SUBLIME:

“Letter From the Rikers Island Jail”

By “Donald J. Trump”

[As dictated to Steven F. Hayward]

[With apologies to Martin Luther King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail”]

Dear Losers and Haters:

While confined here in the Rikers Island Jail, I came across your recent Statement calling my past and present activities “extreme,” “reckless” and a “threat to democracy.” Always do I leap to point out what losers you all are! If I didn’t answer all of the attacks thrown my way, my secretaries and staff would have little to do, and Truth Social would go broke. But since you are all such complete haters I wouldn’t want to pass up the chance to remind everyone again. Sad!

ORANGE IS THE NEW ORANGE:

Donald Trump had lots of negative opinions about felons. Now he is one. (Lois Beckett, Jun 2024, The Guardian)


Donald Trump has spent years complaining that American police and the criminal legal system should be “very much tougher”, arguing that some criminals should not be protected by civil liberties, police should rough up suspects and a much wider range of people should face the death penalty for breaking the law.

Now that the former president has been convicted on 34 felony counts for falsifying business records, Trump is arguing that the US legal system is out of control. “If they can do this to me, they can do this to anyone,” he said on Friday.


Here’s a recap of some of Trump’s notable comments about “felons” and “criminals” – and a look at how the convict himself has actually been treated.

STILL TIGHTENING:

The other 54 criminal charges Trump faces (Derek Hawkins, Nick Mourtoupalas and Azi Paybarah, May 30, 2024, Washington Post)


A New York jury convicted Donald Trump on Thursday of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to conceal money paid to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels in 2016, to prevent her from speaking publicly about a sexual encounter she claims they had years earlier.

But that conviction is just one of the legal obstacles the former president faces. There are also 54 criminal charges spread across three other cases. Two cases are related to Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election, which he lost; and the third is about classified documents that Trump allegedly took after he left the White House.

THE TIGHTENING NOOSE:

Star witness Michael Cohen says Trump was intimately involved in all aspects of hush money scheme (MICHAEL R. SISAK, JILL COLVIN, ERIC TUCKER AND JAKE OFFENHARTZ, May 13, 2024, NY Times)


“We need to stop this from getting out,” Cohen quoted Trump as telling him in reference to porn actor Stormy Daniels’ account of a sexual encounter with Trump a decade earlier. The then-candidate was especially anxious about how the story would affect his standing with female voters.

A similar episode occurred when Cohen alerted Trump that a Playboy model was alleging that she and Trump had an extramarital affair. “Make sure it doesn’t get released,” was Cohen’s message to Trump, the lawyer said. The woman, Karen McDougal, was paid $150,000 in an arrangement that was made after Trump received a “complete and total update on everything that transpired.”

“What I was doing, I was doing at the direction of and benefit of Mr. Trump,” Cohen testified.

IT’S A rico CASE:

THE COURTROOM(S) CAMPAIGN (Politico 4/25/24)

Over the course of roughly 24 hours since yesterday morning, Trump …

… was revealed as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the “fake electors” scheme in Michigan during a court proceeding;

… was identified as “unindicted co-conspirator 1” in a slate of new grand jury indictments over Arizona’s “fake electors” scheme that saw his former attorney RUDY GIULIANI and former White House chief of staff MARK MEADOWS both charged;

… will be the subject of a Supreme Court case today as the justices hear oral arguments over his claims of immunity from criminal prosecution stemming from his attempts to overturn the 2020 election;

… will return to a Manhattan courtroom for another day of testimony from former National Enquirer chief DAVID PECKER in his criminal trial for alleged election interference and business fraud; and

… could see the judge in that case, JUAN MERCHAN, rule on whether he violated a gag order.

JUST WARMING UP:

‘It can happen again’: Judge set to preside over Trump trial delivers her toughest Jan. 6 sentence to date (KYLE CHENEY, 04/19/2024, Politico)

Chutkan, who is in line to preside over the criminal trial of Donald Trump for his bid to subvert the 2020 election, emphasized her belief that the Jan. 6 mob attack was “close to as serious a crisis as this nation has ever faced.” She lauded officers who, though outnumbered and ill-equipped, fought to protect the building.

“They faced horrendous circumstances. They were assaulted, spat on, beaten, kicked, gassed,” Chutkan said. “They are patriots.”

Chutkan also worried that the conditions that caused Jan. 6 still exist.

“It can happen again,” the Obama-appointed judge said. “Extremism is alive and well in this country. Threats of violence continue unabated.”

RACISM IS THE TRUMP BRAND:

Trump says he’s long worked ‘hand in hand’ with Black people. Let’s review. (Glenn Kessler, February 27, 2024, Washington Post)

You could begin the story in the 1950s, when Trump’s father, Fred, became the subject of a protest song, “Old Man Trump,” written by one of his tenants, folk singer Woody Guthrie, who objected to the all-White environs of his apartment complex. “I suppose that Old Man Trump knows just how much racial hate he stirred up in that bloodpot of human hearts when he drawed that color line here at his Beach Haven family project … Beach Haven is Trump’s Tower / Where no black folks come to roam,” the lyrics go.


Trump’s first appearance in the New York Times was under the headline “Major Landlord Accused of Antiblack Bias in City.” The front-page article detailed how the Justice Department had brought suit in federal court against Trump and his father, charging them with violating the 1968 Fair Housing Act (another LBJ bill that helped Black people) in the operation of 39 buildings through their Trump Management Corporation. The city Human Rights Commission had tested what would happen if Black and White people tried to rent the same Trump apartments — and discovered White people could easily get a rental but Black people were told nothing was available. A DOJ subpoena revealed that Black applications were marked with a “C,” for “colored.”

Donald Trump, then 27, took the lead in defending the case and told the Times that the charges “are absolutely ridiculous.” He added: “We never have discriminated and we never would.” The Trump Management Corporation turned around and sued the U.S. government right back.

Elyse Goldweber, a Justice Department lawyer who brought the suit, recalled in 2019 that Trump remarked to her during a coffee break: “You know, you don’t want to live with them either.”

JUST THE FACTS:

Congress has already disqualified Trump from the ballot (Tristan Snell, February 8, 2024, CNN)

Those votes came in the second impeachment of Trump, in January and February of 2021, in which majorities of both the House and the Senate backed an article of impeachment against Trump for “incitement of insurrection.”

This was a finding of fact, by majorities of our elected representatives, after a full public trial in which Trump was able to mount a defense — and it should be deemed persuasive, if not conclusive, in answering the factual questions before the Supreme Court. Indeed, for the more right-wing justices, who are often fond of pontificating that courts should not make policy judgments and should instead defer to legislatures, one would think that such a clear public pronouncement from Congress on Trump’s engagement in insurrection would be a compelling precedent.


To be clear, the 14th Amendment does not actually require anyone to have voted to disqualify an insurrectionist, whether that’s a legislature or a jury. It certainly does not require a conviction, as some have tried to argue (and such bastardization of the plain language of a constitutional provision is exactly the opposite of what conservatives normally preach).

Legally, the insurrectionist is disqualified the moment he engages in insurrection.

NOT A CLOSE RUN THING:

Donald Trump Meets the Supreme Court (PETER J WALLISON, FEB 1, 2024, Peter’s Substack)

This was a constitutional democracy protecting itself—in this case from a person or persons who are so untrustworthy that their oaths were worthless.

It happens that Section 3 applies to Mr. Trump, because he took an oath to support the Constitution when he was inaugurated as President in 2017, and violated that oath by attempting to overthrow the Constitution’s electoral principles in 2021. He does not even have to be convicted of that; he has already admitted that he tried to change the electoral rules in 2021, but argues that he was only doing what he was required to do as President. It is likely that the Supreme Court will find otherwise.

For the reasons stated earlier, Mr. Trump poses a particular risk for this country, and it is fortuitous that his case falls within the terms of a constitutional amendment that Congress enacted over 150 years ago to protect the United States against unscrupulous people who would violate their oaths to attain and hold power.

In my view, considering each of these elements, the Supreme Court will uphold this constitutional restriction by disqualifying Donald Trump.

TRUMPBOTS HARDEST HIT:

Ray Epps, face of Jan. 6 conspiracies, to be sentenced (Ashley Oliver, January 06, 2024, Washington Examiner)

Ray Epps, who has been widely accused by former President Donald Trump’s supporters of secretly working on behalf of the federal government during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, is set to be sentenced next week for his actions that day.

Epps, 62, was charged last fall with a misdemeanor for disorderly conduct in a restricted area and pleaded guilty.