Friday, November 13, 2020

IF TRUMP IS PUT ON TRIAL, THINGS COULD GET UGLY

Michelle Goldberg looks forward to the post-presidential decline and fall of Donald Trump:
Andrew Weissmann, [Robert] Mueller’s former deputy, told me he expects Trump to pardon himself for any federal crimes he might have committed....

But he might face state charges that he can’t pardon his way out of. The New York State attorney general, Letitia James, has a civil investigation into possible financial chicanery by the Trump Organization. Trump is under criminal investigation by Manhattan’s district attorney, Cyrus Vance. While the scope of the inquiry is unknown, his office’s filings suggest Vance could be looking at tax fraud, insurance fraud and falsification of business records.

The “Manhattan D.A.’s office is a really good office, and they’ve done a lot of white-collar cases,” said Weissmann. “If they were to prove — this is now hypothetical — but if they were to prove tens of millions of dollars in tax fraud or bank fraud, people go to jail for that.”
I'm reading just as I'm reading a Washingtonian item about the upcoming Trumpapalooza in D.C.:
People Are Flying Into DC for the Million MAGA March

... Washington has been on edge over reports of the “Stop the Steal” caravans expected to arrive by tonight. But the protesters apparently aren’t only coming via the highway. People on right-wing Twitter are posting selfies showing their flights from across the country to make it to the event....

We’ll have to see how many people show up tomorrow; DC officials are preparing for hordes (see this map of street closures). Our advice: Stay away from downtown. Experts say these events could turn violent.
It all has me thinking back to a moment in early 2010:
The Obama administration on Friday gave up on its plan to try the Sept. 11 plotters in Lower Manhattan, bowing to almost unanimous pressure from New York officials and business leaders to move the terrorism trial elsewhere....

... resistance had been gathering steam.

After a dinner in New York on Dec. 14, Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, pulled aside David Axelrod, President Obama’s closest adviser, to convey an urgent plea: move the 9/11 trial out of Manhattan.

More recently, in a series of presentations to business leaders, local elected officials and community representatives of Chinatown, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly laid out his plan for securing the trial: blanketing a swath of Lower Manhattan with police checkpoints, vehicle searches, rooftop snipers and canine patrols.

“They were not received well,” said one city official.

And on Tuesday, in a meeting [Mayor Mike] Bloomberg had with at least two dozen federal judges on the eighth floor of their Manhattan courthouse, one judge raised the question of security. The mayor, according to several people present, said he was sure the courthouse could be made safe, but that it would be costly and difficult.
I thought this was outrageous at the time -- we should have been able to show that we could try these people in U.S. courts, as a demonstration that the Bush's administration's approach to them was preposterous -- but I acknowledge that securing the area would have been difficult.

I think a trial of Donald Trump in Manhattan -- or anywhere in America -- could pose similar security risks. I'm not sure there's as much reason to fear MAGA Nation if Trump is put on trial as there was to fear Al Qaeda sympathizers a decade ago, but I couldn't really guess at the relative risk.

I think opponents of stateside 9/11 trials overestimated the possiblility of violence. But I think we underestimate the risk of a Trump trial. There'll certainly be Trumpers in the streets. And there might be worse trouble than that.

So try him -- and convict him -- but be vigilant.

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