From blatant collusion with a foreign adversary, bribery of Ukrainian officials, Emolument Clause and campaign finance violations to incitement of insurrection, Donald Trump may be the most guilty man never charged in America.
Many of these alleged criminal acts were presented as reassuringly simple and straightforward. Let’s examine some of them:
Campaign Finance Violation: Trump should have been charged with campaign finance violations related to hush money paid to former stripper Stormy Daniels. The case was touted by many experts as a slam-dunk criminal charge.
As noted by The Hill columnist Jonathan Turley, “the campaign finance charge actually was one of the more credible claims, since former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to it.” However, the DOJ decided not to pursue criminal charges.
Bribery: Former prosecutor and Washington Post columnist Randall Eliason made the case that Trump committed bribery in the Ukraine scandal since “allegations of a wrongful quid pro quo are really just another way of saying that there was a bribe … it’s bribery if a quid pro quo is sought with corrupt intent, if the president is not pursuing legitimate U.S. policy but instead is wrongfully demanding actions by Ukraine that would benefit him personally.” Others claimed Trump committed “felony bribery” by fundraising for Republican senators when he was about to be impeached. But Trump was acquitted by a Republican-led Senate.
Collusion with Russia: Former House impeachment counsel Norman Eisen claimed that, by not responding to Russian aggression, Trump was “colluding in plain sight” and the criminal case against him for obstruction of justice was “devastating.” Former Watergate prosecutor Nick Ackerman said Donald Trump Jr.’s emails about meeting with Russians at Trump Tower were “almost a smoking cannon,” adding that “there’s almost no question this is treason.” Professor Richard Painter claimed a clear case for treason. Harvard professor Laurence Tribe declared Trump’s dictation of a misleading statement about the Trump Tower meeting constituted witness tampering; Tribe previously found compelling evidence of obstruction of justice, criminal election violations, Logan Act violations, extortion and possible treason by Trump or his family.
Incitement of Insurrection: Experts claim Trump’s Jan. 6 speech clearly was criminal incitement. Said legal analyst Elie Honig: “As a prosecutor I’d gladly show a jury Trump’s own inflammatory statements and argue they cross the line to criminality.” Richard Ashby Wilson, associate law school dean at the University of Connecticut, said “Trump crossed the Rubicon and incited a mob to attack the U.S. Capitol as Congress was in the process of tallying the Electoral College vote results. He should be criminally indicted for inciting insurrection against our democracy.”
“This guy was inciting not just imminent lawless action, but the violent decapitation of a coordinate branch of the government, preventing this peaceful transition of power and putting a violent mob into the Capitol while he cheered them on,” Tribe said.
However, as Turley writes, “What’s strange is that there’s no word of a criminal charge on a clear crime committed more than a month ago.”
The litany of crimes breathlessly suggested over the last four years passed without charges. However, there’s no longer an excuse that Trump cannot be indicted in office, or that he would just pardon himself. What was conveniently hypothetical can be an actual prosecution today.”