obstruct" the
relevant proceeding) (some quotation marks omitted); see 18 U.S.c. § 1515(b) ("As used in section 1505, the term 'corruptly' means acting with an improper purpose, personally or by influencing another."); see also Arthur Andersen, 544 U.S. at 705-706 (interpreting "corruptly" to mean "wrongful, immoral, depraved, or evil" and holding that acting "knowingly ... corruptly" in 18
U.S.C. § 1512(b) requires "consciousness of wrongdoing"). The requisite showing is made when a person acted with an intent to obtain an " improper advantage for [him ]self or someone else, inconsistent with official duty and the rights of others." BALLENTINE'S LAW DICTIONARV 276 (3d ed. 1969); see Uniled States v. Pasha, 797 F.3d 1122, 1132 (D.C. Cir. 2015); Aguilar, 515 U.S. at 616 (Scalia, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part) (characterizing this definition as the " longstanding and well-accepted meaning" of "corruptly").

There is no "non-corrupt" possible motive in actions like these (from the former prosecutors)


Quote:
Despite being advised by then-White House Counsel Don McGahn that he could face legal jeopardy for doing so, Trump directed McGahn on multiple occasions to fire Mueller or to gin up false conflicts of interest as a pretext for getting rid of the Special Counsel. When these acts began to come into public view, Trump made “repeated efforts to have McGahn deny the story” — going so far as to tell McGahn to write a letter “for our files” falsely denying that Trump had directed Mueller’s termination.
Firing Mueller would have seriously impeded the investigation of the President and his associates — obstruction in its most literal sense. Directing the creation of false government records in order to prevent or discredit truthful testimony is similarly unlawful.
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Old 8th October 2019, 10:28 AM   #226
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
this is a fringe, minority view,
Such confidence.
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Old 8th October 2019, 10:28 AM   #227
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I don't understand your reasoning, here.

The non-corrupt motive argument consists of simply pointing out that there's non-corrupt reasons to do it, and that the prosecution has no clear evidence that it was done for any other reasons.
Presenting that argument might be that simple, but selling it to the jury is a different matter, especially when there is circumstantial evidence of a motive.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
An insanity plea would be a lot more work, to try to get a similar result. It's also kind of a non sequitur, since an insanity plea stipulates to the criminal act in question, but excuses it on grounds of insanity. A non-corrupt motive argument rejects the allegation of a criminal act up front.
Nope, both defenses stipulate that the act in question was committed but deny the statutory requirements for "corrupt intent." And what I'm (only somewhat facetiously) suggesting is that the later would be easier to prove by the evidence. Of course, we've already established your inability to see any such evidence, so no need to rehash that here.


Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
You still haven't told me what you think I'm dodging.

I dunno, maybe a "moving the goal post" smiley would be more appropriate?
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Old 8th October 2019, 10:32 AM   #228
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
Such confidence.
Still waiting, Counselor.
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Old 8th October 2019, 11:11 AM   #229
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Originally Posted by WilliamSeger View Post
Presenting that argument might be that simple, but selling it to the jury is a different matter, especially when there is circumstantial evidence of a motive.



Nope, both defenses stipulate that the act in question was committed but deny the statutory requirements for "corrupt intent." And what I'm (only somewhat facetiously) suggesting is that the later would be easier to prove by the evidence. Of course, we've already established your inability to see any such evidence, so no need to rehash that here.





I dunno, maybe a "moving the goal post" smiley would be more appropriate?
I don't really use smileys, so I'm good without one.

What goal post do you think I'm moving? It's hard to address the gaps you see in my reasoning, if you won't tell me what those gaps are. I'm not trying to dodge or change the questions. I'm trying to address the points raised, as best I can, as they're raised. If you think I'm missing something, please tell me what it is, and I'll try to address it.

---

Note: If I see things differently than you do, and argue accordingly, that's not moving the goalposts. So hopefully it's not something like that, but even if it is, please tell me and I'll try to address it anyway.
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Old 8th October 2019, 11:14 AM   #230
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
While Barr, handpicked by Trump to replace Jeff Sessions, whose great sin in Trump's eyes was recusing himself from the investigation, might have felt "non corrupt intent" was displayed, this is a fringe, minority view, as evidence by the 1k+ former prosecutors who say:
What is the basis for concluding that 1k+ former prosecutors is a significant quantity?
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Old 8th October 2019, 11:17 AM   #231
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Originally Posted by WilliamSeger View Post
Presenting that argument might be that simple, but selling it to the jury is a different matter, especially when there is circumstantial evidence of a motive.
You don't need to sell it to a jury, though. You can just make the best case you can, here in this thread, and let other readers accept it or not as they see fit.



Quote:
Nope, both defenses stipulate that the act in question was committed but deny the statutory requirements for "corrupt intent."
I disagree, but it's a fine distinction.

In the case of an insanity plea, the defendant stipulates that a nominally criminal act was committed, but they should not suffer criminal consequences due to their mental condition.

In the case of a "no corrupt intent" defense, the defense stipulates that no criminal act was committed. Instead, they stipulate that an act was committed, but without criminal intent it was not a criminal act.
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Old 8th October 2019, 03:05 PM   #232
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
In the case of a "no corrupt intent" defense, the defense stipulates that no criminal act was committed. Instead, they stipulate that an act was committed, but without criminal intent it was not a criminal act.
"Corrupt Intent" and "Criminal Intent" are not the same thing.

"Criminal Intent" means that the person acted deliberately to "injure or deprive another"

"Corrupt Intent" means to do something "with the full knowledge that it is illegal."

So if you are aware that something is illegal, and do it anyway, then you have acted with corrupt intent, even if that action doesn't and isn't meant to injure or deprive anyone else.
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Old 8th October 2019, 04:43 PM   #233
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
What is the basis for concluding that 1k+ former prosecutors is a significant quantity?
The defense has presented exactly one arguable expert who disagrees.
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Old 8th October 2019, 05:04 PM   #234
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Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
"Corrupt Intent" and "Criminal Intent" are not the same thing.

"Criminal Intent" means that the person acted deliberately to "injure or deprive another"

"Corrupt Intent" means to do something "with the full knowledge that it is illegal."

So if you are aware that something is illegal, and do it anyway, then you have acted with corrupt intent, even if that action doesn't and isn't meant to injure or deprive anyone else.

And if you refuse to answer any questions about obstruction and give evasive/deceptive written answers to written questions about collusion, that can be taken as circumstantial evidence of corrupt intent. Barr argues that Trump's openness and cooperation with the investigation implies there was no corrupt intent. But the problem with that argument is that it isn't true: Trump didn't give his own testimony, the most important evidence about his intent. You can refuse to incriminate yourself and you can deny that you had any corrupt intent, but claiming both is a tough sell.

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Old 8th October 2019, 05:04 PM   #235
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Robert Reich made a point today that I made before. The House has no choice but to start arresting officials who do not comply with a subpoena. Otherwise the administration will just run out the clock. Jurney v MacCracken 1934 ruled Congress has this right.

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Old 8th October 2019, 05:36 PM   #236
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Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
"Corrupt Intent" and "Criminal Intent" are not the same thing.

"Criminal Intent" means that the person acted deliberately to "injure or deprive another"

"Corrupt Intent" means to do something "with the full knowledge that it is illegal."

So if you are aware that something is illegal, and do it anyway, then you have acted with corrupt intent, even if that action doesn't and isn't meant to injure or deprive anyone else.
Thank you for the correction. I hope my imprecise terminology didn't confuse you too much about my meaning.

Anyway, this analysis seems potentially circular, or at least incoherent. Consider:

10 It's legal for the President to dismiss an FBI Director.

20 Unless it's obstruction.

30 But it's not obstruction unless there's corrupt intent.

40 But it's not corrupt intent unless the President knows it's illegal.

50 GOTO 10

So there must be some nuance or other consideration that I'm missing.
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Old 8th October 2019, 05:45 PM   #237
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Thank you for the correction. I hope my imprecise terminology didn't confuse you too much about my meaning.

Anyway, this analysis seems potentially circular, or at least incoherent. Consider:

10 It's legal for the President to dismiss an FBI Director.

20 Unless it's obstruction.

30 But it's not obstruction unless there's corrupt intent.

40 But it's not corrupt intent unless the President knows it's illegal.

50 GOTO 10

So there must be some nuance or other consideration that I'm missing.
This IS ABSOLUTELY FALSE. Is that the plan Prestige? Make up nonsense, hoping that you're not called on it?
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Old 8th October 2019, 05:45 PM   #238
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Thank you for the correction. I hope my imprecise terminology didn't confuse you too much about my meaning.

Anyway, this analysis seems potentially circular, or at least incoherent. Consider:

10 It's legal for the President to dismiss an FBI Director.

20 Unless it's obstruction.

30 But it's not obstruction unless there's corrupt intent.

40 But it's not corrupt intent unless the President knows it's illegal.

50 GOTO 10

So there must be some nuance or other consideration that I'm missing.
If the reason for firing the FBI director was definitely to obstruct an investigation into YOU, you were CLEARLY operating with intent to obstruct.

I think you're missing it because it's that overt and self-evident.

ETA:
And there is no doubt he was intending to obstruct and was aware of the illegality:

Quote:
Despite being advised by then-White House Counsel Don McGahn that he could face legal jeopardy for doing so, Trump directed McGahn on multiple occasions to fire Mueller or to gin up false conflicts of interest as a pretext for getting rid of the Special Counsel. When these acts began to come into public view, Trump made “repeated efforts to have McGahn deny the story” — going so far as to tell McGahn to write a letter “for our files” falsely denying that Trump had directed Mueller’s termination.
Firing Mueller would have seriously impeded the investigation of the President and his associates — obstruction in its most literal sense.
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Old 8th October 2019, 05:55 PM   #239
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
Originally Posted by Meadmaker
The statute that outlaws murder doesn't include the word "corruptly"
.
What about the president's attempts to obstruct the investigation into the alleged murder?
I would like to request that the defense respond to this question, as well.

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Old 8th October 2019, 06:10 PM   #240
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
It isn't murder if properly authorized by the President.
Whoa there pardner.
Murder is not murder if authorized by the prez? I don't think so.
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