Tribe: The Criminal Case Against Trump is Another “Slam Dunk”

In past columns, we have discussed the litany of “slam dunk” crimes that Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe has declared as established against former President Donald Trump, none of which have been actually charged. Indeed, Tribe appears intent upon running through the entire criminal code. Just for the purposes of keeping score, Tribe declared evidence supporting criminal charges of witness tamperingobstruction of justice, criminal election violations, Logan Act violations, extortion, espionage, attempted murder, and treason by Trump or his family.  This week, Tribe insisted on MSNBC that Trump yet again is facing a “slam dunk” criminal conviction over the raid on Mar-a-Lago. While some of us have suggested that we wait to see the actual evidence before evaluating the risk in the case, Tribe again is confident that the still uncharged case has already been made.

Just last month, Tribe declared Trump clearly guilty of the attempted murder of Vice President Mike Pence on January 6, 2021. Tribe again insisted that the case could be prosecuted “without any doubt, beyond a reasonable doubt, beyond any doubt, and the crimes are obvious.” I guess there is no doubt. There is also no compelling legal basis for the claim. Nevertheless, Tribe promised more if needed: “There are other crimes that have been proven. Those are plenty to start with.”

It is a curious thing that none of these prior “proven” crimes have been charged. After the riot, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine announced that he was considering arresting Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks and charging them with incitement. So what happened to that prosecution? The failure of Racine to charge Trump was not due to any affection or loyalty to the former president. It was due to the paucity of direct evidence of a crime that would hold up in court.

Now, without an indictment or the public disclosure of actual evidence beyond the inventory list, Tribe sees no reason to wait for proof. The evidence is, again, a “slam dunk” for conviction.

While the three criminal provisions cited in the warrant do not require that the documents be classified, the declassification of the documents could make the case more difficult and could raise difficult issues of a president’s inherent declassification authority. As I have previously discussed, we have not seen what Trump refers to as a “standing order” of declassification. However, to the extent that declassification relates to Trump’s intent in possessing these documents, a court could have to grapple with some novel constitutional questions. While a former president loses such inherent authority, Trump is claiming that he declassified the material when he was still president. Tribe dismisses such claims but, again, we have yet to see the alleged order or the specific claims made in past exchanges between the former president and the Justice Department.

Notably, at the start of the interview, Tribe argues against the release of any of the affidavit. While many of us thought the court would likely defer to the Justice Department, it was also clear (in my opinion) that portions could be released. Anyone familiar with these affidavits knows that there are portions that can be released, including sections with information that are already known to the target. We are interested in not only what was presented to the court but how it was presented given the history of the Department in making false or misleading statements in past Trump-related investigations.

Notably, Tribe also insisted that any release would “violate important rules on grand jury secrecy.” The problem is that we have not heard of any grand jury on the Mar-a-Lago matter. This was a warrant sought from the court based on probable cause of possible criminal offenses. There also has been no suggestion that the warrant incorporated material from other grand juries like the ongoing January 6th grand jury. Ironically, if Tribe has been given such information from sources, it would likely be a Rule 6(e) violation. Moreover, if this warrant is an attempt to acquire evidence for a separate investigation, it would contradict the public statements of the Justice Department that this was prompted to protect national defense information.

Tribe added that ” this man  . . . I was going to call him ‘traitor’ but that is not quite right it is not treason.” Actually, Tribe previously suggested that Trump was a traitor and could be charged with treason.

Tribe has, of course, never lacked confidence that his lengthening list of crimes have been proven “without any doubt, beyond a reasonable doubt, beyond any doubt.” He is not alone in such hair-triggered analysis. It has been the signature of much of the legal analysis in the last six years. Yet, it would be useful. . .  just once . . . if only for appearances . . . to start with the release of actual evidence before discussing slam dunk convictions.

192 thoughts on “Tribe: The Criminal Case Against Trump is Another “Slam Dunk””

  1. Well, that’s embarrassing. And this guy calls himself a legal scholar? I guess he’s the best that Harvard Community College could get.

  2. It would be enlightening to look into the finances of Lawrence Tribe. Anyone else think someone is paying him in some way to do what he does?

  3. Tribe doesn’t have 1 oz of credibility left he’s destroyed himself with 6 years of trump derangement syndrome.
    Only the very dumbest of our dumb people the people with the most severe confirmation bias and Trump derangement syndrome even recognize his speech as anything but lunatic screed

  4. Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe is a mindless TDS twit, incapable of expressing even stupid thoughts with even a pretense of lucity. He doesn’t know his rear end from a hole in the ground. Not worth writing about. Try another topic.

  5. Biden (but especially Garland) was given the keys, tasked with bringing us together. But instead they chose divide and conquer. What’s seen cannot be unseen. They will be remembered in history not only for their disdain of 76 million Americans but for their inability to sit back and let a country heal.

  6. Let’s see what is “nuclear’ secrets. Reclassify when a b 1 ran a live mission over usa in@ 2007….that nuclear secret? Run 2008 where amere dns phone man almost took over nuclear secrets? That nuclear secret. ? Or the drug cartel amongst missile officers….that nuclear secret? What nuclear secret did Donald have? It can’t be about Russia bc we suspended that salt. Ohhhh…but the fb i was worried he’d share nuclear secrets….seriosly? Did the fb i miss the football carrier…..who suicides and not see carlyle? There is probably can good reason trump….has nuclear secrets….44 and 46 are probably the treasonous ones. To what end….what would be gain by having outdated nuckear….except to say I told you so….that’s its only value. And thUs not a reason to classify stuff. Uaw with law. And proseedure. If we are being honest….And puttingintegrety first.

  7. “Treason” was particularly laughable, since what constitutes treason under the constitution has been pretty settled since about 1803, and that ain’t it.

  8. it is disappointing that so many so-called intelligent people(on BOTH sides!) speak out with premature ‘expert’ comment before all the facts are known, as suggested by turley. BOTH sides are spouting possible scenarios that do not help understanding, and only gins up the bias of their bases.
    be patient and continue to demand clarity…

    1. For those voices who believe thie raid was political motivited and justifed within the legal system, TIME is a very relevant factor. A scholar can wait with his analyes until the bitter end (though he also came up with if’s and when in between), a candidate not. GOP leaders who like to flip congress, will hardly engage VOTER-turnout if they stay on the sidelines, lamenting abour the quality of candidates or dreaming “I will be thext Speaker of the House”. Liz Cheny have other ideas:

      https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/liz-cheney-abc-news-pence-testifying-hope/story?id=88456475

    2. Unfortunately, it’s important to try and establish the narrative as early as possible, but he’s been a broken record.

    3. “be patient . . .”

      A man has a history of arson. Then he picks up a lighter. And your reply is: Be patient. Let’s wait and see what he actually does with that lighter?!

      I guess that some do not take seriously a man’s or a party’s *character*.

    4. Well Professor Turley establishes decently that progressives do it. Why don’t you give us some evidence of how conservatives are making premature assertions so we can get some perspective. Choose conservatives with at least the “stature” of Tribe.

  9. I do not understand why the Alumni of Harvard continue to contribute to the school, apart from those Alumni who support left-wing and progressive views.
    Would it not make great headline news if a few very wealthy conservative Alumni went public with their withdrawal of financial support for Harvard?
    It can’t happen too soon, and it’s not just Harvard — it’s dozens of so-called prestigious colleges/universities from coast to coast.

    1. Harvard has been creating grifters for generations. The alumni are not going to interfere with the grift mill.

  10. Jonathan: Getting back to Lawrence Tribe’s prediction of a “slam dunk” case against Trump let’s discuss your own prejudgments about the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. You have called it a “raid”. In a fundraising email Trump said: “The Democrats broke into the home of President Donald J. Trump”. First problem. Trump is no longer “President”–although he apparently thinks so. Second, the search was not a “raid”–the FBI did not break down any doors. It didn’t involve a no-knock warrant. There were no FBI helicopters flying overhead with searchlights covering Trump’s estate. News media were not alerted in advance. It was Trump who informed the press about the search. If you think about some of the previous high-profile FBI searches this one was pretty low-key. Exaggerating the circumstances surrounding the search isn’t your only problem.

    You claim Tribe “didn’t wait for proof” before making his prediction. You have been the one shooting from the hip ever since the search. You falsely claimed the search was not preceded by a subpoena or other efforts at “voluntary” compliance. Turns out a subpoena was issued back in June and for over a year the DOJ did engage in efforts to get Trump to voluntarily comply. So, instead of just admitting your error, that you had no “proof”, you bizarrely claimed the FBI should have served Trump with a second subpoena! All your columns on this subject are filled with unsubstantiated claims–lacking any “proof”. Your claim that Tribe is engaging in a “hair-triggered analysis” doesn’t pass the laugh test!

    1. “You have called it a “raid”.

      Dennis, Turley used the same word, raid, as CNN and other MSM used it when they first started reporting. Do you have a double standard? That can get you into trouble.

      “Turns out a subpoena was issued back in June and for over a year the DOJ did engage in efforts to get Trump to voluntarily comply.”

      Is that something you made up? Trump was helpful, and that is known. If Trump refused to provide what was requested, they could have used a subpoena. They didn’t. They were wrong. Do you have a double standard? That also can get you into trouble.

      You can define the word raid any way you wish, but there are reports that they flooded MAL with FBI, lights, helicopters, and even people from the beach. It sounds like you are not using proven facts and letting emotions get ahead of your intellect.

        1. Then you can produce that subpoena after June 3 that was rejected. I think they were there June 3rd and he told them he would do whatever they needed. They wanted another lock on the storage room and I think he permitted the FBI to come back 5 days later to put it on.

          Fishwings, if you wish to play the fool you can, but don’t complain.

    2. Dennis,

      You said; “Second, the search was not a “raid”–the FBI did not break down any doors. It didn’t involve a no-knock warrant… News media were not alerted in advance.”

      It is ludicrous that you expect us to believe that it is not only standard practice to notify the media prior to a “raid” but that it is also actually a requisite requirement. Statements like this clearly identify you as someone who has absolutely no idea what he is talking about.

    3. I am a retired LEO. It is called a raid, the FBI had to complete a “raid” plan. The jackets they were wearing are called “raid” jackets. It was a raid

  11. Politicization of Criminal Justice, by Pressing charges against Political Opponents

    iAssuming that the outcome of interpreting our laws depends on the “facts-checker is like selling ice to eskimos (for starters: Why does it go political, when a appointing SCOTUS judge?)
    While much more powerful, same goes for AG, a forceful Cabinet member as a person and Justice as department. Bill Barr’s decissions are others then those from Erich Holder and Loretta Lynch.

    The numbers of “political criminal investigations”, the persons/organizations who are targeted, and what is leaked says a lot about if there is a bias. If there are several criminal investigation in a six-years-timespan and none of them went to criminal court so far. If a leader is a target of his political opponents and consistently labeled as a permantent danger for the security our country has an impact about the outcome of an election. Especially as he built his campeign on issues like boarder-cotrol and family values and followed them during his tenure.

    And then, 18 month after he left office, he cooperate in executing a grand jury suboena (about follwing the Archivist’s duties) two months earlier the raid [1]. I heard that a member of the Cabinet of then President Obama didn’t comply with FOIA the full tenure, but this went never to criminal court. I am also not aware that any FOIA violation was prosecuted.

    Professor, Laurence Tribe wasn’t invited to educate NBC’s viewer as Emeritus/scholar, but about of his liberal political agenda. In short, he acts like a pundit and – thanks to his experience and profound knowledge (argued in Marquee Case in every type of courts) – he executes an excellent job.

    Voters have the say if AG Merrick Garland will shrink – not as fast as JEB (stripping his family name from his campaign because of the unpopularity of his brother W) who tumbled from top to ground floor within four days (Fox-News’ Megyn Kelly asked “knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the 2003 Irak invasion?” – “I would have, and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody, and so would have almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got.” to “knowing what we know now I would not have engaged — I would not have gone into Iraq”) Trump’s ultimative punch (being week on immigration garnished with lines like “sleepy ,low energy person, for him: to get things done is hard”) kicked him out of the house. It’s hard to believe that Sen Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stays silent at Liz Cheney’s countless attempts to hurt GOP (see for many dirty plays: John Wood (former “W” administration official and a J6 lead investigator & counsel to Vice Chair) and Mar-a-Lago raid as well. To blame primary voters for promoting mediocre candidates, fhat eventually prevent him for running the Senate, escalates to another level [2].

    Two days after D-stalwart James Carville labeled the majority of R-voters as stupid as evil (four months ago, Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she ‘fears for democracy’ if Republicans retake Congress) it went public that on 9/15 President Biden [3] on will “host the United We Stand Summit at the White House to […] put forward a shared, bipartisan vision for a more united America” [4].. During his Inaugurations speech on 1/20/21 he said:” Bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause. Uniting to fight the foes we face – anger, resentment and hatred. Extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness, and hopelessness.” President Barack Obama, at the same event 12 years earlier “[…] we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.” Will President Bill address the progress we made during the last 13 years?

    [1] If you have extra time, here is an opinion about “Similarities Between The FBI’s Mar-A-Lago Raid And Spygate” https://thefederalist.com/2022/08/17/in-latest-anti-trump-operation-doj-and-media-deploy-same-old-russiagate-tricks/
    [2] Why should 1st term bidder not be able to run on issues which are voters’ most concern? 1. boarder control, 2. stop crime wave, 3. sky-high cost of living. If interest, search for Tucker Carlson*s monologue: about President Bidens unpopularity and Democrats chances to hold Senate in November
    [3] Whenever President Binden announces anything, late Pope John Paul II come in my mind: In his last years of his tenure personal aid Archbishop Stanisław Dziwisz filled in.
    [4] https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/blog/2022/08/19/united-we-stand-countering-hate-fueled-violence-together/

  12. FishWings forgets the house invited mr turley’s opnion , not mr tribe’s , when they conjured impeachment and held their trial in the media

  13. ‘The U.S. Government [the Biden Administration] Left Behind More Than $7 Billion in Military Equipment In Afghanistan’
    ͟ ͟𝐀͟𝐋͟𝐋͟ ͟𝐎͟𝐅͟ ͟𝐖͟𝐇͟𝐈͟𝐂͟𝐇͟ ͟𝐂͟𝐎͟𝐔͟𝐋͟𝐃͟ ͟𝐇͟𝐀͟𝐕͟𝐄͟ ͟𝐁͟𝐄͟𝐄͟𝐍͟ ͟𝐔͟𝐒͟𝐄͟𝐃͟ ͟𝐀͟𝐋͟𝐎͟𝐍͟𝐆͟ ͟𝐓͟𝐇͟𝐄͟ ͟𝐔͟.͟𝐒͟.͟ ͟𝐒͟𝐎͟𝐔͟𝐓͟𝐇͟𝐄͟𝐑͟𝐍͟ ͟𝐁͟𝐎͟𝐀͟𝐑͟𝐃͟𝐄͟𝐑͟ ͟𝐅͟𝐑͟𝐎͟𝐌͟ ͟𝐓͟𝐄͟𝐗͟𝐀͟𝐒͟-͟𝐓͟𝐎͟-͟𝐂͟𝐀͟𝐋͟𝐈͟𝐅͟𝐎͟𝐑͟𝐍͟𝐈͟𝐀͟

  14. Not to long ago, Turley wrote almost everyday on this blog that Hillary was going down for all the crimes the right made up in their heads. More recently, Turley was very confident John Durham was going to expose all the crimes that were against the Dear Leader, that didn’t go so well either. Ask the top 10 constitutional lawyers in the country who they would rather listen to on constitutional law, Tribe who has been, and won in front of the SCOTUS, or a recent “legal contributor” on FOXNEWS.

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