Teri Kanefield @Teri_Kanefield Author, lawyer (U.C. Berkeley). An idealist who believes the American Experiment will succeed. I tweet about the law, books, politics, and history. Nov. 19, 2018 4 min read

(Thread)
Bárðarbunga asks:

(Read the whole question—it’s a good one)

The first answer is yes, real crimes were committed. Many of them carry long prison sentences.

I started compiling a list of possible crimes committed by Trump and his circle . . .

1/ It's here 👇  https://russia-investigation-summary.com/crimes/ 

Which brings us to the question: Will the perpetrators be brought to justice?

Answer: Maybe. You see, there are a few complications.

Complication #1: The people who are committing the crimes now hold the highest offices in the land.

2/ It’s obviously easier for a prosecutor to bring a common shoplifter to justice than for prosecutors to bring their own boss to justice.

Complication #2: The lawbreakers are being shielded by the GOP, who have held majority power in the government.

3/ The drafters of the Constitution considered the possibility that a president might be elected who committed crimes or was beholden to foreign interests.

That’s why they included a remedy in the Constitution: Congress acts as a check on presidential power.

4/ At the first sign of corruption, fraud, or foreign influence in the election, Congress should have conducted a meaningful investigation and removed the president.

Instead the GOP majority sabotaged the investigation and pushed their agenda through as quickly as they could.

5/ Because Congress shielded the president, task fell to prosecutors (who are under the President in the executive branch) instead of Congress AND prosecutors.

Complication #3: The nature of the crimes.

In 2011, Mueller talked about “today’s mobsters."
 https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/news/speeches/the-evolving-organized-crime-threat 

6/ Mueller explained that the organizations are “international” and “fluid” with “global reach.”

He characterized these criminal orgs as iron triangles consisting of (1) organized criminals (2) corrupt government officials, and greedy business leaders.
 https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/news/speeches/the-evolving-organized-crime-threat 

7/ IOW, we’re not dealing with ordinary criminals.

Bringing to justice a fluid, international global mob organization whose leaders control wealthy and powerful countries is a lot harder than, say, getting Al Capone

—particularly when prosecutors are investigating their boss.

8/ Complication #4: A significant percentage of Americans see the people committing these crimes as heroes.

If, say, 80% of Americans were enraged by the fact that Russia selected (and installed) our president, removing him and bringing his pals to justice would be easy.

9/ Why do so many Americans look upon Russia as an ally, and see Democrats as the enemy? See👇


One person commented that if all the criminals don’t pay a price, the billionaires will think they can “go ahead and fund the next attack on America.”

10/ Here’s the thing: They don’t think they are attacking America.
They think they are saving America.

They think America has grown corrupt and they want to make America Great Again (Corrupt = minorities displacing “real” Americans. See Tweet 4 👇 )

11/ Complication #5: The definition of a “criminal.”

It’s not quite as simple as ‘a criminal commits a crime.’’

For example, liberals don’t look at Rosa Parks as a ‘criminal’ even though she violated the law when she refused to give up her seat on a bus . . .

12/ That's because liberals consider the segregation laws wrong and immoral (even though they were the law of the land.)

Libertarians (and Trump) believe that the laws Trump and pals violated shouldn’t be there.

They say they want to "maximize liberty" by limiting government.

13/ Libertarians are against any laws that restrict “liberty” or business. They want to get rid of laws such as: campaign finance laws, the minimum wage, laws against insider trading & money laundering. They see Brown v. Board of Education as federal overreach.

14/ Libertarians think they stand on moral ground. (Yeah, there are big contradictions in this).

They disagree on moral grounds with most of the laws on my list.
Libertarian Rand Paul doesn't even see a problem with partnering with Russia.

15/Right now, despite considerable evidence of law breaking, Trump has 42% approval.  https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/ 

If he continues to retains 40+ in the face of overwhelming evidence of lawbreaking, the situation is more akin to the Civil War than, say, bringing Capone to justice.

16/ The Confederacy was criminal: Firing on Fort Sumter was a violation of US law. Firing on (and killing) US soldiers was criminal.

The conflict in the Civil War was opposing visions of America. The South wanted no federal government intruding into states’ rights. . .

17. . .which of course was just a way of saying they wanted the “freedom” to enslave people.

The North won, so we got the America the North wanted.

At the end of the Civil War, the question was how far to punish the South.

18/ Right now, it seems to me, the goal is to save liberal democracy.

If Trump “wins” America becomes like Russia—and he and his pals become all-powerful oligarchs.
(This is still possible although after the midterms, much, much less likely).

19/ If the Democrats win America will be a diverse liberal democracy.

Should there be punishment? Yes, certainly. For one thing, people should never keep illegally obtained money.

I'm not persuaded, though, that harsh punishment will prevent another fascist uprising.

20/ We come now to a difficult issue: the purpose and effectiveness of punishment, which I’ll save for another thread.

My personal bias: I am not a fan of harsh punishment, and I don't think mass incarceration has ever helped a society.


You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.



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