Top election law expert urges Trump prosecution for demanding 'shakedown' and 'belated ballot box stuffing'

Top election law expert urges Trump prosecution for demanding 'shakedown' and 'belated ballot box stuffing'
President Donald J. Trump waves and gestures to the crowd upon his arrival to Midland International Air and Space Port in Midland, Texas, Wednesday, July 29, 2020, where he was greeted by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, former Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Texas Lt.Gov. Dan Patrick, Texas Republican Chairman Allen West, U.S. Representative candidates, and members of the community. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

America's top election law expert is accusing the President of the United States of committing an impeachable and removable offense and of likely breaking "both federal and state law" in his now infamous Saturday "shakedown" call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Chancellor's Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, Rick Hasen, writing in Slate says President Donald Trump "certainly committed an impeachable offense that is grounds for removing him from the office he will be vacating in less than three weeks, or disqualifying him from future elected office."

"His tumultuous term will end as it began, with questions as to the legality of conduct connected to manipulating American elections, and a defense based squarely on the idea that Trump's mind is so warped that he actually believes the nonsense he spews," Hasen writes. "Trump may never be put on trial for what he did, but a failure to prosecute him may lead to a further deterioration of American democracy."

Hasen says "Trump attempted fraud of his own, asking Raffensperger to engage in belated ballot box stuffing to benefit him."

He points to this portion of Trump's hour-long recorded conversation: "You know, I mean, I'm notifying you that you're letting it happen. So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state."

Hasen implores, "Make no mistake. In that last sentence, Trump was asking Raffensperger to manufacture enough votes to overturn the results in Georgia based upon nothing but Trump's false accusations of fraud and irregularities. In the previous passage, it sounded very much as though he were threatening Raffensperger with some sort of criminal offense if he did not do as Trump commanded."

He says Trump asking Raffensperger to "find 11,780 votes" is "the definition of election fraud." But he warns that "Trump is the rare potential criminal defendant to have plausible deniability about whether he accepts truths as clear as gravity, making any prosecution difficult."

Hasen urges prosecutors to take up the case regardless, for the sake of American democracy.

"Lack of prosecution or investigation demonstrates that there's little to deter the next would-be authoritarian—perhaps a more competent one—from trying to steal an election. Trump came a lot closer than he should have this time, and next time we may not be so lucky."

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