Author Topic: The Trump Presidency  (Read 144820 times)

Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #2010 on: January 20, 2021, 01:30:48 PM »
I don't think, however, that there ever has been a time when so many have been so open, so organised and in such huge numbers.

I suppose it doesn't matter whether we're just now learning their numbers or whether their ranks swelled in the Trump years.  Either way there are too many of them, and they're emboldened and more overtly organized.  The racist and nationalist sentiments have been there all along.  Now these groups are free to shamelessly express them, with aid and comfort from prominent figures in the Republican Party.

If Sen. McConnell's statements yesterday in the Senate are a strong enough indication, Donald Trump might have no future in the party.  But yesterday Trump was babbling about starting his own party.  And I imagine it will be populated largely by hate groups and deplorables.

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[People] are using these platforms to spread targeted messages of chaos and distrust.

And for a kaleidoscope of reasons, the companies that operate them haven't been compelled to do anything about it.  Early on, they were just naive tech giants.  And yes, there's a certain naivété at work.  "We're just a fun platform where people can come together," and the real product is the social connectivity data that's generated.  Or ad revenue. Or a combination of many such factors.  When platforms like Facebook and Twitter came about, the companies had no idea what to do with all the problems that come with increasingly easy interaction with strangers.  So they completely ignored them, downplayed them, and literally expected the problem to just go away.  They were all nerds.  They had little idea how the world worked outside Silicon Valley.  There have been a couple good books written on this.

Nowadays it seems like the various social media companies are well aware of the political and social influence they have, and especially their ability to drive or respond to large trends.  And it seems that all they see, without additional oversight, is profit.  I think they've gone from being naive to being happy in a new role as power brokers.  They lack either the will or the technical ability to stop their platforms being used to create propaganda under the guise of "free speech."  Only when it seems they might incur regulation or be sued do they take steps to actually look at how their product behaves and creates a social "reality" for people.  The remedy, such as it is, is always too little, too late, and with too little enthusiasm.  As long as eyeballs are looking at their product, they try to squeak by with the minimum responsibility.

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Trump's pardoning of Steve Bannon is a terrible decision. Personally I think that Bannon is one of the most dangerous men on the planet.

He is truly an odious man.  And consider what he was pardoned for.  Bannon told Trump's followers he was taking up a collection to fund the border wall with Mexico privately.  And then used the money for other purposes.  Now normally if I had a group of followers, and someone was doing something that might alienate them from me, like using my name and reputation to defraud them, I'd normally be very anxious to stop that happening, so it would protect my reputation.  Former President Donald Trump has done this to the effect of condoning the fraud.  But of course his followers probably won't believe that.  They'll argue that Bannon was being unjustly prosecuted and that he's a great American patriot and hero, and here, have some more of my money.

Let's hope this comes back to bite him in the behind.  Now pardoned, Steve Bannon cannot plead the Fifth Amendment for evidence he might given on any federal charges against Donald Trump that might involve Bannon's exculpated crimes.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Obviousman

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #2011 on: January 20, 2021, 02:57:23 PM »
Let's hope this comes back to bite him in the behind.  Now pardoned, Steve Bannon cannot plead the Fifth Amendment for evidence he might given on any federal charges against Donald Trump that might involve Bannon's exculpated crimes.

Is that likely? I mean, was that a 'tactical' mistake by Trump? So he cannot claim self-incrimination but he'd just lie anyway, wouldn't he?

Offline Glom

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #2012 on: January 20, 2021, 03:16:24 PM »

He is truly an odious man.  And consider what he was pardoned for.  Bannon told Trump's followers he was taking up a collection to fund the border wall with Mexico privately.  And then used the money for other purposes.  Now normally if I had a group of followers, and someone was doing something that might alienate them from me, like using my name and reputation to defraud them, I'd normally be very anxious to stop that happening, so it would protect my reputation.  Former President Donald Trump has done this to the effect of condoning the fraud.  But of course his followers probably won't believe that.  They'll argue that Bannon was being unjustly prosecuted and that he's a great American patriot and hero, and here, have some more of my money.


Same mentality that made televangelists successful.

Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #2013 on: January 20, 2021, 03:49:03 PM »
Is that likely? I mean, was that a 'tactical' mistake by Trump? So he cannot claim self-incrimination but he'd just lie anyway, wouldn't he?

If he did, he'd be liable for perjury.  The scenario is that Donald Trump or one of the Trump clan is brought up on federal charges, and Steve Bannon is subpoenaed as a material witness to the crimes charged.  If Bannon was a party to any of those crimes, or if by testifying against a Trump he would have to reveal his involvement in some earlier federal crime, he could ordinarily refuse to answer that question.  But a Presidential pardon means that he has to answer, since incrimination is no longer possible.  If he lies, it's perjury.  If he still refuses to answer, it's obstruction of justice.  Either way it's a problem.

Whether it's a tactical mistake on Trump's part probably depends on information we don't know.

Another possibility is that those who feel they were defrauded by Bannon can sue him in civil court.  While he would bear no criminal liability, fraud is still also a tort, and you can't pardon for a tort.  Further, Bannon's acceptance of the pardon might constitute an admission to the acts.  This hasn't been fully settled as a matter of American law.  But I think a path moving forward is to hit these people where they live:  the pocketbook.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Glom

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #2014 on: January 20, 2021, 03:55:33 PM »
Also, isn't it time to unpin this thread?

Offline jfb

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #2015 on: January 20, 2021, 05:33:56 PM »
Apropos of absolutely nothing, but Bannon always looks like a guy whose liver is about to give up the ghost. 

I am happy nothing bad happened at today's ceremony.  I have mixed feelings about Trump not being there.  His not being there to participate in the transition keeps the whole "it was stolen" narrative alive, but expecting him to do anything other than petulantly flounce like the spoiled child he is is like expecting water to flow uphill.  It's not going to happen, you know it's not going to happen, you wouldn't believe it if you saw it anyway. 

Unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to relax for a while.  As expected, some of the cult members are starting to fall away, while others are doubling down.  Apparently the date to watch for now is March 4th, which is supposedly the original inauguration date "as specified in the Constitution" (it's not) and is when "the generals" rise up, arrest everybody, and install Trump as President again. 

There is genuine concern that some cult members will harm themselves today.  I only hope they decide not to harm others in the process. 

At least he didn't blanket pardon the insurrectionists.  That was a low-but-not-entirely-zero probability event, and that would have been bad

Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #2016 on: January 20, 2021, 06:17:09 PM »
Apropos of absolutely nothing, but Bannon always looks like a guy whose liver is about to give up the ghost.

I've always thought he was Barron Trump from the future.

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I have mixed feelings about Trump not being there.

I'm surprised at myself that I don't.  Traditionally the transfer of power is a handshake between the incoming and outgoing Presidents.  But Trump has no respect for tradition, and we have no respect for his respect of tradition.  It would have been an empty gesture, just like all of Trump's other attempts at cordiality.  And he probably would have still figured out a way to make President Biden's inauguration somehow still all about him.  And if he didn't, it's a fair bet the media would have.

Goodbye and good riddance.

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There is genuine concern that some cult members will harm themselves today.  I only hope they decide not to harm others in the process.

Well I don't want anybody to get hurt.  I didn't realize it was getting as bad cosmological doomsday cults such as from 2012.  It's one thing to be disappointed that your favored candidate didn't win, and to have legitimate concerns about the political direction of your country because of it.  It's another thing to have expected Donald Trump be enthroned as some "God Emperor" and now to contemplate that it's the End Times since it didn't happen.

It's far too easy to create crazy religions in America.

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At least he didn't blanket pardon the insurrectionists.  That was a low-but-not-entirely-zero probability event, and that would have been bad.

As if he cares a single iota about any of them.

But at least now they can't testify against him, if they choose to invoke the Fifth Amendment.  Not that the rank and file insurgents likely would have any damaging testimony.  But if it is suspected that the Capitol assault was organized with the cooperation of members of the administration, that would be some dynamite.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline LunarOrbit

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #2017 on: January 20, 2021, 06:56:06 PM »
Let's hope this comes back to bite him in the behind.  Now pardoned, Steve Bannon cannot plead the Fifth Amendment for evidence he might given on any federal charges against Donald Trump that might involve Bannon's exculpated crimes.

Is that likely? I mean, was that a 'tactical' mistake by Trump? So he cannot claim self-incrimination but he'd just lie anyway, wouldn't he?


I would hope that the pardon doesn't protect him from future crimes, such as perjury. (even if his lies are regarding the crimes he was pardoned for).
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Offline Peter B

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #2018 on: January 20, 2021, 07:13:01 PM »
[snip]

Trump's pardoning of Steve Bannon is a terrible decision

[snip]

I'm surprised he didn't pardon family members, less so that he didn't pardon Rudi Giuliani.

Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #2019 on: January 20, 2021, 08:38:40 PM »
I would hope that the pardon doesn't protect him from future crimes, such as perjury. (even if his lies are regarding the crimes he was pardoned for).

Prospective pardons are precluded by ex parte Garland.  A pardon may not issue to protect acts that have not yet been committed.  However, a pardon need not wait for a response from the government.  As soon as the act is committed, it becomes pardonable at any point.  An interesting point is that a pardon may be retracted up to the point where it is served on the beneficiary.  As soon as the person being pardoned has received a copy of the instrument of pardon, it becomes binding.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #2020 on: January 20, 2021, 09:08:14 PM »
I'm surprised he didn't pardon family members, less so that he didn't pardon Rudi Giuliani.

That would likely provoke a test of the extent of the President's pardon power.  The pardon power is not absolute.  Constitutionally, it is precluded "in the case of Impeachment," and there is great debate over what that actually means.  Just the fact of it being limited in the Constitution raises the question of reviewability. (Traditionally, though not required, the Justice Department reviews proposed pardons.)  But insofar as the intent of the pardon power, it's mean to correct miscarriages of justice.  And this would be the textualist interpretation, so the Supreme Court is not going to help out the Trump clan if it seems that the former President has used it to reward loyalty or protect his friends from the proper carriage of justice.  Pardoning family members, especially before any charges are filed, would probably prompt a review of the pardon power that frankly no one wants.

And again, it's not clear in various venues of U.S. law whether acceptance of a pardon constitutes an admission of guilt which would then have power in a civil trial.  So it's not necessarily a gift to pardon Trump's family members.  Can you imagine how many people would want to sue the little Trumplings in civil court if the pardon effectively stipulated to various acts?

At the prospect of federal criminal charges, it's possible the Trumps are circling the wagons, hoping that they can all just plead the Fifth and collectively avoid inculpation.  But the more probable explanation is that there's no guarantee any of them will be criminally charge for anything at the federal level (the limit of Presidential pardon power), so maybe the rationale is that a pardon would have been unnecessary anyway.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Zakalwe

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #2021 on: January 21, 2021, 02:33:53 AM »
Apropos of absolutely nothing, but Bannon always looks like a guy whose liver is about to give up the ghost. 


Whilst I would never wish ill on someone else, absolutely nothing of value to the world would be lost if it did give up the ghost.
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Offline jfb

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #2022 on: January 21, 2021, 07:33:06 AM »
At least he didn't blanket pardon the insurrectionists.  That was a low-but-not-entirely-zero probability event, and that would have been bad.

As if he cares a single iota about any of them.

But at least now they can't testify against him, if they choose to invoke the Fifth Amendment.  Not that the rank and file insurgents likely would have any damaging testimony.  But if it is suspected that the Capitol assault was organized with the cooperation of members of the administration, that would be some dynamite.

Given that some of them are giving television interviews saying, "yeah, I was there, and I did it because the President told us to," along with all the selfies and livestreams they posted to social media, I don’t think the Fifth Amendment is on their radar.  They genuinely do not believe that  they or Trump did anything wrong. 

Their attorneys have their work cut out for them.  A lot of relatively affluent white people are about to be introduced to the uglier side of the American criminal justice system, and they aren’t going to understand.

Offline gillianren

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #2023 on: January 21, 2021, 10:51:06 AM »
Mass prosecutions of those people will be good for the country not just because, you know, armed sedition but because we need to show that affluent white people can suffer consequences, too.  They haven't, much, historically, and everyone knows it.  So even if they knew they'd done anything wrong, which they obviously don't--see that woman hyping her real estate business at every minute--they might have assumed they'd never face consequences anyway because affluent white people.

I expect the state charges against the family to roll any minute now.
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Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #2024 on: January 21, 2021, 12:31:55 PM »
Given that some of them are giving television interviews saying, "yeah, I was there, and I did it because the President told us to," along with all the selfies and livestreams they posted to social media, I don’t think the Fifth Amendment is on their radar.  They genuinely do not believe that  they or Trump did anything wrong.

For those against whom there is a prodigious body of evidence, it's true the Fifth Amendment won't help much.  The other side of the coin would be people who just wandered into the Capitol after the breaches and committed no other offense.  Asked later, "Were you present inside the Capitol building during the riots?" it might still be advantageous to take the Fifth because you don't want any part of a chain of evidence constructed against you solely by admitting that you were there at all.  If there is little other evidence to place you at the scene, why would you voluntarily admit to that?

Classically the Fifth Amendment protects against coercing a confession for one thing under subpoena for something else.  But the phrase "would tend to incriminate" is important because you can be perfectly innocent of any wrongdoing, but be caught up in something where describing it could persuade a reasonable person that you might be involved.  Your testimony only has to tend to incriminate you, not reveal actual wrongdoing.  Again, it's unlikely that people in that situation would have evidence against Donald Trump that would make them material witnesses.  But that's sometimes the dynamic of refusing to testify.

As you say:

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Their attorneys have their work cut out for them.

It really does take a lawyer to sift through various options for cooperating with authorities and advise a client conscientiously, and every case is different.  Another option, of course, is cutting a deal for testimony.  Promising immunity from prosecution for some crime in exchange for testimony that reveals and admits to that crime is a time-honored way of resolving these issues.

But back to the group you identify:  people who collected copious amounts of evidence against themselves under the mistaken belief that their actions were authorized by the President.  Keep in mind that Donald Trump still faces a trial in the Senate, and one possible outcome of that trial can be a bar against holding any subsequent public office.  Pardoning people who say they are acting on his authority, yet doing something illegal, would undermine his likely defense that he had no intention of inciting violence and did not direct the crowd to break the law.  A pardon says that any justice meted out to them for their actions would have been a miscarriage.  Instead he has to pin the blame for the riot solely on them in order to be acquitted.

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A lot of relatively affluent white people are about to be introduced to the uglier side of the American criminal justice system, and they aren’t going to understand.

Not only will it be shock because they think they're innocent, but probably also a shocking discovery that the wholesome, brave image that law enforcement wants to portray in general largely vanishes when you are accused and convicted of a crime and being dealt with by them.  Yes, Trumpsquatch finally got his organic num-nums.  But I agree a large number of other people are going to realize they really aren't as special as they thought they were, and that what those other folks were saying about police misconduct wasn't as farfetched as it sounded at first.

But on the plus side, there is the potential for meaningful police reform if someone other than the BLM community registers complaints for the same alleged behavior.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams