No, Trump Did Not Commit A Crime In Threatening To Withhold Funds From Michigan [Updated]

      Once again, I agreed with the overall criticism of the comment, but my concern, again, is with the need to presume or suggest criminality when the statement could just as easily be non-criminal and constitutional.  It is the hair-trigger response that I have criticized in the past, including statements that the tweet is clear evidence of extortion.
      University of Texas School of Law professor and CNN legal analyst Stephen Vladeck tweeted that Trump’s tweet was clearly unconstitutional:

Steve Vladeck

@steve_vladeck

In a single tweet, the President:

1) Lies (that’s not what MI is doing);

2) Asserts without support that someone else is breaking the law;

3) Threatens action that would itself be unconstitutional; &

4) All in service of an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory about voter fraud. https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/1263074783673102337 

     It was an odd conclusion when Trump did not say what funds would be withheld. Moreover, Trump said “I will ask to hold up” funding. Thus, he could be referring to funds that are discretionary in their distribution or he may be suggesting asking Congress to withhold such funds.  Either could be constitutional.  Yet, Vladeck is able to immediately declare the suggestion to be unconstitutional on its face. 

     Vladeck later added that the tweet was not just unconstitutional but illegal.

Steve Vladeck

@steve_vladeck

Except that withholding federal funds over (unrelated) policy disagreements is itself “illegal[] and without authorization.”

View image on Twitter

Once again, the statement could be entirely legal if the funds were discretionary or Trump asked for the restrictions from Congress.  Such things appear to matter little.  Simply declaring a tweet a crime is instantly accepted and repeated on networks like CNN and MSNBC.

Then there is former Director of the Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub, who also declared this a crime in the making. Shaub has also been one of the most reliable sources for declaring tweets and comments to be criminal or impeachable matters against Trump.

Shaub was relying on 18 U.S. Code § 598, which states:

Whoever uses any part of any appropriation made by Congress for work relief, relief, or for increasing employment by providing loans and grants for public-works projects, or exercises or administers any authority conferred by any Appropriation Act for the purpose of interfering with, restraining, or coercing any individual in the exercise of his right to vote at any election, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

Again, the analysis leaps to a conclusion without any factual foundation.  Trump could have been referring to asking Congress for such restrictions. Moreover, if the funds were discretionary, it would be distributed according to the congressional design. Finally, even if funds were restricted in conflict with congressional intent, one would have to prove that it was done “for the purpose of interfering with, restraining, or coercing any individual in the exercise of his right to vote.” Trump is arguing that mail voting increases fraud in voting.  Instead, he is advocating the use of in person voting. He is not denying the ability to vote per se.

Of course, there is legitimate objection that, in a pandemic, the denial of this option would deter voting.  However, that is a matter that would turn on the specific facts of any restriction. For example, mail voting might be allowed subject to added anti-fraud guarantees.  The tweet says nothing on such specifics.  Indeed, the law does not state that any limitation affecting voting is a crime. It must restrain, coerce, or interfere with the act of voting.  Again, we would need to know the specifics before declaring that the tweet is clearly contemplating a crime.

Then there is former federal prosecutor Richard Signorelli, who declared the tweet to be extortion and not just criminal but impeachable. Yes, a new impeachment.

Richard Signorelli@richsignorelli

.@realDonaldTrump committing once again the crime of extortion in plain sight, now against the State of Michigan. Unfortunately, I believe he is forcing the hand of the House to commence new impeachment hearings for his continued criminality. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1263074783673102337 

     That, of course, is legally incomprehensible and unsupportable but it does not matter.  I addressed the same type of claim in my testimony during the Trump impeachment. It was one of the suggested articles of impeachment and even the House Democrats rejected.  The Supreme Court has narrowly defined these terms and such cases would bar the claim here.  My earlier testimony lays out this case law.
     The problem is that there remains an insatiable appetite for such legal analysis in the current echo-journalistic world.  Criminal laws are treated as endlessly flexible and fluid. Case law is disregarded and few even bother to address the actual elements required for these crimes. Indeed, the Washington Post just ran a column on a Trump related case that wildly misrepresented the holding of the Fourth Circuit, but it did not issue any correction.  It simply does not matter what the court or, for that matter, what the law says.
     President Trump also possesses a right to freedom of speech like other citizens. He was objecting to the use of mail voting as inherently more susceptible to fraud — a view shared by many.  He then said that he would ask to limit funds.  We do not criminalize such statements in this country. We also do not criminalize asking Congress for such restrictions.
     None of this will deter or diminish such legal analysis, which is meant to be more cathartic than credible for readers.  Of course, the unlimited interpretations of the criminal code was once viewed as abusive and dangerous for civil liberties. The use of the code for political purposes is a danger that defines some of the most authoritarian nations.  Yet, this is now a form of entertainment, if not a competition, to criminalize every statement or action by the President.  These analysts ignore that these unhinged interpretations could easily be applied to another president of their liking.  It not only trivializes the criminal code but robs the code of its moral and legal content.

 

UPDATE:

Two of those referenced in the both blog posting have responded and their objections should be considered as part of this discussion.  I have also responded to those objections below.

SHAUB RESPONSE

Shaub has responded that I misrepresented what he said because he was only saying that “it is worth considering” whether a crime has been committed. After calling me a “political analyst”, Shaub insists that it is unfair to say that he presented this as a “crime in the making.”  His point appears to be that he is better described as raising this criminal provision not as a “crime in the making” but rather “it is worth considering if this is a crime in the making.” It is a subtle distinction to be sure. Notably, the article linked on the blog also described his posting as saying “that if Trump were to follow through on his threat it would likely constitute a crime under federal law.”  The point is the same.  Shaub was relying, again, on a clearly frivolous foundation of this tweet for such a serious allegation. 

Notably,  as reported in the same article, Steve Vladeck also tweeted:  “@waltshaub notes, federal law makes it a *crime* to hold out appropriations in order to intererfere with individuals’ exercise of their right to vote.”

Steve Vladeck

@steve_vladeck

As @waltshaub notes, federal law makes it a *crime* to hold out appropriations in order to intererfere with individuals’ exercise of their right to vote:https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/598 

View image on Twitter

Shaub does not call those interpretations of his statements as misrepresentations or address the clear import that there is a serious criminal allegation to be addressed. More importantly, he does not defend the clearly sensational claim in his use of the tweet.

VLADECK RESPONSE
Vladeck also responded on Twitter:
Vladeck insists that I misrepresented his tweets. He fails to mention that the tweets were presented in full in the original blog.  He then goes to his main objections.

Steve Vladeck
@steve_vladeck

Replying to

Turley’s first objection is to the third point in this tweet. He claims I wrote that the suggestion in Trump’s tweet *itself* is unconstitutional—even though all I said was that Trump had “threaten[ed] *action* that would itself be unconstitutional.”
Vladeck omits that I specifically addressed the claim of the underlying action.  The whole point of the blog was that this action could easily be lawful because Trump did not say what funds would be withheld. Moreover, Trump said “I will ask to hold up” funding. Thus, he could be referring to funds that are discretionary in their distribution or he may be suggesting asking Congress to withhold such funds.  Either could be constitutional.  I then stated ” Yet, Vladeck is able to immediately declare the suggestion to be unconstitutional on its face.” Vladeck just chooses to pretend that the blog only addressed the tweet and not the underlying action that he immediately claimed to unconstitutional and illegal.
Vladeck also states
“Turley doubles down in going after a second tweet of mine, which he describes as arguing that Trump’s “tweet was not just unconstitutional but illegal.” Again, I think it’s clear I was describing the proposed *withholding of funds,* not the tweet itself.”
Again,  Vladeck ignores the repeated point.  I was also addressing the proposed withholding of funds, but specifically the fact that he said he would “ask” for such withholding of funds.  Valdeck again omits the key language. If Trump or anyone is to be accused of suggesting a criminal and unconstitutional course of action, the actual language would seem material to that analysis.  I do not know what Trump was contemplating but the language does not allow such a clear cut declaration of criminality from this description.
What Trump described could be legal or illegal. There was no basis to assume that the action would be illegal based on the tweet.  Instead of addressing that fact, Vladeck narrows the question to whether tweeting alone would be a crime. The point is that the tweet was suggesting a course that was not, as stated by Vladeck, clearly clearly unconstitutional or criminal.  Yet, he immediately tweeted out yet another crime in the making.
Finally, Vladeck states
“This may seem like semantics, but Turley’s bottom-line is that folks like me are seeking to criminalize the President’s *speech*, and will reap the consequences in a future administration. I don’t think either of the tweets I sent can fairly be read as supporting his claim.”
You can read for yourself but I never stated or suggested anything about a future administration. My issue is with the hair trigger analysis where experts assume that every tweet is describing a criminal course of conduct.  If the entire blog was only on the tweet itself and not the underlying action, I would not have gotten into the different possible forms or scenarios that such withholding of funds could take.
Again, at no point does Vladeck address that fact that the action described in the tweet (and declared unconstitutional and illegal) could be entirely constitutional and legal. There was no basis to declare that the “threatened action” was unconstitutional and illegal.  While some like Signorelli described the tweet as part of an extortion crime, Vladeck was telling readers that such action would be clearly unconstitutional and criminal when it would not be.  There was not even a recognition that the action of withholding funds could be entirely lawful.  Indeed, his response seems to restate that assertion that any withholding would be per se unconstitutional and unlawful which is clearly untrue in my opinion.

114 thoughts on “No, Trump Did Not Commit A Crime In Threatening To Withhold Funds From Michigan [Updated]”

  1. With Shelby County V. Holder,

    Supreme Court Pretends Voter Suppression No Longer Exists

    The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and subsequent amendments enfranchised many millions of excluded Americans by eliminating literacy tests and authorizing federal officials to register voters and monitor elections. But in 2013, in the case of Shelby County v. Holder, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down one of the act’s most effective provisions, which required states and localities with a history of voter discrimination to clear changes in voting laws and procedures with the Justice Department or the federal district court in Washington. This requirement had forced jurisdictions to prove that such changes did not have a discriminatory purpose or effect.

    The Shelby majority held that the “pervasive,” “flagrant,” “widespread” and “rampant” discrimination that Congress sought to correct in 1965 no longer existed in the 21st century. But by not considering new forms of voter suppression, the court unleashed a Republican push to erode voting rights nationwide. That restriction is vital to the political future of the GOP. The party’s base of older white Christian voters is shrinking. It cannot manufacture more of these voters, so it is attempting to restrict turnout by the rising Democratic base of racial minorities and young people.

    Restriction has taken a number of forms. About 10 states, all controlled by Republicans, have in place stringent photo-ID laws for voting that especially burden minorities who are less likely than whites to possess required identification. Other Republican-controlled states have initiated stringent purges of voter rolls for nonvoting over a period of years, with minorities disproportionately represented among the canceled registrations.

    Republican-controlled states also have closed numerous polling places, making access to voting more difficult, especially for less affluent minorities who depend on public transportation. A 2016 study of a limited sample of 381 counties in Republican-controlled states found that since 2013, 43 percent had closed polling places, piling up a total of 868 closures.

    Yet study after study has demonstrated that voter fraud is extremely rare in recent elections. Even an analysis by the National Republican Lawyers Association aimed at uncovering as much voter fraud as possible found only 332 alleged cases of fraud of any kind nationwide from 1997 through 2011, out of many hundreds of millions of ballots cast.

    The real problem with American elections is not voter fraud but abysmally low turnout that ranks the United States near the bottom of peer democracies. Only 38 percent of U.S. citizens voted in the 2014 midterm elections, leaving about 140 million votes on the table.

    Edited from: “Voter Fraud Isn’t A Problem In America. Low Turnout Is”

    The Washington Post, 10/22/18

    1. Turley’s errors turn out to be even worse. See Shaub’s subsequent responses and tweets about 4 other lawyers noting today that Turley has mischaracterized their work:
      twitter.com/waltshaub/status/1263579578397634560

      Here’s the response from Steve Vladeck: twitter.com/steve_vladeck/status/1263488985827024896

      The other 3 are Harry Litman (I copied his response into the column on Turley’s criticism of Litman’s op-ed), Elie Honig (@eliehonig), who tweeted “@JonathanTurley did this to me in Washington Post a couple months ago too. Named me in his piece, never @ me, got my argument and the law dead wrong to boot,” and Randall Eliason, who gave another example from November: twitter.com/RDEliason/status/1198620555504738304

      And I criticized Turley recently for misrepresenting Samantha Power’s testimony. He simply doesn’t take care with what people have said (interpreting it in context, making sure that he’s going to the primary source instead of relying on a secondary source’s description, …). It’s shoddy work and he should know/do better.

  2. Less Than 2 Years Ago,

    Elderly Blacks In Georgia Were Stopped From Shuttling To Vote

    On Oct. 15, government officials ordered 40 senior citizens in Jefferson County, Ga., off a bus that was taking them to vote. All of the seniors were black, and the county officials were white. The county administrator defended the move, claiming the bus, organized by Black Votes Matter, was engaged in barred “political activity.”

    This episode was not an isolated example of burdens imposed on minority voters in Georgia. Relying on a 2017 law passed by the Republican-led legislature, Brian Kemp, the Republican secretary of state who is running for governor, suspended about 53,000 registrations that lacked an exact match between information on the registration forms and driver’s licenses or Social Security records. Although the population of Georgia is only about one-third black, African Americans account for about 70 percent of suspended registrations. And in majority-minority Gwinnett County, election officials have rejected 8.5 percent of mail-in absentee ballots, more than four times the statewide rejection rate of about 2 percent.

    In Georgia and elsewhere, the right to vote is increasingly imperiled. That has important implications not only for the outcomes of this year’s midterm election, but for American democracy.

    Edited From: “Voter Fraud Isn’t A Problem In America. Low Turnout Is”

    The Washington Post, 10/22/18

    1. One man, one vote democrazy is not viable. The American Founders established a restricted-vote republic. The first restriction was that immigrants/citizens must have been “…free white person(s)…,” then voters were required to be male, European, 21 with 50 lbs. Sterling/50 acres. The same with the “French legislative elections [which] were held in September 1791 to elect the Legislative Assembly and was the first ever French election” in which “…only citizens paying taxes were allowed to vote.” Incidentally, if one is paid from taxes one cannot pay taxes, and anyone who receives any type of pay or, otherwise, income check from the government, for any reason, must never vote, indeed, their vote is already known – makers vote; takers don’t.

      The more voters, the more largesse, the more benefits, the more entitlements, the more “free stuff,” the more destruction of America.
      ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

      “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the people discover they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy–to be followed by a dictatorship.”

      – Alexander Tytler

  3. Did the American Founders vote by mail and intend for “vote-by-mail” or did they meet the extant vote qualifications, go to polling stations and cast a vote in privacy without outside influence, perhaps in a booth? America is far afield, isn’t it, far, far afield?

    The inmates have taken over the asylum.

  4. So Trump thinks he can withhold federal money from states, or was it a foreign country, it seems to me I heard this one before. Did he make threats to red states that are going for mail-in votes too? Did he tell the military that they could not vote by mail? Oh, now that I’m thinking of it, he did do something like holding money back before didn’t he? Yeah, yeah it was the perfect phone call that got him impeached. On a side note, Turley must be getting tired coming up with excuses for Trump’s behavior and words, but don’t worry Turley, everybody knows Trump ALWAYS pays back people that support and back him. Ask his ghost writers and lawyers and past cabinet members and AG’s and past investors and contractors and ……….Oh hell, this could go on forever.

    1. Fish, yes, it’s great Republicans finally have a boss who acts like one.

      Now if he would actually become half the tyrant he’s accused of being, then we will make real progress.

            1. Is the Governor of Michigan and half tyrant or a whole one? She said you can buy pot and alcohol, but you cannot buy paint or seeds for your garden!

              1. She issued her dictatorial edicts without any discernible legal basis or constitutional provision, certainly not one which nullifies and abrogates individual constitutional rights such as freedom of assembly, freedom of religion and every other conceivable, natural and God-given right per the 9th Amendment.

  5. Vote Fraud Is Rare: Heritage Foundation Data Base

    Widespread calls to conduct the 2020 elections by mail, to protect voters from COVID-19 exposure, are being met with charges that the system inevitably would lead to massive voter fraud. This is simply not true.

    Vote fraud in the United States is exceedingly rare, with mailed ballots and otherwise. Over the past 20 years, about 250 million votes have been cast by a mail ballot nationally. The Heritage Foundation maintains an online database of election fraud cases in the United States and reports that there have been just over 1,200 cases of vote fraud of all forms, resulting in 1,100 criminal convictions, over the past 20 years. Of these, 204 involved the fraudulent use of absentee ballots; 143 resulted in criminal convictions.

    One hundred forty-three cases of fraud using mailed ballots over the course of 20 years comes out to seven to eight cases per year, nationally. It also means that across the 50 states, there has been an average of three cases per state over the 20-year span. That is just one case per state every six or seven years. We are talking about an occurrence that translates to about 0.00006 percent of total votes cast.

    “Let’s Put The Vote-By-Mail ‘Fraud’ Myth To Rest”

    The Hill, 4/28/20

    1. “Vote fraud in the United States is exceedingly rare, with mailed ballots and otherwise.”
      **********************
      Loving the mantra! Of course, it’s only rare because, like workplace sexual harassment during the 60s, it was never investigated.

      1. It’s been investigated countless times you dummy with nada results. That includes Trump’s own hand picked commission.

            1. Ballot harvesting. Do your own research.

              ‘Orange County, California — which was a Republican stronghold for a long time — had 250,000 harvested ballots turned in on election day. The Republicans have no infrastructure to pursue testing as to how or whether this process was manipulated or fraud was part of the process.’

              ‘Currently 16 states address the issue of ballot harvesting with many outlawing it. You can bet your house that Democrats are going to attempt to pass this process in every state where they control the legislature and/or governorship. They see what they were able to do in California with ballot harvesting in place and buckets of money to take advantage of the law. They will attempt to permanently lock out Republicans by this process arguing it is making voting more accessible.’

              1. ANONYMOUS IS A FRAUD!!

                Here Anonymous brazenly claims that Orange County California experienced ‘250,000 cases of vote fraud’. Yet no link to any supporting articles is included. Instead Anonymous simply notes that Orange County used to be a Republican stronghold.

                Yeah, Orange County ‘used’ to be a Republican stronghold. 40 years ago, Orange County was dependably Republican. But then again, Republicans were far more moderate 40 years ago.

                I would wager Anonymous (Estovir) has never step foot in Orange County. No one told him Orange County is now very urban with a large Hispanic minority. In fact, Santa Anna, the seat of Orange County actually ranks as one of America’s most densely populated cities.

                If it was proven Orange County experienced 250,000 cases of voter fraud, that would have been a front page story all over the nation. But no such story exists. IT’S JUST A MALICIOUS LIE from someone who has never, ever been there.

                1. Joe – It did not say it was “proven Orange County experienced 250,000 cases of voter fraud”…..It said OC “had 250,000 harvested ballots turned in on election day.”

                  At this time ballot harvesting is legal in California.

                  1. The concern is there is no chain of custody with “ballot collecting” whereas absentee voting by mail has a chain of custody and other controls in place.

                    1. Anonymous, you should know that California wants to strive for Voting By Mail this November. But that’s exactly what Trump objects to in Michigan and Nevada. Trump wants voters to stand in line amid pandemic conditions.

                    2. hey, if voters can stand in line at Walmart, they can stand in line to vote.

                2. “Ballot collecting was legalized four years ago, with the passage of Assembly Bill 1921, and it’s caused confusion in Southern Californian ever since.

                  Orange County Registrar Neal Kelley said before the 2018 midterms, residents from across the political spectrum were calling his office “in droves” with concerns about people trying to pick up their absentee or mail-in ballots.

                  “They said, ‘Someone is on my porch asking for my ballot. Why are they here? They shouldn’t be doing this,’” Kelley recalled.

                  His staff would explain to voters that they didn’t have to hand their ballots over unless they wanted to, but that the process was, indeed, legal.”

                  https://www.dailynews.com/2020/05/17/what-is-ballot-harvesting-and-how-is-it-affecting-southern-california-elections/

                  1. ANONYMOUS, FROM YOUR ARTICLE:

                    Even the term for the process is contentious. Republicans uniformly call it “ballot harvesting,” implying that election results are planted and plucked from a field of voters. Democrats and voting rights advocates prefer the term “ballot collection,” insisting it’s a service for voters at risk of being shut out of the electoral process.

                    Nobody knows how often it happens, or how many votes are collected in this manner. There is no mechanism in California to tally ballots that are collected versus all other ballots. And, without such data, it’s impossible to tell how much of an impact the practice actually has on any election.

                    Southern California election officials, and others, say they haven’t seen any evidence of ballot tampering or fraud tied to ballot harvesting. The Orange County District Attorney, for example, says they haven’t received any complaints about potential abuse by ballot collectors. And no such case has been prosecuted in California.

                    1. REGARDING ABOVE:

                      According to that article, from the L.A. Daily New, no one would have any way of computing that 250,000 number.

        1. ‘The U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI in Philadelphia have announced the guilty plea of a local elections judge, Domenick J. Demuro there who took bribes in exchange for adding ballots to increase the vote totals for certain candidates.’

          U.S. Attorney McSwain says, “Demuro fraudulently stuffed the ballot box by literally standing in a voting booth and voting over and over, as fast as he could, while he thought the coast was clear.”

          The case was investigated by the FBI and PA State Police’ @Tom_Winter

          https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-philadelphia-judge-elections-convicted-conspiring-violate-civil-rights-and-bribery
          .

          1. The elections judge, Domenick J. Demuro, who took bribes in exchange for adding ballots to increase the vote totals for certain candidates….is a DEMOCRAT…in case there was any doubt….!!

      1. Your description of what happened is not even close to the article. The issue was about signatures on a petition to get Obama and Clinton on the ballot. Bad, yes of course, but is not about voting and not voter fraud.

        1. it was quite literally about voting, voting in the primary, and it was quite literally about voter fraud, and there were convictions

          and it gave obama the edge– arguably screwed the hillary faction in 2008. primaries MUST be valid in order to ensure integrity of eventual result, not just the general. if you don’t get that then you dont get the system, “molly”

          there are stories and analysis out there, you guys ignore them and when you don’t such as in your comment, you blatantly misrepresent them

          1. From the article you linked to: “He faces allegations he submitted hundreds of forged signatures – including that of a former governor – on petitions to get Clinton and Obama on the 2008 Indiana primary ballot.”

            From another news source later: “Morgan and three others were convicted of forging names on petitions needed to get Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the 2008 Primary Election ballot.”

            It confuses me very much how you read this, and then post what you did.

            1. by Hans A Von Spakovsky on NR

              ” Four Democratic party officials, including the St. Joseph County chairman Butch Morgan, have been charged with conspiracy, forgery, and official misconduct in the 2008 presidential primary election. Morgan allegedly ordered three county officials to duplicate signatures from a 2008 petition for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Schellinger onto petitions for then-presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The Republican member of the Board of Voter Registration’s signature, which is required for final authorization of all petitions, was apparently then rubber stamped without her knowledge. In Indiana, a candidate must secure 500 signatures from each of the state’s nine congressional districts in order to appear on the ballot. Then-senator Barack Obama barely qualified for the ballot with 534 signatures.

              #more#The South Bend Tribune collaborated with an independent political newsletter, Howey Politics Indiana, to conduct an investigation of the allegedly fake signatures. Erich Speckin, an expert forensic document analyst, told the paper that up to 270 of the ballot signatures for candidate Obama were fraudulent. “It’s obvious. It’s just terribly obvious” that the signatures on the various pages were made by the same hand, Speckin said after reviewing the documents. Previous investigations have already found no fewer than 150 fraudulent signatures on the petitions.

              There exists the real possibility, then, that systematic voter fraud led to Obama’s name appearing on a ballot in a state where he would not have otherwise been qualified.

              The fraud came to an end after a source from inside the county Democratic party who had participated personally in the scheme approached local investigators. Lucas Burkett attended meetings at the local Democratic party headquarters where Morgan ordered the forgeries. Investigators then compared the signatures on Obama and Clinton petitions to the signatures on file for registered voters, and contacted the voters whose names appeared on the forms, in order to confirm the signatures were forgeries.

              Many common citizens were shocked and dismayed to see their own name and personal information on a petition they had supposedly signed four years earlier. “It’s scary. A lot of people have already lost faith in politics . . . and that solidifies our worries and concerns,” Mishawaka resident Charity Rorie told Fox News.

              Now Morgan and the other Democratic officials could face several years in prison and tens of thousands of dollars in fines. In a twist of happenstance that would be comical if it weren’t so serious, the court had to appoint a special prosecutor to handle the case after the county prosecutor’s own forged signature appeared on a petition!

              Morgan was a veteran county party official, working for a political party that has dominated northern Indiana for nearly two decades. The exact extent of the corruption is unknown. As Dr. Deb Fleming, St. Joseph County’s Republican chairwoman, pointed out to the South Bend Tribune, “I’m sure there are other things. They’ve just never gotten caught. Because they’ve been in control of St. Joseph County for so long, they felt they could get away with it.”

              Indiana’s voter-ID requirement for in-person voting would not have stopped this type of petition fraud. But it illustrates that there are people — including party activists — who are willing to cheat and defraud the public in order to win elections. Local party officials in Indiana apparently forged voter signatures to make sure their candidates were on the ballot. If this had been detected in 2008 and Barack Obama had been disqualified from the Indiana ballot, what would that have done to his presidential campaign?

              COMMENTS
              There is no telling what other deceitful and illegal measures these local party officials were willing to take (or have taken in the past without detection) to steal an election. That is why we need to take steps throughout the voter registration, voting, and election process to secure the integrity of our elections. Voter ID is just one of the precautions necessary for a fair and honest vote.”

              READ MORE CAREFULLY MOLLIE IT’S ALL THERE
              IF YOU ARE DEMOCRAT VOTER YOU SHOULD CARE
              IF YOU ARE REPUBLICAN VOTER YOU SHOULD CARE

              INTEGRITY OF THE SYSTEM DEPENDS ON AUTHENTIC SIGNATURES AND VALIDATION OF VOTER QUALIFICATION AND BALLOTING- PRIMARIES AND GENERAL ELECTIONS TOO

              WITHOUT INTEGRITY THE ELECTIONS BECOME QUESTIONABLE

            2. see Molly Obama was coming up short. Morgan forged signatures for both names to conceal his purpose. but the net effect was to keep Obama on the ballot.

              this was not clear from the story when it broke but later analysis confirmed it. i have posted that before. heritage foundation maybe published it

              if Obama had failed on the indiana ballot, when he had momentum,. Hillary might have caught up to him in the race. it was a critical moment and Mr Morgan put his fingers on the scale in favor of Obama over hillary. that’s the key factor on why this fraud in the primary was an important one and no trifle

              and the fraud was on democrat voters but you rarely hear them chirp up and admit it. they buried the hatchet and generally never mention this. mabye you never even heard of it. now you have.

    2. “Vote Fraud Is Rare:”

      That is what Paint Chips says, but how many names is he registered under? Seth Warner, John Russell, July Johnson, anonymous, patriot, Pike Bishop etc. Who can remember how many names and he thinks people don’t lie about their names. I wonder how many of these names will come up on ballots registered in West Hollywood?

  6. It sounds like you do not know what funds exactly Trump is threatening, and therefore do not know whether what he is threatening would be a crime. You are giving him the benefit of the doubt that he either will not follow through on this or will try to find some way to do something not entirely illegal which will sound something like his tweet.

    But I do know he has explicitly been sending more needed PPE and ventilators to states where the Governors kowtow to him than to those who do not. I do know he explicitly told the Ukrainian President he would withhold aid until an investigation into Biden’s son was announced. So I would not give him the same benefit of the doubt you do. Experience has shown he is not entitled to it. He is treating public money as his own to be withheld or given for his own political benefits – illegal or not.

  7. We have Trump trying to leverage monies appropriated by Congress for political benefit. He has admitted that voting by mail would hurt Republicans. Does this at all sound familiar? Do you see a pattern emerging here?

    Dear Stupid Susie Collins: Trump has NOT learned his lesson.

      1. Liberals definition of ‘neutral’ means they get to find and harvest as many ballots as they care to; anything less is ‘voter suppression’.

          1. Kurtz, you have identified yourself as a friend and admirer of ‘Fast Eddie’ Vrydolyak, one of the most corrupt Chicago politicians in the last 50 years.

            1. Eddie Vrydolyak is one of my heroes, yes. I have many friends who go back a long ways to South Chicago and Bridgeport. Fantastic people, full aplenty with some of the best immigrants this country ever welcomed, true Americans by choice if not birth. I’m lucky to have had many friends among both Croatians and Serbs ancestry. I even have a Bosnian friend too now.

              I did not say the Daley era Chicago was virtuous. yes it was corrupt. In some times and places, however, corruption is a better regime than tyranny.

              I would trade Daley or Daley Jr for today’s Biglaw’s pet Lori Lightfoot, in a heartbeat. A minion of established corporate bureaucracies, a n ugly midget of a tyrant in a pink pantsuit! At least Jane Byrne had good looks!

              at least when they were in charge you could go outside for a walk without fear of being arrested!

              1. Kurtz, that’s fine. I love Chicago too. But you have just disqualified yourself as Trump-supporting commenter concerned with voting fraud.

                1. Joe — Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett were in the corrupt Daly administration. Barack Obama learned the ‘Chicago way’….so by your reasoning….what does that say about them?

                  1. Anonymous, there were ‘2’ Daly administrations. Which one are you referring to?

                    And one should point out that Obama was a State Senator. That’s ‘not’ a city job. What’s more, it’s not the least bit clear that you have any idea what you’re talking about.

            1. and the worst ballot harvesting directed by Pat Marcy, as detailed by Robert Cooley in his book, mostly went on even farther back than that. but do you think it just suddenly stopped when pat marcy went away? I doubt it.

              and relevance today, the key thing, is that it remains a possibility

              the methods are there, yet

              do you suppose that all the bookies have closed up shop in chicago now that illinois and indiana have legalized sports betting in the past year or so? i doubt it

              the old Outfit is gone, but there is still action on the street

        1. Absurd, you make this irresponsible ‘ballot harvesting’ claim on a routine basis. And you have ‘never’ shown us a shred of evidence.

          In fact your stupid claims pretend that Republicans in California are so marginalized they have no idea where the alleged fraud is even happening. Only the stupidest of Trumpers could believe such nonsense!

          This stupidity reflects the worldview of a small town, bogus intellectual. It’s an assumption that ‘awful things must be happening in the larger world’.

          1. Mr. K:

            ” … small town, bogus intellectual.”
            ***********************************
            Like Truman, Eisenhauer and Jefferson, Ya rube! Why can’t you be more like those big city sophisticates Julius Rosenberg or David Berkowitz!!!

            1. oh i just noticed that guy “John Elder” was talking to me. I am a small town guy, sure i am. my qualification to be an intellectual is that I can use my intellect and I do on a daily basis.

              Robert Cooley is a credible witness to any number of illegal conspiracies that were perpetrated by the Chicago outfit. Scores of mafiosi and judges were convicted as a result of Operation Greylord and Operation Gambat.

              I went to law school in chicago and have been a lifelong resident within a 100 mile radius of Chicago in one place or another. I know many people who were involved in many walks of life in chicago and some of them had first hand knowledge of various things that corroborates precisely what Robert Cooley said in his testimonies and in his books. Him and the other snitch lawyer that was the key figure in Greylord.

              I was never a participant in any of those criminal or political activities myself. I am just a small town lawyer and a very humble person of no notoriety whatsoever. But I have had some contacts who were witness and participants and associates with certain things that I have touched upon in this story. Strictly social and professional contacts of daily living have brought me into these contacts. The names and details do not matter. But the facts are confirmed to my own personal satisfaction by people who knew of them from their own experience.

              The bottom line is that it is not “absurd” that blank absentee ballots were harvested by various people in projects like Robert taylor and Cabrini green, for cash money, it is simply a historical fact. Votes that were fraudulently entered into election results according to how Democrat party leaders like Pat Marcy wanted them to be tallied.

              I am not demonizing either Mayor Daley or his son who were on the whole, excellent mayors for the city. The city flourished during their adminstrations. They were better than those who came sandwiched in between, the ineffective Jane Byrne and her stupid gun ban and the incompetent Harold Washington who presided over rapid urban blight and social decay.

              Rahm emmanuel’s signature achievement was raising taxes to the highest level of any city in the coutnry. And “Lori Lightfoot’s” has been locking everyone down to zero. I would take the corrupt yet effective adminstrations of the elder mayor Daley or his son over such like as these any day of the week.

    1. Democrats have a history of using abstentee ballots to perpetrate massive vote fraud. Now granted this was decades ago, but the possibility is obviously under study for another run of it.

      The methods were explained in the book by Robert Cooley a lawyer for the Chicago Outfit and the various figures inside the Chicago Democratic organizations, who was exposed for fixing trials in “operation gambat” and became an FBI witness in several successful rico trials.

      The method was simple. Mob associates would take armfuls of ballots out the projects and pay the residents $5 per black signed absentee ballot. Then take them back to Pat Marcy who would decide how to allocate the votes.

      https://www.alibris.com/search/books/isbn/9780786713301utm_source=Google&utm_medium=cpc?utm_campaign=NMPi_Smart_Shopping&utm_term=NMPi_Smart_Shopping&ds_rl=1264488&ds_rl=1264488&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIp6Soo7XF6QIVSr3ACh1YageIEAQYASABEgIFIfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

      Each time I explain this the message is ignored. because you know something like this is exactly what you are planning. The Democrat cheerleaders are the most dishonest faction in American history.

  8. Turley’s Logic Is From ‘Inside’ Trumplandia

    Early in the column Turley writes:

    “It seems that every controversial statement by Trump is immediately reframed in criminal terms by the very same experts who declared a myriad of other crimes over the last three years”.

    In a normal America, Trump’s Tweet on Michigan would have stopped the presses. Here was the president falsely claiming that one of America’s largest states was about to embark on wholesale vote fraud. Trump then threatens to shut off Federal funding to that state. Trump also made the same threat to Nevada.

    Yet Professor Turley treats these threats as just ‘Trump being Trump’. Instead of condemning Trump for being so utterly irresponsible, Turley instead condemns the critics for making such a big deal out it. As though it’s perfectly normal for presidents to make wild, irresponsible claims. Like we should know by now that Trump likes to ‘blow off steam’.

    This column, I believe, represents the sociopathic nature of this administration and defenders like Turley. It captures a perverse attitude suggesting that crazy is acceptable from blowhard presidents. What would Edward R Murrow have thought?

    Just two days ago I saw an old “American Experience” film on Senator Joseph McCarthy’s career. Interestingly it noted that President Eisenhower, 18 months into his first term, finally gave the signal that McCarthy had gone far enough. That moment came when McCarthy irresponsibly claimed the U.S. Army was harboring communists.

    McCarthy’s attack on the Army was too much for Ike. The resulting Army-McCarthy hearings became McCarthy’s Waterloo. Shortly thereafter McCarthy was censured by his Senate colleagues. That disgrace marginalized McCarthy who then drank himself to death over the next 3 years.

    Seeing that film on McCarthy made me realize how far America has slid under Trump. Defenders like Johnathan Turley expect this country to ‘deviate down’ to accommodate Trump. It should never come to that! No journalist should have mince their words to accommodate a mad president. No legal scholar of any standing has any business telling us that ‘insanity’ is acceptable’.

    1. Joe Starrett – there were Communists in the US Army. It was not irresponsible for McCarthy to go after them.

      1. The dispute concerned a red-haze character named Irving Peress, an Army dentist who received a promotion. (Peress was a member of New York’s American Labor Party in its terminal phase. Howard Zinn was a party employee; by some accounts, Eisenhower thought the Army should have admitted its mistake and cut its losses). Peress was not, strictly speaking, a Communist, and not a threat to anyone in the position he held. He’s been conscripted and had no personal interest in serving his country.

        Another aspect of the dispute was Roy Cohn’s threats to various and sundry in G. David Schine’s chain of command. (Cohn maintained the Army was keeping Schine as a ‘hostage’).

        1. DSS – there was the card carrying CPUSA and the underground CPUSA. A dentist can pass information from his position.

          1. I doubt a dentist can accomplish much.

            I had a dear friend who was an ALP member. I think he left the organization around about 1948. There were crypto-Communists like Zinn involved in the succeeding six years. The thing is, a focus on the crypto-Communists can confuse you. Among people who care about public affairs, there are quite a number who would never have joined any explicitly communist organization, but were in spirit on the other side during the Cold War. You read issues of The Nation ca. 1985 or of Mother Jones in that same era, and you see what their self-concept is. I’m persuaded that most arts-and-sciences faculty today are of similar disposition. It just isn’t manifest because there is no international conflict as acute as the Cold War. Look at the Obama administration. They wanted a rapprochement with Cuba and Iran. There wasn’t any compelling reason for that; it’s just an impulse of bourgeois types who are post-American.

          1. Absurd, so based on this link, ‘PBS cannot be trusted’. Only Fox News is credible; even though they denied the Coronavirus all through February.

            And meanwhile, you would have us think that McCarthy was more credible than Eisenhower. Such is the view from Trumplandia.

  9. CNN and MSNBC are not the only networks to try to claim that things are illegal, FOX does it all the time also (“Lock her up”), and also remember Trump himself claimed “Obamagate” is a crime, and no one really knows exactly what that even is.

  10. Come on JT, Trump was clearly tying, in his own way, to threaten to withhold funds from a state in order to get them to engage in voter suppression. In a pandemic it is clear that voting by mail is important and attacking that is voter suppression. It may be illegal, but it sure as hell very disturbing.

    1. Well if we are going to deal in things that are “clear”, in an election year, it is clearly a good thing to keep up the “pandemic” to last into November in order to require Vote By Mail..or as I call it, Cheat by Mail. Go ahead..ask me why.

  11. “Criminal laws are treated as endlessly flexible and fluid.”

    That’s because they are. See Gibson Guitars vs Martin Guitars. Both used “illegal rosewood” but only the CEO of Martin donated to Obama and only the CEO of Gibson was prosecuted.

  12. Turley, seems to use slot of “if’s, “but’s”, and “maybe’s”. To criticize others of pointing out an obvious pattern of behavior that the president engages in.

    The president isn’t going to ask Congress to withhold funds as long as the house is controlled by Democrats. So that’s not even a rational excuse currently. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out just what trump implied since he is the one who often claims that he is the sole authority in making decisions. His words. He already has made claims that he can dictate to states that they can reopen despite the fact that he has no real authority to do so.

    The free speech excuse is valid, but as it is often left out free speech isn’t without consequences. Meaning the 1st amendment doesn’t protect you from the consequences of exercising it.

    Turley likes to couch his “observations” with wishy assumptions just as badly as those he criticizes.

  13. Trump Syndrome strikes again, the usual suspects like W. Shaub, who has made a new career of finding fault or illegal move by anything Trump does. Trump shines th elight on the Dem’s tricks and they can’t stand it.

  14. There was a time when I respected most lawyers. As more and more lawyers jump on the Accuse Trump of a Crime and Get on TV wagon, I find myself succombing to the popular stereotype of the lawyer as a bottom feeder. Worse, I wonder whether when/if I need to hire a lawyer, I can find one with integrity and humility.

    1. Dallas, there’s nothing about you that says either integrity or humility. You support Trump.

      1. It’s “obvious” that anyone who supports Trump lacks integrity. And you can take that to the bank because it was written by “bythebook”.

    2. You know Dallas Steve there are a lot of us out here but we keep it quiet because the Democrat fanatics in the bar would try and take our scalps and steal our licenses if we chirped up even a tenth as loud as they do. We have to make a living and free speech is not quite so free for lawyers.

      Massive turnout for Trump in the election is the only thing that will stop this arterial bleeding of national unity and cultural continuity.

      If that fails then its anybody’s guess what comes next.

  15. What a hack. So, the news to JT is a CNN commentator, not the president who demonstrates again his ignorance and self serving and purely partisan bullying. Good to know how deep JT is in for this a…..e.

    1. It is illegal for trump to withhold funds that congress specifically appropriated to the states. Withholding funds would be usurping congress’s authority to disburse funding unless congress specifically authorized trump to do so.

  16. Well, just drop King Donald the Mad in a cell in St Elizabeth’s and be done with all this.

    🐸

  17. Obama hold money to the state when he want to pass obamacare…. where was you at that times…… here in Connecticut the gobernador hold money from town who’s no want the school to be segregated Democrats all the times doing when they want something

  18. It is so refreshing to find someone to the left of center who can still think logically, truthfully and without the rabid fanaticism usually reserved for the typical dem these days. I do hope all your affairs are in order if you continue to advocate for truth, the rule of law and the constitution as written.

Leave a Reply