Teri Kanefield @Teri_Kanefield Author, lawyer (U.C. Berkeley). My threads are here: terikanefield-blog.com/ My author website is here: www.terikanefield.com/ Oct. 16, 2018 3 min read

(Thread) Is Trump an Accessory after the Fact in the Murder of Khaghoggi

@glannkirschner2 wants someone to do the legal analysis.

Okay, I will 🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️

Then I’ll tell you why I stoped doing this kind of thing.

1/ Accessory after the fact is a theory of liability that basically means you found out about a crime after it happened, and then helped out.

More here:

We start with the elements, apply the facts, and then draw a conclusion.

2/ The elements: An Accessory After the Fact is a person who:

(1) knowing that a crime has been committed,
(2) receives, relieves, comforts or assists the offender in order to hinder or prevent his apprehension, trial or punishment.

3/ To obtain a conviction, a prosecutor must prove both elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

The crime: Khaghoggi's murder

Element 1: Knowing a crime has been committed.
Let's assume US intelligence knows it for a fact & so does the US President.


4/ Element 2: Helping the perpetrators.

Trump said it wasn't his responsibility because Khaghoggi wasn’t a citizen.

(Message to dictators and autocrats: Kill anyone you want, as long as the person is not an American citizen.)


[Pausing for a moment to address this excellent point:

I figure this is an exercise in what our president is doing: Addressing the shock of his behavior in terms of the criminal code.

I don't actually expect him to be charged with anything like this.]

5/ Khaghogg lived and worked here as a journalist and was critical of an autocrat.
Other message: We don’t care if journalists who are critical of autocrats are killed.

Then Trump helped with the coverup.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2018/10/16/trump-joins-saudi-arabias-khashoggi-cover-up/?utm_term=.ac894fc59f03 

6/ He lied, and suggested it was “rogue killers”:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-marine-one-departure-17/ 

Each lie assisted the perpetrators.

Each time he stalled (perhaps hoping the story would fall from the news cycle) he helped the perpetrators.

7/ I used to do this kind of analysis all the time:  https://russia-investigation-summary.com/crimes/ 

One year ago I was a naive lawyer.

Now I understand Trump’s legal defense. It's a 4-part legal defense that is not covered in law school.

Part 1: Cultivate a Cult of Leadership.

8/From Paxton: In a cult of leadership, the followers believe the leader’s instincts are better than the logic used by elites. They are willing to give up their individuality and freedom in exchange for the Leader’s “protection.”

A Dear Leader doesn't follow laws. He is the law.

9/ Part #2: Create a world in which facts don’t matter.

Torpedo facts by flooding the zone with nonsense⬇️

And telling outrageous lies, and insisting that everyone else is lying (or “fake” news.)

10/ And by changing your story multiple times and having your media wing act like it's normal.

From Snyder: Eventually people conclude that the truth is unknowable, and they give up.

It’s the ultimate skepticism and relativism.

11/ Part #3: Persuade people that ALL politicians cheat and lie, particularly political opponents (HRC, Obama, etc.)

If people believe all politicians are corrupt, going after Trump becomes political persecution.

This is a variation of the “Deep State” defense:

12: It’s not the person on trial who is guilty. It's the court.

Part #4: Torpedo the laws themselves by saying they’re all stupid and corrupt, and so defying them is perfectly fine.


Trump doesn’t occupy the world of facts.

14/ Trump occupies the world of his own invention (“I am a successful businessman” or “my daughter speaks for women.”)

Once he has led enough people into his world of untruths, Democracy becomes impossible.

From Yale prof. @TimothyDSnyder: Democracy requires a "public sphere."

15/ We can draw different conclusions, but there must first be a shared reality.

A shared reality allows citizens to resist leaders. Without shared reality, resistance is impossible.

From @jasonintrator Without truth, we cannot speak truth to power. So there is only power.

16/ This is why I stopped doing legal analysis of Trump's crimes.

We know he's committing crimes.

The problem is we haven’t figured out how to stop him from drawing large numbers of Americans into his fictionalized world and thereby dissolving the shared public sphere.

You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.


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