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Will Andrew Cuomo Have to Pardon Donald Trump?

Comments:I wouldn’t put it past Cuomo to repeat Ford’s mistake, but I won’t assume it.
#posted byBlogger Mark Field: 4:04 PM Ford saved the country with that pardon.

You can look at several Latin American countries where every former President goes to prison. It doesn’t actually help things any. It just creates dynamics where people try to stay in power a la Fujimori or Evo Morales.

I think way too many Americans who have the hobby of being into politics are basically like beginning chess players who don’t think past the next move. Ford’s action may have cost him the 1976 election, but it had enormous foresight, because avoiding cycles of reprisal is crucial for governance.

#posted byBlogger Dilan: 4:26 PM I thought Ford’s pardon was an outrage, and it has had terrible effects going forward, creating a sort of ongoing bargain where each administration holds the previous harmless for any crimes they committed, and in turn expects the next to return the favor.

I’d hoped, based on his campaign rhetoric, that Trump was going to end that tradition. But no such luck.

In all likelihood the question is moot; Trump is being subject to this investigation for purely political reasons, and after the election it will be dropped, win or lose, as having no further political purpose.

#posted byBlogger Brett: 4:51 PM Brett,

Is it possible Trump is actually guilty of tax fraud, or of making fraudulent representations to lenders? It sure seems plausible to me, but I’m willing to look at the evidence.

We know from Trump University that he’s a scammer, and from the Trump Foundation that he’s a thief. (I wish someone would explain why taking money from the Foundation for personal use is not a felony. It surely is if the bookkeeper does it.)

So it’s hardly impossible that he is guilty of serious financial misconduct.

#posted byBlogger byomtov: 5:34 PM Dilan,

I think way too many Americans who have the hobby of being into politics are basically like beginning chess players who don’t think past the next move. Ford’s action may have cost him the 1976 election, but it had enormous foresight, because avoiding cycles of reprisal is crucial for governance.

Is it possible that you are the one who is not thinking past the next move, or maybe just the one after that?

As Brett points out, there is a downside to being too willing to overlook the previous Administration’s sins.

#posted byBlogger byomtov: 5:49 PM “Is it possible Trump is actually guilty of tax fraud, or of making fraudulent representations to lenders?”

It’s certainly possible, in the sense that it violates no known physical law, but then you would have to ask, “Why was he not investigated/prosecuted prior to running for President?”

People in Trump’s tax bracket are under continual, intense financial scrutiny, because the payoff in catching them at anything is so high. Trump never has a return that wasn’t thoroughly audited. He hasn’t in decades. While it’s possible he has some hidden fraud lurking in his affairs, the odds are not, IMO, great.

What you’re really looking at here is, “Give me a man and I will find the crime.” Had Hillary won in 2016, the NY prosecutor’s office would have little interest in him.

#posted byBlogger Brett: 6:03 PM “Why was he not investigated/prosecuted prior to running for President?”

Possibly because the scrutiny he came under from the press, and various authors, revealed some things that were hidden.

A prosecutor would not necessarily have reason to compare Trump’s tax returns with his representations to banks, for example. And frankly, I think the NY authorities have been somewhat lax in their work on previous misconduct by Trump.

As to being under constant audit, well yes, but I’ll wager he had more accountants and lawyers working on the audits than either the IRS – notoriously understaffed – or the NYS Revenue Dept did. Besides, audits can only uncover so much, and auditors can’t always sniff out falsified documents and records.

It’s interesting that you just can’t tolerate the possibility that there might be something of substance there, despite the man’s record of dishonesty.

#posted byBlogger byomtov: 6:23 PM I think it’s quite possible he cut some corners. An outside possibility of outright fraud, too.

But that doesn’t change the political motivation here, now, does it? Can you honestly say NY would be interested in going after him if Trump hadn’t run for President, and had the bad taste of winning?

#posted byBlogger Brett: 6:34 PM I don’t see how anybody would know if Trump has been under audit. He certainly has said that, but that doesn’t make it true. AFAIK, the IRS never says if someone is under audit or not. And the IRS is notoriously lax in reviewing the returns of the extremely wealthy. Plus, Cyrus Vance is known for letting the wealthy slide.
#posted byBlogger Mark Field: 7:09 PM But that doesn’t change the political motivation here, now, does it? Can you honestly say NY would be interested in going after him if Trump hadn’t run for President, and had the bad taste of winning?

Is Vance happy to go after Trump? Most likely.

Would he have done so if Trump weren’t President? Maybe not, but then again, a lot of the information Vance started with might well not have come out if it weren’t for that. There wouldn’t have been a special counsel investigation, no Cohen indictment, no Weisselberg testimony, etc. Without all that there might not have been a case. And if you want to make some unjustified complaint about Mueller just say the words “Ken Starr.”

My point is that it is entirely possible that a completely non-political prosecutor might, in light of all that, have decided to go after Trump. So the fact that Vance likes it doesn’t make it unjustified, and doesn’t mean politics was the motivation.

As for audits, as I said, there is only so much the auditor can check. No doubt Trump’s finances are complex, probably deliberately so. So you’re looking at a massive web of partnerships, LLC’s, and whatnots. The auditor is just not going to be able to track down and verify the accuracy of every 1099, every K-1, every 1065, every deduction, every claimed loss.

To do that you need someone to tell you where the bodies are buried. Enter Cohen and Weisselberg.

#posted byBlogger byomtov: 7:53 PM Nixon resigned. I think this was a significant difference. I’m inclined to think people who see some value in Ford’s pardon aren’t let’s say out of their minds. I respect those who strongly disagree. But, him RESIGNING was key.

That itself was a form of punishment. Trump, of course, is quite different there. Nixon also in various ways did help the investigation beyond Trump’s broad obstruction. Also, multiple members of Nixon’s governmental team was prosecuted. So, justice to some case very well was done there. Nixon also didn’t do a Flynn or Roger Stone either. Again, this factors in the pardon dynamics.

The talk of “cruelly” here is therefore different for Trump. Not seeing the unjust pain myself. State prosecution might realistically be the ONLY way to successfully check his abuses and criminality. As to him violating the law, multiple accounts, including an award winning report helped by Mary Trump, provides evidence that he broke the law.

A lot less was deemed enough to call HRC a “felon.” Trump law.

===

On another matter …

It is my understanding that the New York charges in part at least arose from actions he did while running for POTUS. Concern for campaign legitimacy is a basic concern these days for many people, including in a Democratic state with a prosecutor particularly concerned about going after corruption. So, it’s quite possible, win or lose, a person of Trump’s significance would be investigated.

To the degree him winning factors in, the importance of checking abuses of power would seem particularly relevant there. It would be reasonable to think that it would also factor into prosecutor decision-making here, including the possibility that in some fashion politics would factor in. I’m not saying this is clearly shown, but I’m not going to say it’s not possible. But, again, it is quite sensible to be particularly concerned about someone in power.

#posted byBlogger Joe: 7:55 PM As Brett points out, there is a downside to being too willing to overlook the previous Administration’s sins.

I don’t think it is possible to get graft and criminality out of politics. If it were, some society would have done it by now, and none has. You can have honest people sometimes- President Obama is a very honorable person- but there’s no checks and controls that can ensure they get in power.

As a result, you have to deal with politicians the way they really are. There’s a similar problem in international law with war crimes prosecutions. In theory, we’d like to hold people accountable who perpetrate terrible war crimes. In practice, we can’t. Victors never consent to be tried, and sometimes it’s easier to allow someone to go into exile rather than bring them to trial.

I think a lot of people are very goody two shoes about these issues, especially when it concerns their political opponents. A system that threw Richard Nixon into prison, for instance, was definitely going to throw Bill Clinton there too. You want that? (Well, OK, if it turns out he raped one of Jeffrey Epstein’s underage victims, yes. But I mean for crimes in office.)

#posted byBlogger Dilan: 7:57 PM I don’t think it is possible to get graft and criminality out of politics. If it were, some society would have done it by now, and none has. You can have honest people sometimes- President Obama is a very honorable person- but there’s no checks and controls that can ensure they get in power.

As a result, you have to deal with politicians the way they really are. There’s a similar problem in international law with war crimes prosecutions. In theory, we’d like to hold people accountable who perpetrate terrible war crimes. In practice, we can’t. Victors never consent to be tried, and sometimes it’s easier to allow someone to go into exile rather than bring them to trial.

I think a lot of people are very goody two shoes about these issues, especially when it concerns their political opponents. A system that threw Richard Nixon into prison, for instance, was definitely going to throw Bill Clinton there too. You want that? (Well, OK, if it turns out he raped one of Jeffrey Epstein’s underage victims, yes. But I mean for crimes in office.)
# posted by Blogger Dilan : 7:57 PM

Using this logic, we don’t need any laws at all. I mean, convicting people of murder hasn’t eliminated the problem, so why bother?

#posted byBlogger Bartbuster: 8:53 PM I don’t think it is possible to get graft and criminality out of politics.

First, it depends on the degree. Maybe you don’t prosecute minor cases, but there has to be a limit.

Second, the matters Vance seems to be going after Trump about are not “ordinary” political corruption. Trump is not accused of fixing traffic tickets.

#posted byBlogger byomtov: 8:59 PM This comment has been removed by the author.
#posted byBlogger Bartbuster: 9:03 PM Also, I’m fine with Trump going into exile. As long as we get to choose where he ends up. I hear that Afghanistan is beautiful in the fall. And he won’t have to divorce the current wife before moving on to the next one. Win/win.
#posted byBlogger Bartbuster: 9:05 PM Umm, prosecuted for what precisely?

Tax returns performed by an accounting firm on behalf of corporations under audit since 2002?

Should work out as well for the Democrats as the “Russia collusion” slander.

#posted byBlogger Bart DePalma: 9:36 PM That’s fine. But then we must stop saying that the United States has a government of laws, not of men.
#posted byBlogger Unknown: 9:38 PM If Trump loses the election, and his attempts to challenge the election’s outcome, he may very well bless Mike Pence with a preemptive pardon on 18 January, resign, and accept a preemptive pardon from President Pence the next day. Thus, Trump never would be held legally accountable for his past federal crimes.

That leaves state crimes he may have committed. If he is pardoned for those crimes, he’ll prove that the best way of getting away with a life of crime is getting elected President of the United States.

I remember Ford’s pardon of Nixon, who never directly repented his sins, or for that matter, forthrightly acknowledged them. I still wonder whether Ford’s pardon was part of a deal to get Nixon to resign.

Equal rights for all, no special rights for ex-presidents. If former president Trump is indicted for crimes, let him, as our system lets everyone, stand trial or cop a plea. After that, governors can decide whether to pardon him, commute his sentence, or let serve him time, pay his fine, or do community service (I’d give him a rabbit’s foot and a hunting knife and send him to clear land mines in the Third World).

#posted byBlogger James: 10:59 PM “Trump is being subject to this investigation for purely political reasons”

Cross reference Bircher Brett’s comments on Biden. The Least Self Aware Human in the Universe.

#posted byBlogger Mista Whiskas: 11:41 PM “I think it’s quite possible he cut some corners. An outside possibility of outright fraud, too.”

Cross reference Bircher Brett’s comments on Hillary. The Least Self Aware Human in the Universe.

#posted byBlogger Mista Whiskas: 11:43 PM “Should work out as well for the Democrats as the “Russia collusion” slander.”

Can you imagine the innuendo, jumping to conclusions, etc., if a current Democrat President’s campaign manager and several prominent aides were convicted of crimes involving being literal foreign agents?

These are not serious persons.

#posted byBlogger Mista Whiskas: 11:46 PM ” don’t think it is possible to get graft and criminality out of politics. If it were, some society would have done it by now, and none has. You can have honest people sometimes”

Hawt takes, get your hawt takes here!

#posted byBlogger Mista Whiskas: 11:49 PM On the contrary. The ford pardon taught the Republicans that there is no penalty for outrageous violation of the law. There result, obviously enough is more outrageous violation of the law Trump is almost compelled by nixon
#posted byBlogger Barry: 12:44 AM Using this logic, we don’t need any laws at all. I mean, convicting people of murder hasn’t eliminated the problem, so why bother?

Laws work perfectly well when enforced against people who do not hold the levers of ultimate power.

They don’t work well against people who do. And no government in history has solved this problem.

#posted byBlogger Dilan: 12:51 AM 

We also say we were founded on the principle that all men are created equal.

We say lots of things. 🙂

#posted byBlogger Dilan: 12:52 AM Hawt takes, get your hawt takes here!

I noticed you didn’t say it was false.

#posted byBlogger Dilan: 12:53 AM The argument that it would be dangerous to investigate and charge, where strong evidence is found of illegal actions is true — and fatuous.

If attempting to prosecute law-breaking by an ex-chief executive would turn the USA into a place where those turned out of power were routinely subjected to bogus investigations in a tit-for-tat cycle, isn’t it equally probable that ignoring obvious evidence of illegality (and sorry, but there’s ample sitting in public view, of obstruction of justice if nothing else) turn the country into a copy of Russia, where crimes by Putin’s backers simply aren’t investigated?

Either we attempt to live up to our principles or we weaken them. And here’s the thing about weakening principles: when you set lower standards, it becomes the smart thing to live down to them.

#posted byBlogger C2H5OH: 8:05 AM C2H5OH said…The argument that it would be dangerous to investigate and charge, where strong evidence is found of illegal actions is true — and fatuous.

Agreed. Evidence offering at least reasonable suspicion should always be a prerequisite to a criminal investigation. Partisans launching criminal investigations against opponents as fishing expeditions looking for a crime should be a crime. Similarly, reasonable suspicion the target is a foreign intelligence agent should drive such counterintelligence investigations.

For example, evidence the son of a VP and POTUS candidate took millions from foreign sources for no apparent work or consideration should trigger a counter intelligence investigation.

In contrast, when the testimonial source of “evidence” is himself a suspected foreign intelligence operative working for a political campaign, the evidence should be confirmed before an investigation begins.

#posted byBlogger Bart DePalma: 10:35 AM This comment has been removed by the author.
#posted byBlogger Mista Whiskas: 10:50 AM Partisans launching criminal investigations against opponents as fishing expeditions looking for a crime should be a crime. Similarly, reasonable suspicion the target is a foreign intelligence agent should drive such counterintelligence investigations.”

Manafort, Gates, Flynn, etc., have admitted to being literal foreign agents and plead or found guilty of associated crimes. “The Republican-controlled Committee released its final report on 2016 Russian election interference in August 2020, finding that despite problems with the FISA warrant requests used to surveil him, the FBI was justified in its counterintelligence concerns about Page.”

Every accusation is indeed a confession with Bircher Bart. This is not a serious person, this is a partisan incoherent.

#posted byBlogger Mista Whiskas: 10:52 AM Laws work perfectly well when enforced against people who do not hold the levers of ultimate power.

# posted by Blogger Dilan : 12:51 AM

Not according to you. You said that no one has ever removed graft and corruption from politics, so we should just stop trying. Well, no one has removed murder from society, either. So by the standards that you have set, we should just stop trying.

Basically, you’re just posting ridiculous nonsense.

#posted byBlogger Bartbuster: 10:53 AM Mr. W:

Being paid to work for a foreign business or representIng foreign business interests in the US is is no way analogous to working as an intelligence agent of a foreign government, which is the standard for a counterintelligence investigation, as the FISA Court has been reminding FBI in very pointed terms over the past couple years.

The former failing to report taxable income earned overseas or failing to register as a foreign agent of a business are not remotely “associated” to counterintelligence.

What distinguishes Hunter Biden from say Manafort was the latter was delivering actual business services for his money, Biden provided nothing apart from access to his powerful father for his millions.

#posted byBlogger Bart DePalma: 11:10 AM “Being paid to work for a foreign business or representIng foreign business interests in the US is is no way analogous to working as an intelligence agent of a foreign government, which is the standard for a counterintelligence investigation, as the FISA Court has been reminding FBI in very pointed terms over the past couple years.”

Time to hoist this old Bircher on his own petard (he makes it so easy, doesn’t he>).

“Manafort often lobbied on behalf of foreign leaders such as former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, former dictator of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos, former dictator of Zaire Mobutu Sese Seko, and Angolan guerrilla leader Jonas Savimbi.[11][12][13] Lobbying to serve the interests of foreign governments requires registration with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA); on June 27, 2017, he retroactively registered as a foreign agent.[14][15][16][17]

On October 27, 2017, Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates were indicted in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on multiple charges *arising from his consulting work for the pro-Russian government* of Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine before Yanukovych’s overthrow in 2014.[18]”

Bircher Bart is, of course, not a serious person. He is a partisan incoherent.

#posted byBlogger Mista Whiskas: 11:50 AM Mr. W:

Do you have a clue that you just demonstrated the distinction I was making?

Probably not. Carry on,

#posted byBlogger Bart DePalma: 2:59 PM 

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