Friday, June 25, 2021


If you're excited about this New York Times story, I understand. I'm not:
The Manhattan district attorney’s office has informed Donald J. Trump’s lawyers that it is considering criminal charges against his family business, the Trump Organization, in connection with fringe benefits the company awarded a top executive, according to several people with knowledge of the matter.

If the case moves ahead, the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., could announce charges against the Trump Organization and the executive, Allen H. Weisselberg, as soon as next week, the people said....

Prosecutors recently have focused much of their investigation into the perks Mr. Trump and the company doled out to Mr. Weisselberg and other executives, including tens of thousands of dollars in private school tuition for one of Mr. Weisselberg’s grandchildren, as well as rents on apartments and car leases.

Prosecutors are looking into whether those benefits were properly recorded in the company’s ledgers and whether taxes were paid on them, The New York Times has reported.
As the story notes:
It would be highly unusual to indict a company just for failing to pay taxes on fringe benefits, said several lawyers who specialize in tax rules. None of them could cite any recent example, noting that many companies provide their employees with perks like company cars.

Still, an indictment of Mr. Trump’s company could deal a significant blow to the former president just as he has flirted with a return to politics.
From this report, you'd almost think that the DA's office is trying to give Trump and his backers ammunition as they argue that the former president is being singled out for a witch hunt. Why issue indictments on charges that others in similar circumstances wouldn't face? Why give the extremely immoral Trumpers a chance at what seems to be the moral high ground?

Of course, this story is probably based on Trumpworld's spin:

Yup. Here's that NBC story, with more self-righteous anger from Team Trump.
“They could not get Allen Weisselberg to cooperate and tell them what they wanted to hear, and that’s why they are going forward with these charges," Fischetti said. "They could not get him to cooperate because he would not say that Donald Trump had knowledge or any information that he may have been not deducting properly the use of cars or an apartment."
The right-wing noise machine will now be set in motion, with pious declarations like this one from National Review's Dan McLaughlin:
A target was chosen — Trump — because of his political prominence, and an indictment is being considered in a case where a business without political prominence would face no such threat. This is doubly dangerous because it involves going after a former president of the United States, with the apparent goal of building a criminal case against him.... If Trump — before, during, or after his presidency — unambiguously broke a clear law for which an ordinary person would be prosecuted, such as shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, Vance would have a duty to prosecute him. But trumped-up charges against former leaders are a familiar sight in banana republics, one that America has thus far avoided. Mounting a prosecution against a former president — especially a former president who was investigated extensively in office without the bringing of charges by the self-styled “Resistance” — is a grave step for the nation and its confidence in the rule of law.
It's possible that Trump's spinners are mischaracterizing what Vance intends to do and when he intends to do it -- and are timing their leak for the day before Trump's first post-presidential rally, in order to induce maximum MAGA outrage. (Or, I suppose, Trump might have timed his rally to get ahead of the first indictments.)

But if the report is accurate, then McLaughlin is almost right. It's not that Trump is being persecuted -- he's obviously a crook and has been throughout his adult life -- but it's not good if it appears that he's being persecuted.

As it unfolds, I hope the prosecution of Trump and his associates seems like justice to everyone but the cult members. But in order for it to seem that way, Vance needs a lot more than this.

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