MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough laid out a closing argument to nail Donald Trump on a seditious conspiracy charge, if he’s ever prosecuted for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Oath Keepers co-founder Stewart Rhodes and 10 others were hit with that charge for their role in organizing the assault on the U.S. Capitol, and the “Morning Joe” host and guest George Conway agreed that Trump’s actions also meet the standards of that charge.
“The criminal law aspect of it goes back to the question of Trump’s intent,” Conway said. “He sat there in his private dining room or whatever by the Oval Office watching television, watching this for hours while people were pleading with him, including his daughter, including his chief of staff, and probably people calling him on the phone to say something, do something, stop it. We hear that he was watching it with glee. He wanted this to happen. He wanted anything to happen that would stop, delay, hinder — use the words of the statute — the execution of the laws of the United States that would transfer power from him to Joe Biden. That’s some of the the most telling pieces of evidence that we have.”
Scarborough said that would make a compelling closing argument if prosecutors ever get around to charging the twice-impeached one-term president.
“You can almost hear it in a closing arguments against the president, not that there would ever be a closing argument against the president because he seems to get away with everything,” Scarborough said. “But you could almost hear a closing argument of the president being a part of this sedition sitting there watching gleefully and wanting the riot to go on, and then the prosecution tells the jury [that] then they finally dragged him out hours later to give a recorded message to stop the rioters and stop the seditionists, and the first take he wouldn’t say say it. They made him do it again. He makes the second take to the rioters, still wouldn’t tell them to stop.”
“It takes them three times after an afternoon of bloodshed, after an afternoon of police being savaged by rioters, by seditionists trying to actually commit insurrection against the United States for the president of the United States to finally compliment them, but then say go home,” Scarborough added.
Conway said that damning evidence exists, and congressional investigators may already have their hands on it.
“It takes three takes, but only that, they didn’t trust him to do it live,” Conway said. “They didn’t trust him to do it live because they afraid of what he would say, so they threw out two takes and he got it semi-right on the third take. Wait until we actually see those two takes because no doubt those were preserved documents that were probably produced to the committee by the National Archives. It’s going to be something. When those videos come out, I bet you it’s going to be something.”
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‘Next Chapter?’ Manhattan DA Signals Trump Himself Might Finally Land Under Indictment
Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg may finally have changed his mind about indicting former president Donald Trump.
The recent conviction of the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg gave a glimpse of evidence that could tie the ex-president directly to the tax fraud scheme, such as a memo he signed approving chief operating officer Matthew Calamari’s illegal request to reduce his taxed salary to cover the cost of his untaxed corporate apartment, reported The Daily Beast.
“We now move on to the next chapter,” Bragg said last week after the company was ordered to pay $1.6 million in penalties for tax fraud.
Trump already asserted under oath in another case in 2021 that he personally oversaw Calimari’s compensation, and prosecutors have checks he signed to cover tuition at a private school for Weisselberg’s grandchildren, whose mother Jennifer Weisselberg has repeatedly told investigators she personally heard Trump discuss the scheme to artificially lower taxed salaries for his executives.
“This case has tentacles,” said Duncan Levin, a former prosecutor who now represents Jennifer Weisselberg and has been communicating with investigators.
The district attorney’s office declined to comment on what Bragg meant about another chapter, but former prosecutors from that office say their experience leads them to believe prosecutors will go after Trump.
“For people who want a certain outcome — to go after Trump — it gives hope,” said Catherine A. Christian, a former assistant district attorney who investigated financial fraud. “They’re going to be thorough. I’m doubtful he would have said ‘next chapter’ if they weren’t looking.”
“It happens all the time with large, complex investigations,” she added.
Prosecutors had hoped to flip Weisselberg or company controller Jeffrey McConney, who was nearly labeled a hostile witness during the Trump Organization trial, but ultimately were unable to get their full cooperation.
“They didn’t flip, and they failed,” said former Manhattan prosecutor Jeff Chabrowe. “They tried to do everything they could, and in the end, they got a truncated thing here where they went after the organization and Weisselberg, and there’s this fine that’s pretty weak.”
‘Final Nail in His Coffin’: Trump’s Taxes Contain ‘Powerful Evidence of Criminal Tax Evasion’
In a column for the Daily Beast, longtime investigative journalist and Donald Trump biographer David Cay Johnston made the case that there is enough evidence of financial fraud in the former president’s tax returns from 2015 to 2020 to indict and prosecute him.
At issue, he noted, are deductions taken for Trump companies — some of which may never have existed.
According to Johnston, the author of “The Big Cheat: How Donald Trump Fleeced America and Enriched Himself and His Family,” he found “powerful evidence of criminal tax evasion,” after reviewing the documents after they were released on Friday morning to the public after years of obstruction from Trump.
“Consider a rich business owner who fabricates deductions but who would still owe zero tax in the audited year even if those deductions were denied. That means an audit that will not generate any tax revenue. That’s also what Trump apparently did in 26 sole proprietor, or Schedule C, filings in the six years of released tax returns,” he wrote before adding, “Trump also turned a profit off a portion of the tax system, making $2.8 million profit off the Alternative Minimum Tax, or AMT.”
As for those 26 Trump businesses that may or may not exist, Johnston suggested that investigators dig deeper into how the former president used them to get out of paying taxes in the years involved.
“Most glaring in the tax returns is that they include 26 Trump businesses—or imaginary businesses—with zero revenue and hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax deductions for expenses,” he pointed out while noting they should be of interest to New York State Attorney General Letitia James, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“Unless Trump can produce records showing the expenses are real and meet other standards to be deductible, that’s fraud. That Trump did it 26 times as a candidate and as president is powerful evidence that he qualifies for prosecution by the federal government and New York State for criminal tax fraud,” he wrote before adding the results could lead to a “slam dunk” prosecution.
You can read more here.
Image: Evan El Amin/Shutterstock
Watch: J6 Committee Votes to Send Four Criminal Referrals Against Donald Trump to DOJ
The U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack has voted to send four criminal referrals to the Dept. of Justice, even more than previously expected.
The Committee’s referral says Donald Trump is guilty of: Obstruction of an official proceeding; Conspiracy to defraud the United States; Conspiracy to make a false statement; Inciting, assisting or aiding/comforting an insurrection, as reported by CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Calling the move “a major escalation for a congressional investigation that is the most significant in a generation,” The New York Times reports this is “the first time in American history that Congress has referred a former president for criminal prosecution,” and “is the coda to the committee’s intense 18-month investigation into Mr. Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election that culminated in a violent mob of the former president’s supporters laying siege to the Capitol.”
Watch this historic moment below or at this link.
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— Acyn (@Acyn) December 19, 2022
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