Professor David Dunn and I joined international media outlets on Tuesday to analyze the fourth set of indictments against Donald Trump: 13 felony counts of racketeering and conspiracy over his attempt to overturn the 2020 Presidential election outcome in the state of Georgia.
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David Dunn speaks with the Turkish outlet about the political as well as the legal significance of the Georgia indictments.
Trump’s conspiracy theory, that the State is out to stop him becoming President again, is a convenient line because it means he doesn’t have to run on his record: to mishandle COVID, to fail to build the Wall, or to stop immigration across the southern border as well as other controversial policies like his climate denial.
I joined host William Crawley on TalkBack to ensure that facts and analysis stayed on track, given that the other guest was the Trumpist activist Jan Halper-Hayes.
I start out with a careful description of the charges and the legal process, asking Halper-Hayes to avoid diversion and disinformation.
In her very first sentence, she pushes a blatant falsehood, prompting an intervention by both Crawley and me. What follows is radio black comedy, as Halper-Hayes loses all coherence and threatens to hang up the phone.
Fortunately, Crawley and I get back to fundamental issues by the end of the discussion.
This didn’t just take place in Georgia. It took place in other states like Wisconsin, and it took place at the federal level.
This isn’t a question of being pro- or anti-Trump. What we saw by January 6, 2021 — when there was pressure on Vice President Mike Pence to stop the Congressional certification of Joe Biden as the legally-elected President of the United States — was an attempt by Trump and his inner circle to throw out the Constitution, to throw out the US system, and throw out the transition as they egged on supporters to march on the Capitol.
David Dunn explains to Naga Munchetty why the charges against Donald Trump are so serious, with a minimum 5-year prison sentence for each count of racketeering if he is convicted.
He also deals with the question, “Should there be a line drawn under this?”
There is an issue here of whether America is a country of Constitution and laws, and whether the laws apply to every individual.
The decision to prosecute Trump is upholding the principle that those laws apply.
And he politely but firmly pushes back against “conspiracy theories” and attempts to delegitimize the legal system, as highlighted by a Trump supporter on the program.
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I speak with Andrew Mueller about the gravity of the indictment, including the added legal jeopardy for Trump of these charges being state rather than federal.
This wasn’t just Trump exercising “free speech”.
This was Trump pressing Georgia’s top officials, “Find me the votes”, after he had consulted with his advisors, including his lawyers. This was Trump pressing the legislature after he had consulted his advisors. This was an attempt to seize voting machines after an infamous White House meeting on December 18.
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I discuss the nature of the charges in the 41-count indictment of Trump and 18 co-defendants, and why Georgia was the first state to pursue charges alongside federal investigations.
Whether we call it a plan, a scheme, a plot, or even a coup attempt, “racketeering” encompasses this three-month effort by Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 election.
I also explain the significance of a State versus a Federal case, if Trump is convicted: “He cannot pardon himself in a State case, and he cannot use a Trumpist Attorney General to quash it.”
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I joined the right-wing UK outlet GB News — which had been featuring Trumpist guests putting out lies and diversions all morning — to take control of the narrative.
It’s important in the face of political manipulations, distortions, and even falsehoods — unfortunately, put out an hour ago on your program — to stick with the facts.
The legal facts in this Georgia case are that, as at the federal level, there was a multi-phase attempt to overturn the 2020 election and throw it out.
In a twist beyond parody, one of GB’s hosts acknowledges, “The facts don’t matter to these commentators.”
Knowing that my appeal will not get anywhere, I still grab the advantage, “A plea to you good folks, as journalists, and to analysts: always start from the facts. Never engage in polemics, and never use politics to bury the legal process.”
"If I had 5p for every time Donald Trump had shouted 'witch hunt', I’d be a millionaire."
Professor of U.S. and International Politics, Scott Lucas, warns people to ‘stick to the facts’ as former President Trump faces a fourth charge over election interference. pic.twitter.com/1J9K0NW8VR
— GB News (@GBNEWS) August 15, 2023
I reiterate the fundamentals of the indictments, as well as knocking down the Trumpist political attempts to bury the legal system.
This is not a case of criticizing or supporting Donald Trump. We need to stick with the legal facts….
If Donald Trump wins the election and gets into the White House, despite facing prison, that’s democracy.
What you cannot do is use that political process to put your thumbs on the scales of justice.