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Old 1st October 2019, 08:56 PM   #1
Meadmaker
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The ISF Trial of Donald J. Trump

Hear ye! Hear ye! Here opens the case of Lots of People on the Internet vs. Donald Trump. No judge presiding, except the mod squad to keep things from going too far off the rails.

Ok. I don't know if this is going to work, or even whether the mods will allow it. What I want this thread to be is a discussion of strictly the legal issues that surround Donald Trump. Has he committed crimes for which he could, as a private citizen, be prosecuted and convicted? Has he committed high crimes and misdemeanors for which he could be impeached and convicted.

I put this in Trials and Errors because I want it to focus only on the legal issues, and not just become another "Trump Sucks" thread. If we can keep to that, this thread will be different from several others focusing on Trump and/or impeachment. If not, there's no point to it and the mods should shut it down.

So, please, stick to that narrow focus. Try to avoid discussion of whether Donald Trump is stupid, or insane, or senile. He could be all of those, but they aren't the topic. Try to avoid discussions of whether it is politically wise to pursue impeachment, indictment, or any other legal remedy. Try to be aware that no matter how bad a policy is, whether it be racist, or stupid, or likely to cause a war, or cruel, or many other things that are said about Trump and his policies, none of those things matter in this thread unless they are also criminal.

ETA: My original was way too long. Let me make a much more concise summary now.

I don't believe he has committed either an ordinary crime for which he could be prosecuted, or a "high crime and misdemeanor" which ought to result in Senate conviction in an impeachment trial. Try to convince me I'm wrong.

I will preview my arguments by saying that I don't think the examples given in the Mueller Report could ever be used to gain a conviction on Obstruction of Justice. Specifically, the usual problem would be in establishing "corrupt intent".

I have a lot more to say about this subject, and if you read the OP in the few minutes between the time I posted it and the time I wrote this edit, you've seen some of it. For the rest of you, I spared you the wall of text, but I'll explain my reasoning if this thread works the way I want it to.

"The way I want it to" means no discussion about whether Trump is stupid, dangerous, insane, or senile. No discussion about whether he or his policies suck. No discussion about the political expedience of pursuing or not pursuing impeachment. I want a narrow focus on the strictly legal issues. Otherwise, it's just another Trump thread.

Last edited by Meadmaker; 1st October 2019 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 1st October 2019, 09:33 PM   #2
The Great Zaganza
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Before I even start:

DOJ Memoranda: in or out?
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Old 1st October 2019, 09:57 PM   #3
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Before you get any further, I vote guilty.
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Old 1st October 2019, 09:59 PM   #4
The Great Zaganza
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Originally Posted by Matthew Best View Post
Before you get any further, I vote guilty.
I guess there is an argument to be made that any future jury pool will be tainted ...
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Old 1st October 2019, 10:03 PM   #5
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With the years of overwhelming evidence, do we need a trial?

OK fine, who here has any evidence whatsoever that this guy is not born from the scum of the earth?
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Old 1st October 2019, 10:25 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Matthew Best View Post
Before you get any further, I vote guilty.
Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
With the years of overwhelming evidence, do we need a trial?
It didn't take long for it to be revealed that this is a kangaroo court run by bush lawyers with angry pitchfork wielding mobs for a jury.
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Old 1st October 2019, 11:05 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
It didn't take long for it to be revealed that this is a kangaroo court run by bush lawyers with angry pitchfork wielding mobs for a jury.
The best pitchforks mind you and the biggest mobs for the best deserving president. No one has ever had pitchforks as good or mobs as big.
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Old 1st October 2019, 11:11 PM   #8
The Great Zaganza
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something noncontroversial:

Trump is named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the crimes of Michael Cohen, who was sentenced for Tax fraud, Bank fraud and Campaign Finance Violations.
We have Trump on tape as well as Trump's signatures on documents proving his role in the conspiracy.
Cohen got three years after being at least partially cooperating.
Getting a conviction will be easy.
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Old 1st October 2019, 11:13 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
It didn't take long for it to be revealed that this is a kangaroo court run by bush lawyers with angry pitchfork wielding mobs for a jury.
This isn't how kangaroo courts work!

Wait, no, that's wrong. This is exactly how kangaroo courts work.
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Old 1st October 2019, 11:24 PM   #10
The Great Zaganza
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The Donald J.Trump Foundation under the leader- and ownership of Donald Trump and his children, committed many many cases of tax fraud, poor governance, campaign finance violations and obvious cases of bribery.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald...ump_Foundation
It is still being dissolved in a civil lawsuit, but criminal investigation is ongoing.
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Old 1st October 2019, 11:27 PM   #11
The Great Zaganza
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Through his speeches and tweets, Trump has committed Witness Intimidation dozens of times.
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Old 1st October 2019, 11:28 PM   #12
The Great Zaganza
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Mueller has documented many cases of Obstruction of Justice committed by Trump.
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Old 2nd October 2019, 03:33 AM   #13
Meadmaker
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Before I even start:

DOJ Memoranda: in or out?
In. (I'm not sure what you are referring to, but it sounds like something that ought to be in. If it's a crime, it's in.)
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Old 2nd October 2019, 03:54 AM   #14
The Great Zaganza
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
In. (I'm not sure what you are referring to, but it sounds like something that ought to be in. If it's a crime, it's in.)
What I mean is: do the Rules that White House lawyers believe apply, indeed apply?
Because according to them, a President can neither be indicted nor investigated. He can't be criminally sued in any court, federal or otherwise.
And according to Barr, there can't be anything corrupt about any action the President would normally be allowed to perform. And there can't be any Obstruction by the President if there isn't proof of any underlying crime.

Since none of these rules would survive (or indeed have survived) an actual court ruling, I think we should ignore them.

Do you agree?

Last edited by The Great Zaganza; 2nd October 2019 at 03:55 AM.
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Old 2nd October 2019, 04:10 AM   #15
Meadmaker
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This is off to a fascinating, if predictable, beginning. I thank The Great Zaganza for some specificity. I'll address some of what he said. (Eventually, I'll get to it all, but for now, there are time constraints.)

Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
something noncontroversial:

Trump is named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the crimes of Michael Cohen, who was sentenced for Tax fraud, Bank fraud and Campaign Finance Violations.
We have Trump on tape as well as Trump's signatures on documents proving his role in the conspiracy.
Cohen got three years after being at least partially cooperating.
Getting a conviction will be easy.
Alas, your opening description is not correct. There is quite a lot of controversy there. Then, the next statement of fact is also not correct. Trump was not named as an unindicted co-conspirator. Technically, he wasn't named at all. He was "individual 1". However, we all know who he was. The important thing is that he was not cited as a co-conspirator.

An awful lot of people at the time Cohen pleaded guilty felt that what had happened was that Cohen had committed some crimes, and then people offered him a plea deal in which he would plead guilty to something that wasn't a crime in order to avoid prosecution for things that were. The plea deal itself, it was alleged, was cooked up as a way to go after Trump without actually needing to prove anything in court.

So, the mere fact that Cohen pleaded guilty to something does not actually prove that Trump is guilty of anything. That case will have to be made separately.

This brings up something else, though. I should hasten to revise and clarify my statement from the OP. I said "I don't believe he has committed either an ordinary crime...." What I meant was that, to this point, there is insufficient evidence for a conviction on any crime, either as an ordinary crime or in the Senate for impeachable offenses. I strongly suspect he has indeed broken the law, but I don't think there's anything there that you could make a case out of without further revelations.
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Old 2nd October 2019, 04:17 AM   #16
Meadmaker
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
What I mean is: do the Rules that White House lawyers believe apply, indeed apply?
Because according to them, a President can neither be indicted nor investigated. He can't be criminally sued in any court, federal or otherwise.
And according to Barr, there can't be anything corrupt about any action the President would normally be allowed to perform. And there can't be any Obstruction by the President if there isn't proof of any underlying crime.

Since none of these rules would survive (or indeed have survived) an actual court ruling, I think we should ignore them.

Do you agree?
A president can certainly be investigated. I would be surprised if anyone said otherwise. Whether he can be indicted need not concern us here, because I'm including in the scope of the thread crimes for which he could be prosecuted after he leaves office. If he doesn't even need to leave office to be prosecuted, that's fine. He certainly doesn't need to leave office for this "ISF trial", so it's all on the table.

As for Barr's statements, I'm not sure you got them completely correct. However, it's not all that important. The president can certainly be guilty of crimes that involve his official use of power, and obstruction of justice can be a crime even if there is no other crime. However, I will say that we'll get back to that one, I'm certain. It's a whole lot easier for obstruction of justice to be a crime if there is indeed another crime.
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Old 2nd October 2019, 04:26 AM   #17
The Great Zaganza
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Meadmaker, you are making a seriously fallacious argument here.

You are asking people what they think are the Crimes of Trump, but when they do, and they aren't what you think are Crimes he would have gotten Convicted For, you dismiss them.

As has been established by Mueller, there are so many problems with indicting a sitting President, or even just a Candidate and Nominee, that the fact that Trump hasn't been indicted and convicted yet doesn't exonerate him in the least - that was the core message of the Mueller Report

Of course we can't present cases in which Trump was convicted of a crime, or he wouldn't be President.
But we can establish cases in which, if Trump wasn't President, a conviction would have been highly likely, based on circumstances.

The Cohen Case is definitely one in which Trump would have been convicted, because he would have been questioned and then he would have lied in the interview - as he has done every time when questioned under oath in the past. There was plenty of evidence tying him directly to this. Heck. his personal lawyer and his company's CFO were directly involved in a case he wanted to hide from the public.
If you dismiss this case, then there is no hope of convincing you of anything.


It is not really much of a Court Hearing when you only accept previous convictions as proof, or your own standards of evidence.

Maybe you want to turn this into an Appellate Court?

Last edited by The Great Zaganza; 2nd October 2019 at 04:28 AM.
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Old 2nd October 2019, 04:27 AM   #18
Meadmaker
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Mueller has documented many cases of Obstruction of Justice committed by Trump.
My time is running short at the moment. I will leave you with some things that I edited out of my original OP.

***********
I'll give a preview of my arguments by discussing a rather obvious candidate for criminal activity. I am referring to obstruction of justice charges detailed in the Mueller report. An awful lot of people think that Mueller's analysis clearly demonstrates why Trump ought to be charged with the real crime of Obstruction of Justice. I don't know, but I suspect Mueller agrees. Let me say, briefly, why I disagree.

It pretty much comes down to the requirement of "corrupt intent". Mueller describes the requirements for the crime to be charged, one of which is "corrupt intent". He provides analysis on whether or not there was evidence of corrupt intent in each case where he talks about obstruction of justice. In my opinion, in every case, his "corrupt intent" boils down to having any reason at all to want to impede or obstruct the investigation. It practically doubles the first requirement, which was that it actually impedes an investigation In Mueller's view, it seems that the only thing about "corrupt intent" necessary was to do it on purpose.

In my view, it is corrupt intent if your purpose is to hide evidence of criminal wrongdoing. It is not corrupt intent if you are trying to protect your reputation, or your standing with other world leaders, or your reelection chances. Those sorts of things cover most of what Mueller writes, and in my opinion fails to establish a corrupt intent. You may disagree, and that's what the thread is for, to discuss whether or not there really is a clear case for obstruction of justice, and likewise for tax evasion, abuse of power, emoluments, or whatever else he is accused of.
*********

Note that I referred to "hide evidence of criminal wrongdoing", and that goes to one of your questions about something Barr said. Does there need to be an underlying crime?

The answer is that there doesn't, but if there's no underlying crime, it's much harder to make the case. One possible way is that if the person obstructing the investigation believes that there was an underlying crime, he can be guilty of obstruction even if his belief is mistaken. I don't have time to go too detailed at the moment, but what I will say is that "corrupt intent" almost always involves some sort of connection with a criminal activity. What Mueller cites in discussing corrupt intent would not actually be something a jury would convict for. I'm sure we can revisit this later.

In the meantime, if you were to cite one section from the Mueller Report where you think that the case for a criminal charge is most powerful, I could be more specific on why I don't think it's actually a crime.

Last edited by Meadmaker; 2nd October 2019 at 04:29 AM.
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Old 2nd October 2019, 04:29 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
A president can certainly be investigated. I would be surprised if anyone said otherwise.
Trump, via his lawyers, very specifically said otherwise.
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Old 2nd October 2019, 04:29 AM   #20
The Great Zaganza
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
A president can certainly be investigated. I would be surprised if anyone said otherwise. Whether he can be indicted need not concern us here, because I'm including in the scope of the thread crimes for which he could be prosecuted after he leaves office. If he doesn't even need to leave office to be prosecuted, that's fine. He certainly doesn't need to leave office for this "ISF trial", so it's all on the table.

As for Barr's statements, I'm not sure you got them completely correct. However, it's not all that important. The president can certainly be guilty of crimes that involve his official use of power, and obstruction of justice can be a crime even if there is no other crime. However, I will say that we'll get back to that one, I'm certain. It's a whole lot easier for obstruction of justice to be a crime if there is indeed another crime.
you are in direct contradiction with Trump's lawyers.
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Old 2nd October 2019, 04:34 AM   #21
Meadmaker
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
you are in direct contradiction with Trump's lawyers.
I can live with that.

I clicked on Varwoche's link. No. They're wrong Can he be required to answer subpoenas or compelled to testify? That's a different issue, and there's some murkiness. However, he can certainly be investigated, even on an official basis.
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Old 2nd October 2019, 05:06 AM   #22
The Great Zaganza
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so what is your role, Mead?

Judge?
Defense Attorney?

Or just interested public that can tell when someone did something wrong?
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Old 2nd October 2019, 06:30 AM   #23
Meadmaker
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
so what is your role, Mead?

Judge?
Defense Attorney?

Or just interested public that can tell when someone did something wrong?
All of the above? Let's go with "defense attorney" for the moment, although I would be happy to pull an Al Pacino moment if you could convince me there was enough evidence to win a conviction against my "client".
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Old 2nd October 2019, 07:19 AM   #24
The Great Zaganza
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If I can't convince you that a prosecutor who successfully proved
wrongdoing of a individuals X lawyer,
acting on X's behalf and
getting payed in a fraudulent manner by X's company

could also get a conviction against X

there is nothing I can do to convince you.


What incredible knowledge do you have of the Clifford and Dougal cases that make you certain that there is no "there there" for Trump?
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Old 2nd October 2019, 08:11 AM   #25
Meadmaker
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
If I can't convince you that a prosecutor who successfully proved
wrongdoing of a individuals X lawyer,
acting on X's behalf and
getting payed in a fraudulent manner by X's company

could also get a conviction against X

there is nothing I can do to convince you.


What incredible knowledge do you have of the Clifford and Dougal cases that make you certain that there is no "there there" for Trump?
With all due respect, there are a heck of a lot of people who are unconvinced that Michael Cohen's conviction proves that Trump committed a crime. Indeed, most people are unconvinced. However, this thread is an opportunity to change that with respect to your fellow.isf denizens. Give it your best shot, if you are inclined to do so.

As for Clifford and dougal, never heard of them. I guess I'll Google.
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Old 2nd October 2019, 08:18 AM   #26
The Great Zaganza
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
With all due respect, there are a heck of a lot of people who are unconvinced that Michael Cohen's conviction proves that Trump committed a crime. Indeed, most people are unconvinced. However, this thread is an opportunity to change that with respect to your fellow.isf denizens. Give it your best shot, if you are inclined to do so.

As for Clifford and dougal, never heard of them. I guess I'll Google.
See, this is the vexing thing about your conviction that Trump didn't do anything bad worth talking about, and yet you are very ignorant of all the crimes in Trump's direct orbit.
It seems the only reason why you are so certain is that you have avoided investigating the issues.

Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford are some of the women Trump made an contract with to keep them from talking about his affair with them. They were not NDAs, and they are clear FEC violations.
Clifford's lawsuit is the reason why Cohen's offices were raided.
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Old 2nd October 2019, 08:31 AM   #27
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Wait, are we trying him as an adult?
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Old 2nd October 2019, 08:43 AM   #28
Meadmaker
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
See, this is the vexing thing about your conviction that Trump didn't do anything bad worth talking about, and yet you are very ignorant of all the crimes in Trump's direct orbit.
It seems the only reason why you are so certain is that you have avoided investigating the issues.

Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford are some of the women Trump made an contract with to keep them from talking about his affair with them. They were not NDAs, and they are clear FEC violations.
Clifford's lawsuit is the reason why Cohen's offices were raided.
Ah. That Clifford, the one with the stage name stormy Daniels, and McDougal, not dougal.

I'll address it when I have a real keyboard instead of a phone.
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Old 2nd October 2019, 05:34 PM   #29
Meadmaker
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
If I can't convince you that a prosecutor who successfully proved
wrongdoing of a individuals X lawyer,
acting on X's behalf and
getting payed in a fraudulent manner by X's company

could also get a conviction against X

there is nothing I can do to convince you.


What incredible knowledge do you have of the Clifford and Dougal cases that make you certain that there is no "there there" for Trump?
So, now that I know that Clifford is Stormy Daniels and Dougal is Karen McDougal, let's address the above.

Before I start, I want to make an observation. A major party candidate, who actually went on to win the election, was discovered to have been cavorting with multiple women, including one who made her living having sex on film, and one who made her living by posing nude, and paid a lot of money to make sure they didn't talk about it, and the nation is outraged - because it might have been a violation of campaign finance law.

This is not the world I grew up in.

But, really, I think that's a good thing. Private affairs should be private.

So, what about that truly awful thing that he is alleged to have done, which is that he failed to record a campaign contribution? Or was it the expenditure?

Well, no one really cares. Right? I mean, seriously. No one cares. Legally, which is what this thread is about, what that means is that you might be able to see him prosecuted after leaving office, but no way is this going to be an impeachment issue. No Senator is going to have a crisis of conscience and just decides that, election or no election, we just can't have a guy as President who didn't keep accurate records of all campaign contributions. Likewise, no one is going to call their Senator's office and tell them that they won't vote for Senator Bigbucks unless they clean up Washington, and campaign finance reform is top on their list of important things to clean up.

However, crimes is crimes, so there's still a chance for post term prosecution if a crime has been committed. Was it a crime?

The argument that is put forward is that it must have been, because Cohen pleaded guilty, so Trump must be guilty as well.

Not so fast. Cohen pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement. If you have a person charged with two crimes, one of which carries a much harsher sentence than the other, and he pleads guilty to the lesser charge, what can we infer? We can infer that he decided copping a plea was a better bet than taking his chance in court. That's it. Is he actually guilty of the lesser crime? Who knows? It's very weak evidence.

Surely you are not going to insist, in this crowd, that a confession is proof of guilt. We know better.

So, we'll have to examine the law and the facts themselves. Fortunately, the facts are not in dispute. Some aspects might be, but the basic story is pretty simple. Cohen paid money to keep the ladies silent. He was eventually reimbursed. The initial payment, though, was a campaign contribution, or maybe it was that Trump used his own money on a campaign expenditure without recording it, which matters.

Here's the problem with the whole theory. When you are running for president, literally everything you do could affect your campaign, so literally anything you do where money is exchanged could be a campaign contribution. What's special about this one? Is there some law that singles out hush money to strippers as a particularly obvious example of a campaign contribution/expenditure? If the payment itself is legal, the idea that using your own money to make a payment to a woman to shut up is actually a campaign expenditure is kind of bizarre. A talking point that was all over the right wing media at the time this was in the news was to note that the only logical conclusion would be that if only Trump had used the campaign's money instead of his own, it would have been perfectly legal.

I'm not going to insist that this very short discussion above is full proof, fully articulated, that Donald Trump committed no crimes in relation to Stormy Daniels or Karen McDougal. If you want to explain why you think that it was a crime, feel free to elaborate. For the moment, all you have offered is the above, in which the proof that it is criminal is that Cohen pleaded guilty. For several reasons, that is no proof at all. So what's left? That's for you to provide. I have given a brief note about why I don't think it's a crime. If you are still pretty convinced that it is, I'll have to hear more about your reasoning before I can comment further.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 12:28 AM   #30
The Great Zaganza
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MM,

I care. You should care.
You asked for evidence that Trump has committed crimes.

I have presented you with a case in which a prosecutor got a prison sentence for a member of a conspiracy.
Do you honestly think that the only reasons why Trump wasn't indicted was because there was insufficient proof he was part of this conspiracy?
You and I know less than the prosecutors, and they put Trump in as a conspirator.

If you want clear evidence that Trump is part of this crime, that is it.
Only a judge could go further than this.

But if you only accept accusations you agree with, or only actual sentences, then this is not really a good-faith effort on your part.

Last edited by The Great Zaganza; 3rd October 2019 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 12:29 AM   #31
The Great Zaganza
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one other thing:
the question is NEVER: is this a reason to impeach Trump.

It is : is this something that should be investigated via an impeachment inquiry?
and the answer is yes.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 04:48 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
MM,

I care.
About campaign finance laws? You think it is a hazard to America that someone might spend his own money to do something which might have an impact on his campaign, without declaring it as a campaign expenditure?

I have a hard time believing that.

However, I'm going to try to follow my own rules for the thread and not get into the extralegal aspects. We have those laws, and so the question of whether the laws ought to exist is only just barely relevant. The only question is whether The Donald broke them. I say "just barely" relevant because whether or not people care would impact the possibility of impeachment and the Senate trial. There, it isn't sufficient to argue that someone broke the law. You have to convince 67 senators that the offense is sufficient to justify negating an election.

Quote:
I have presented you with a case in which a prosecutor got a prison sentence for a member of a conspiracy. Do you honestly think that the only reasons why Trump wasn't indicted was because there was insufficient proof he was part of this conspiracy?
One reason Trump wasn't indicted is that was that he is a sitting President. No President has ever been indicted and the general consensus is that the President cannot be indicted while he is President. This has not been tested at the Supreme Court, but it is anticipated that if it were, the court would uphold that tradition.

Quote:
You and I know less than the prosecutors, and they put Trump in as a conspirator.
This is simply false. It did not happen. "Individual 1" was not named as part of a conspiracy.

Quote:
If you want clear evidence that Trump is part of this crime, that is it.
Only a judge could go further than this.
A judge cannot go farther than this. A jury could, but not a judge. A prosecutor can indict. A judge can supervise a trial. If you want a conviction, you have to go to a jury. And if you get a conviction by the jury, a judge could overturn that conviction.

There is an exception, which is that if a prosecutor indicts, a person can plead guilty. That will be relevant in a minute.

It is my opinion that if a prosecutor were to indict Trump, after his term in office is over, because you can't indict a President, he would not be able to secure a conviction. I believe that in order to charge Mr. Trump with violations of campaign finance law for this incident, you would have to stretch the meaning of "campaign contribution" or "campaign expenditure" to absurd lengths, so far that no jury would ever accept the argument.

Your argument is that since one conviction has already been obtained using that exact same argument, a second conviction would be easy to obtain. This is erroneous reasoning, because a jury did not rule on the first conviction. It was, simply put, a coerced confession. Cohen pleaded guilty to the campaign finance charge as part of a plea deal. He was facing some serious jail time for a bunch of things not related to Donald Trump. He got a reduced sentence by pleading guilty to something that was related to Donald Trump.

The theory that a transfer of funds which might have an effect of influencing a campaign is actually a campaign contribution hasn't been tested in front of a jury. I'm saying that if it were to be tested, the jury would reject the argument. I don't have time to explain why right now, but if you want an explanation, I can provide one later.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 05:32 AM   #33
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The odds that impeachment will include the payoffs to the women, rounded, is precisely 0%. It would be incredibly stupid if the Dems went that route, and Pelosi is not that -- she's a stable genius.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 06:04 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
one other thing:
the question is NEVER: is this a reason to impeach Trump.

It is : is this something that should be investigated via an impeachment inquiry?
and the answer is yes.
I don't understand. In this thread, the question is, specifically, whether DJT has committed either prosecutable crimes, or constitutional 'high crimes and misdemeanors".

I'm all for investigations.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 06:34 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
About campaign finance laws? You think it is a hazard to America that someone might spend his own money to do something which might have an impact on his campaign, without declaring it as a campaign expenditure?



I have a hard time believing that.



However, I'm going to try to follow my own rules for the thread and not get into the extralegal aspects. We have those laws, and so the question of whether the laws ought to exist is only just barely relevant. The only question is whether The Donald broke them. I say "just barely" relevant because whether or not people care would impact the possibility of impeachment and the Senate trial. There, it isn't sufficient to argue that someone broke the law. You have to convince 67 senators that the offense is sufficient to justify negating an election.







One reason Trump wasn't indicted is that was that he is a sitting President. No President has ever been indicted and the general consensus is that the President cannot be indicted while he is President. This has not been tested at the Supreme Court, but it is anticipated that if it were, the court would uphold that tradition.







This is simply false. It did not happen. "Individual 1" was not named as part of a conspiracy.







A judge cannot go farther than this. A jury could, but not a judge. A prosecutor can indict. A judge can supervise a trial. If you want a conviction, you have to go to a jury. And if you get a conviction by the jury, a judge could overturn that conviction.



There is an exception, which is that if a prosecutor indicts, a person can plead guilty. That will be relevant in a minute.



It is my opinion that if a prosecutor were to indict Trump, after his term in office is over, because you can't indict a President, he would not be able to secure a conviction. I believe that in order to charge Mr. Trump with violations of campaign finance law for this incident, you would have to stretch the meaning of "campaign contribution" or "campaign expenditure" to absurd lengths, so far that no jury would ever accept the argument.



Your argument is that since one conviction has already been obtained using that exact same argument, a second conviction would be easy to obtain. This is erroneous reasoning, because a jury did not rule on the first conviction. It was, simply put, a coerced confession. Cohen pleaded guilty to the campaign finance charge as part of a plea deal. He was facing some serious jail time for a bunch of things not related to Donald Trump. He got a reduced sentence by pleading guilty to something that was related to Donald Trump.



The theory that a transfer of funds which might have an effect of influencing a campaign is actually a campaign contribution hasn't been tested in front of a jury. I'm saying that if it were to be tested, the jury would reject the argument. I don't have time to explain why right now, but if you want an explanation, I can provide one later.
Also, I thought the legal standard was that the expenditures have to be stuff you wouldn't have done without the campaign. If you had reasons to pay hush money anyway, then doing it during the campaign doesn't make it a campaign finance thing. But I am not an expert. That could be wrong.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 06:56 AM   #36
The Great Zaganza
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Please don't conflate "did a prosecutable crime" with "did a prosecutable crime that is worth the hassle of a prosecutor".
Trump has gotten where he is by being a pain in the arse of anyone suing him, so he ends up with a settlement. You will be hard pressed to find anyone in history who has been sued so many times.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 07:04 AM   #37
The Great Zaganza
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Originally Posted by varwoche View Post
The odds that impeachment will include the payoffs to the women, rounded, is precisely 0%. It would be incredibly stupid if the Dems went that route, and Pelosi is not that -- she's a stable genius.
disagree.
This would have been enough to impeach if Dems had had the House majority at the time and would have forced Trump to testify.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 08:02 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Please don't conflate "did a prosecutable crime" with "did a prosecutable crime that is worth the hassle of a prosecutor".
Trump has gotten where he is by being a pain in the arse of anyone suing him, so he ends up with a settlement. You will be hard pressed to find anyone in history who has been sued so many times.
I must confess that I don't understand your point.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 08:20 AM   #39
theprestige
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Please don't conflate "did a prosecutable crime" with "did a prosecutable crime that is worth the hassle of a prosecutor".
Trump has gotten where he is by being a pain in the arse of anyone suing him, so he ends up with a settlement. You will be hard pressed to find anyone in history who has been sued so many times.
That's a fair point, and even Meadmaker hasn't been entirely strict in enforcing the intended scope of this thread.

So. In the intended spirit of the thread, you'll need to argue that Trump committed an indictable campaign finance crime. Cohen's plea bargain, and the inclusion of "Individual 1" in Cohen's case, do not seem to make a complete argument by themselves. Is it your contention that they do?
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Old 3rd October 2019, 03:50 PM   #40
Meadmaker
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Also, I thought the legal standard was that the expenditures have to be stuff you wouldn't have done without the campaign. If you had reasons to pay hush money anyway, then doing it during the campaign doesn't make it a campaign finance thing. But I am not an expert. That could be wrong.
I actually downloaded a document from the FEC site that is a compilation of applicable laws.

I've read a lot of law over the years. I've never seen anything as complicated as this.

You are definitely correct that if you would have done it anyway, it isn't a campaign expenditure, and you can't use campaign funds to do it. Beyond that, it gets really tricky determining exactly what is and what isn't involved, and I don't even know what the theory is that makes Cohen's activity illegal, even after reading his plea agreement.
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