Day 688 Sunday November 25, 2018 903 Days to Go
Let’s talk treason.
Rachel Maddow has a seven part podcast called “Bag Man.” I highly recommend it. Maddow is an excellent storyteller. In this seven part series she describes the case against Spiro Agnew. He was taking kickbacks from contractors for as long as he had been in public office. He did it as a county executive, as a governor, and as the Vice-President of the United States. Three thirty year old prosecutors in Maryland had built a bullet proof case against him; forty indictments were ready to roll, and here is where it gets interesting.
Agnew denied the allegations. He called it a witch hunt. He blamed “the liberal media.” He was very popular with the Republican base. He had a huge following that believed in him.
At the same time this was going on Watergate was coming to its conclusion. Nixon’s time in office was very short and everyone knew it. That meant Agnew would become the President of the United States.
Alexander Haig who was Chief of Staff to the President knew the situations of both men. When he heard that there were forty indictments ready to be served on Agnew his immediate thought was “double impeachment.” This would mean the Speaker of The House, a Democrat, would become President.
Something had to be done. Elliott Richardson, the Attorney General, offered Agnew a one time deal: resign immediately and you will serve no jail time, and you won’t have to return the money, you’ll have to plead no contest to one count of tax fraud. This flew in the face of “no man is above the law,” but no one had ever tested whether a President or a VP could be arrested while in office. In this case the AG determined the most important thing was to get Agnew out of the line of succession, which if he didn’t, within weeks or days he would become President.
So that’s one thing that was going on during my senior year in college. The other was Watergate, which Nixon tried to stop, and to obstruct. He even got the head of the criminal division of the FBI to tell him what was going on with the investigation. The same guy who had to go to Agnew’s lawyers to cut the deal.
Bear in mind that the head of the Criminal Division of the FBI now is a guy who did legal work for the Russian bank that had servers talking to the servers in Trump Tower. His job was to clean up the bank’s image and legal problems in connection with those allegations.
Also, realize that the guy who is AG is someone who has openly said he’ll do the president’s bidding and by some accounts not constitutionally able to serve in that post. (Yet, there he is!)
But let’s move on to treason. I guess if you’re a Republican president in the modern era you can claim it’s okay to commit treason because everybody does it. Nixon did it. Reagan did it. Trump did it. Papa Bush did not, as far as we know, but he did try to influence the Agnew investigation at the behest of the President so he’s only involved with obstruction of justice. That leaves W as the lone exception. But he allowed his VP to set up torture programs and exposing a CIA agent, which would have landed Cheney in jail except they made sure the lady wasn’t on an overseas assignment, which would have made it a crime. W’s biggest problem was he wasn’t very bright; but he shines like a beacon of wisdom compared to what we have now.
In Trump we have everything that Nixon and Agnew did rolled into one and more.
Let’s review shall we:
He committed treason before taking the office by negotiating with a foreign power.
He colluded with an adversary during his campaign and continues to do so in office.
He is guilty of taking emoluments, prohibited by the Constitution.
He has lied to the American People over 6,000 times. This was one of the articles of impeachment against Nixon.
He has committed fraud by misrepresenting the value of his properties for tax purposes, and along with three of his children has on numerous occasions mis-stated the number of units sold in various projects to obtain more favorable rates from banks.
He has acted in bad faith with people he has hired to do work for him as is evidenced, most recently, by the over five million dollars in liens on his hotel in downtown DC.
That’s a partial list, but it should be enough to get him removed from office. It seems doubtful that the Senate would vote to impeach him or that the VP along with the Cabinet would vote to remove him so it is left to the Justice Department to arrest him, which seems unlikely given who is now in charge and who is head of the criminal division, and that’s an avenue that has never been put to the test.
903 Days to Go