All my years as a lawyer still do not allow me to understand how a person’s willfully delusional belief can insulate him from having the clear intent that his actions continually demonstrated. First, a bit of context from today’s Washington Post.
Jennifer Rubin, in an op-ed in today’s Washington Post, chose Merrick Garland as the “distinguished pol of the week” for his long-belated speech about following the facts and the law and prosecuting everyone involved in the insurrection that culminated in the riot at the Capitol on January 6th. Rubin, a lawyer by training and, in my opinion, an astute political analyst, was encouraged by Garland’s newly announced determination to follow the facts and the law and hold everyone accountable for the insurrectionist riot (we can now officially call it that, after DOJ charged a bunch of militia leaders with seditious conspiracy), whether they stormed the Capitol on January 6 or not. Her op ed was written to encourage us to be encouraged too. If you believe Garland’s resolve, and trust his ability to get investigations and prosecutions done, and irreversible convictions, before the short window of two party democracy closes, you should be encouraged.
A top headline on the front page of the same Washington Post reads: Justice Dept’s January 6 conspiracy probe doesn’t seem to directly pursue Trump. The article details the lack of DOJ investigation into Trump, his inner circle at the very end, including anyone who was in the Willard Hotel Command Center on January 6. Pleader of the Fifth Amendment John Eastman, author of the legal memo on how Pence could brazen it out on January 6th, using a crackpot 12th Amendment legal theory, to keep the Biden election result in doubt and throw the election to the Republican (for purposes of an electoral tie only) House, was never contacted by DOJ. Neither was disgraced former NYC police commissioner and convicted felon Bernard Kerik (imprisoned in the same new jail complex that until his conviction bore his name — pardoned by Trumpie) who told the Post he had “no DOJ contact”. Neither was Rudy, Sloppy Steve, American Eichmann Jeffery Clark, Mark Meadows. Mike “Good guy” Flynn or anyone else involved in the Trump dead-enders’ hydra-headed plan to overturn a US presidential election based on repeated allegations of massive voter fraud by Black urban voters.
We read that the DOJ has not contacted Brad Raffensberger, whose recorded call with Trump. released publicly more than a year ago, has the desperate former president ticking off every offense and sub-offense in the Georgia criminal law about attempting to corruptly influence an election outcome. Between the lines we find ourselves reading “what the fucking fuck?”
Perhaps most concerning is this fucking trope, which recurs in the article and, as I wrote up top, I have no idea how to understand, even after three years in law school and practicing law for a decade.
How is this different than Alan Dershowitz’s demented argument at one of Trumpie’s impeachments that if the president sincerely believed he was acting in the best interests of the nation, even if he was incorrect in his belief, as when he asked the new Ukrainian president to announce a fake fraud investigation to smear his political opponent (on the grounds that it was best for his country that he alone be left in place to fix it) that he could not have committed a misdemeanor, let alone a high crime? It is a close variation on the classic Nuremberg defense: if the Fuhrer commanded me to do it, and his word is law, and I was bound by an oath to obey, how was I to know he was an insane, mass murdering maniac ordering me to commit massive war crimes, let alone crimes against humanity, when I merely did what I to this day believe was my lawful duty?
Intent can be established by showing a pattern of behavior that demonstrates it. Trump intended to stay in office, no matter what. His intent was clear and every act he undertook, before and after the 2020 election, was in furtherance of what he intended to do. He continued to do these things after being shown he was mistaken in his belief that the election had been stolen by bipartisan fraud. He fired and replaced any official who served at his pleasure who told him the truth about the election he still refuses to concede he lost.
He was told, unequivocally, by his loyal gunsel Bill Barr, by Barr’s successor who refused to participate in a plan to enlist the DOJ in the fraudulent claim of voter fraud, by Pat Cippolone, his White House Counsel, by HSA cyber specialist Chris Krebs , by Raffensberger, by many others loyal to him, that there had been no evidence of massive, or even appreciable, voter fraud found. This was confirmed by numerous recounts and “audits” in every swing state Trump lost. It was reaffirmed when every lawsuit brought to challenge the election results was thrown out of court for failure to make a legal case.
Are we to believe that if Trump argues that he genuinely believed these people all lied to him, that the recounts and audits were all wrong, that the courts acted out of mere spite and irrational hatred of him, and that his lie was actually the truth, that he lacked the intent, and the premeditation, to commit the crimes he seems to have committed (hard to explain events otherwise, unless you get all of your information only from FOX, OANN, Newmax or Breitbart)? Seems to me the claim might be useful as part of an insanity defense, but how does it show a hard to overcome lack of intent on Trumpie’s part?
Hard to keep the top of my skull from blowing off my head, sometimes. We are living in times so interesting they make the old Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times” really pop.
Trump fired Krebs, Trump’s Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the United States Department of Homeland Security, immediately after Krebs publicly stated that the 2020 election had been the most secure election on record. Evidence of the Orange Polyp’s Intent? Nah…