There are less than 90 days before U.S. election day and indeed many Americans will be able to start voting by mail in September. Will there be a bombshell October legal surprise?
All minds made up?
And, even if there is, the question is whether it will come just too late to make a major difference leaving Americans, ultimately, to be the judges and jury of President Trump’s record?
One clock is ticking in New York City where criminal charges could be announced against Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization.
Another clock hangs in the office of U.S. Attorney General William Barr in the nation’s capital. He and his team could be unleashing indictments against former government officials — all of whom served in the Obama Administration.
Vance attacks in New York
No sooner had the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in July of this year that the President of the United States is not above the law and can indeed be investigated, than Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance raced into action.
Facing opposition from Trump’s lawyers in court on the grounds that his demand for Trump Organization financial records from the accounting firm Mazars USA are frivolous, Vance has made a dramatic counter move.
First, he indicated to the court that he is seeking eight years of financial records that are critical to his investigation of “alleged insurance and bank fraud.”
Second, the New York Times reports that Vance’s request to the court is probably supported by information on Trump Organization finances that he has already obtained from Trump’s sole bank lender, Deutsche Bank.
The New York Times story noted:
Over a period of months last year, it provided Mr. Vance’s office with detailed records, including financial statements and other materials that Mr. Trump had provided to the bank as he sought loans, according to two of the people familiar with the inquiry.
Trump’s strategy? Delay and delay again
Trump’s lawyers will do all they can to delay court decisions in New York, especially to prevent any progress before the election.
But judges have long dealt with Trump’s many court dealings and they may have no sympathy with him now. The same judges, after all, disagreed with the arguments made by Trump’s lawyers before his case was shot-down by the Supreme Court.
Moreover, delaying tactics by Trump’s lawyers could backfire. If they continue to declare that Vance is just on a vague fishing expedition in seeking Trump’s tax records, then Vance could file a detailed brief to the courts — which might be made public.
Such a document, perhaps based in part on the Deutsche Bank information, could amount to a stunning catalogue of tax and general business frauds.
Meanwhile, Barr has hinted that he hopes that the findings of a special investigation that he has personally supervised, and for which he hired John H. Durham, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, may be made public soon.
Durham’s mandate was to find evidence to support President Donald Trump’s frequent assertions that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a “hoax.”
And, more importantly, that Trump has been right in asserting that the Obama Administration is responsible for this “fake news” and conspired to undermine his 2016 election campaign.
Indicting FBI staff?
The Durham report could call for indictments against former Justice Department, FBI and other intelligence agency officials. Perhaps, it could even include people who served in Obama’s White House. The aim is crude: To demonstrate that the Obama-Biden Administration was crooked.
Support for these assertions is also now being propagated by the Senate’s Judiciary Committee which is chaired by Trump’s most sycophantic of all golf-playing buddies, Senator Lindsey Graham, the Republican from South Carolina.
The man who loved John McCain before he fell for Donald Trump hook, line and sinker and who is now also busily vowing his fealty to his old Senate pal Joe Biden is holding daily public hearings.
These are eagerly reported and dutifully distorted by Fox News in order to promote the narrative that Durham has been charged to pursue.
Stealing the election?
Corruption in Trump’s White House has soared to high levels, and the record of conflicts-of-interest and criminal activities are for all to see.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump, ably aided by Barr and Graham and many other enablers, continues to believe he can win the election — even if it means postponing it until he can be strongly confident that, perhaps aided by Russian intelligence, he can steal it.
Messrs. Vance and Barr could each generate major headlines in coming weeks, respectively dealing harsh blows at Trump and Biden. But it is hard — although not inconceivable — to believe that they will be knock-out punches.
The American jury will decide
As former Obama Administration chief ethics czar Norman Eisen sees it, Trump has brushed aside all government ethics standards and regulations.
Trump has also violated the self-enrichment safeguards in the Constitution and he has ignored multiple demands by Congress for information. And, finally, Trump has tied up literally hundreds of cases brought against him in recent years in the courts.
Eisen knows, as co-chairman of CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government), he was responsible for filing many of those cases.
In addition, in early 2019, he was appointed Special Counsel to the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives as it led the successful impeachment of President Trump in the House of Representatives.
Eisen played a central role in the Senate trial that Republican Senators, ignoring evidence and opposing the inclusion of witnesses, hurled aside.
So now, in a brand new book — A Case For The American People — The United States -v- Donald J. Trump — Eisen writes as if he is the lead prosecutor addressing all Americans as the jury that will need to reach a verdict at the polls in November.
Despite all the legal activities pursued by Vance and Barr and the courts, I think Eisen is right in the opening statement in his fascinating volume. There, he declares:
I have a case for the American people. It is to deliver the ultimate verdict on the high crimes and misdemeanors of Donald. J. Trump. You are the witnesses, the victims and — most important — the judges and jury. Only you can stop him — or allow the high crime spree to continue.
This article is republished from The Globalist: On a daily basis, we rethink globalization and how the world really hangs together. Thought-provoking cross-country comparisons and insights from contributors from all continents. Exploring what unites and what divides us in politics and culture. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. And sign up for our highlights email here.
The post Dueling October surprises: Two legal bombshells on the eve of the U.S. election? appeared first on Salon.