Asha Rangappa @AshaRangappa_ Fmr FBI Special Agent, lawyer, faculty @JacksonYale. Tiger(ish) mom. @CNN analyst. Editor @just_security. Karaoke, golf, and Shakespeare aficionado. Views mine. Nov. 02, 2019 1 min read

Conspiracies are often caught and punished severely before they are completed. And interestingly, to be liable for a conspiracy, one need only have been part of the agreement to commit a crime and committed an overt act (however small) in furtherance of it. 1/

In other words, the question that the law looks to isn’t “What was the outcome?” (though that might be relevant in sentencing), it’s “What was your state of mind/intent?” and “What actions did you undertake that manifest this intent?” 2/

This is the right approach, because otherwise criminals who had the most nefarious goals would get off lightly simply because law enforcement was good at their job, or because someone helped thwart it, or simply because they were too dumb to get away with it! 3/

The question for Trump, therefore, isn’t whether his plan “worked.” It’s what he hoped to achieve (coerce a country for election assistance; generate propaganda about a sham investigation; use money appropriated by Congress as personal leverage) 4/

He also took numerous steps to achieve this goal, beyond the phone call: ordered aid withheld; made it clear to subordinates that he wanted “deliverables”; directed Ukraine to deal with his personal lawyer; had his team draft a statement for Zelensky to deliver 5/

Minimizing the severity of Trump’s actions is an attempt to 1) narrow the focus to *only* the phone call (ignoring everything before and after); and 2) looking at the results, rather than commission, of the crime(s). Doesn’t work that way. END.


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