Editorials: Electoral Tribunal insults; and Closing in on the Trumps

Illegal: Soliciting votes for your cousin on Facebook
Legal: Laundering bribes into a campaign fund used to buy ads in the rabiblanco media
Legal: Kickbacks from overpriced public contracts to buy Ricky Martinelli’s media empire / propaganda arm

Deals being cut, frauds being run

The Electoral Tribunal, which has the power and duty to regulate the publication of opinion polls, tried to ban them outright until they were overruled by the Supreme Court. So now the partisan magistrates “regulate” – by promulgating a poll that was published in La Estrella that was patently fraudulent. Supposedly, it was a survey taken two months before a seven-way presidential election, which found NOBODY undecided.

Uh huh. And what other frauds are the magistrates going to run on Panama in this election year?

Trump’s desperate defenders. Set aside for a moment the bizarre paranoia. Also set aside the gross detour from decency and decorum to suggest the suicide of your political foes. This is pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy stuff, and consider what it means. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) provides that in espionage and other cases where US foreign intelligence services have generated information that may be useful in a trial, or when a warrant is needed in such a case, there are secret court session to determine questions surrounding these matters so as not to out American spies or give away intelligence gathering secrets. There can be little doubt that all of the electronic bank transactions involving the Trumps were intercepted by the National Security Agency, for example. Here Trump supporters call for the outing of all US intelligence agents and the revelation of the most closely guarded secret methods of obtaining information about things happening in the world. They’re all a bunch of Deep State pigs to the QAnon crowd, but think about what the presence of such fanatics in the president’s political entourage must mean to the men and women who risk their lives for America. It’s getting to be not just a heated argument, but an institutional crisis. From a QAnon Twitter post.

The trap begins to close on the Trumps

The New York state attorney general has subpoenaed a trove of banking information from the Deutsche Bank, through which a lot of the proceeds of the theft of the public assets of the former Soviet Union flowed en route to being laundered in Trump real estate deals. US House of Representatives committees, most notably the House Finance Committee headed by Maxine Waters, are getting much of the same stuff.

How much of this has Robert Mueller uncovered in his investigation? Remember that he has a relatively narrow mandate to look at Russian intervention in the 2016 elections, but with the proviso that any other criminal activities that he comes across while looking for that he can also investigate and prosecute – or hand over to others, like US attorneys in the Southern District of New York, the District of Columbia or the Northern District of Virginia, for examples.

So might Trump now fire Mueller? Might he order the Justice Department to suppress Mueller’s findings? Might he pardon those who would give damning evidence against him, so as to buy their silence? Might he somehow convince the GOP-dominated Supreme Court to uphold his “red line” about no investigations of things that happened before he ran for president, to validate Donald Trump Jr.’s maxim that things in “past lives” don’t count?

However, presidents can only pardon for federal crimes. They can order the US Attorney General around – although there are practical political limits to that – but have no such authority over states’ attorneys general.

We are talking about a long-running and notoriously mobbed up family business that’s established and headquartered in the State of New York. Not just Donald Trump but also his three children who are in the family business are likely to be implicated. Fraud, money laundering and racketeering are emerging as the likely main issues. If prosecutors are conservative about indicting a sitting president, they would not be under any such compulsion as to Trump’s offspring. A resignation prompted by the threat that they might spend the rest of their lives in prison may be the key to end the great national embarrassment that is the Donald Trump presidency.



Bear in mind…

A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.
Jack London

There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.
Willa Cather

Rage is the only quality which has kept me, or anybody I have ever studied, writing columns for newspapers.
Jimmy Breslin
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