The 'road map' for prosecuting Donald Trump is clear: former federal prosecutors

The 'road map' for prosecuting Donald Trump is clear: former federal prosecutors
Donald J. Trump/Shutterstock

Two of America's most prominent good-government legal scholars explained how officials investigating former President Donald Trump now have a "road map" to follow.

Ambassador Norman Eisen, who served as Obama's "ethics czar" and counsel for the House Judiciary Committee during Trump's first impeachment, wrote a powerful new analysis with Fred Wertheimer, the founder of the pro-voting group Democracy 21.

"The resignation of two Manhattan prosecutors for their boss’s failure to charge former President Donald Trump over potential financial crimes last month has reignited debate over whether he will ever be held accountable for his alleged misdeeds," the two wrote for CNN. "Thankfully, Judge David Carter’s decision on Monday, finding Trump 'more likely than not' committed crimes, sets out a road map for finally imposing consequences for the big lie. It does so by tackling the thorniest legal issues regarding Trump, his enablers and the events in and around January 6, 2021 – and showing how they can be addressed by prosecutors."

Both authors have decades of experience as attorneys practicing public policy law and focused on the question of Trump's intent.

"Carter applies precedent to show that 'a person does not need to know their actions are wrong to break the law.' Trump exceeded this threshold because he likely knew that right-wing lawyer John Eastman’s plan to throw out electoral votes was illegal. Carter cites the January 6 House select committee’s carefully compiled evidence that Trump was advised publicly and privately numerous times that there was absolutely no evidence of significant electoral fraud," they wrote. "As the opinion notes, Trump’s calls to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he famously asked the secretary to 'give (him) a break' and 'find 11,780 votes' (one vote more than Biden’s margin of victory in that state) reveal the former President’s goal: not to undertake any legitimate investigation, but simply to overturn the election. This is strong evidence of a 'corrupt mindset,' and it leads Carter to an eminently simple conclusion: '(t)he illegality of the plan was obvious.'”

Beyond that, there may be a broader conspiracy to defraud the United States.

"The possible implications for the rest of Trump’s enablers are obvious. Eastman is certainly not the only person alleged to have participated in calls or meetings relating to overturning the election. Tremors must have gone down the spines of former Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark and many more who were allegedly part of such conversations," they explained. "Hopefully, all will use the road map the judge has provided and do something about the underlying offenses. That matters for the sake of holding Trump and his enablers accountable, for stopping the ongoing big lie crime spree of the MAGA faction of the GOP and for protecting our democracy itself."

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