The Facts About A Couple of Pending Lawsuits Against Donald Trump

I think that Donald Trump is the most terrible and dangerous candidate for President of my lifetime, and perhaps much longer than that. I think he and his movement pose a structural risk to the survival of America in several ways. I think that Hillary Clinton is a terrible candidate and would be a terrible leader, but would prefer she wins because I think her awfulness is not an existential threat, but more of the same.

But lying about Trump's legal affairs doesn't help. It helps promote lying, not Clinton (or anyone else.)

This week social media is full of a narrative that the mainstream media is "ignoring" that Trump is on trial for rape and racketeering in December. That's dishonest.

First: Donald Trump has been sued civilly by a woman who claims he raped her when she was 13. I am prepared to believe the very worst about Trump, and I don't know whether this is true or not, but I am more than usually skeptical based on the lawsuit's provenance. The case is not "going to trial" in December. It has been set for a completely routine early status conference in December that will lead to more complete schedules. As far as I can tell, no discovery has been conducted by either side. The case is an allegation against Donald Trump. The fact that I hate Donald Trump does not mean that the allegation is or is not true.

Second: Trump is also facing a civil suit accusing him of RICO violations. I wrote about the case months ago and dismissed the Trumpalo narrative that the judge — attacked by the Trump campaign for his ethnic background — was treating Trump unfairly. The case (and its companion case) accuse Trump of defrauding victims of the scamtastic Trump University. Here, there has been discovery, and the RICO charge survived summary judgment. That means that the judge found that the plaintiffs supplied some evidence which, if accepted as true, would be legally sufficient to support a RICO claim. RICO claims are usually bullshit, and even though this one survived the very low bar of summary judgment, I think it's still styled as a RICO more for public relations purposes than out of merit. Styling something as a RICO claim (rather than, say, a fraud claim) is attention-getting and emotive but rarely substantive. It is not accurate, as some are saying carelessly, that Trump is "charged with racketeering." This is a private civil suit. It may or may not go to trial when scheduled in late November; continuances of such trials are more the rule than the exception. Though the evidence is persuasive that Trump University was a contemptible scam and that Trump was personally in on it, shouting that "Trump faces a racketeering trial" represents a rhetorical trick, not an appeal to facts. Stick with the facts: a judge found enough evidence to go to trial on allegations that Trump was personally involved in defrauding Trump University "students." However, once again, that is an allegation, not a finding of credibility by a factfinder.

Trump is historically awful. That's not a reason to promote narratives that damage us as a nation. Lying about the nature of allegations, and treating allegations as presumptively true, damage us as a nation. They make us more like Trumpalos. Be better than that.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

Comments

  1. says

    Would you prefer the shit sandwich or the grilled turd today, monsieur?

    You present Trump as an almost elemental dangerous force. I suggest that Hillary is evil in a way that a blundering, egotistical dullard like Trump can only imagine.

    I mention this because railing against Trump alone does not do justice to the truly horrible alternatives that we are faced with. While Trump careens against the Constitution, Hillary and her crime family are sophisticated enough to know that you jujitsu the law, you play it while never quite obeying it. It is a far more sophisticated threat than that presented by Trump.

  2. Wick says

    Ed:

    Railing against the "Clinton Crime Family" seems precisely the sort of overblown rhetoric that Ken is discussing in the original post.

  3. Brian Kemp says

    Wick:

    I prefer the phrase "Zero Self-Awareness" which is a corollary to "It's okay when we do it."

  4. ed says

    @Wick

    I am actually railing against both. I think that they are distressingly similar, the difference being one of style.

  5. Alan says

    Ken: "But an affidavit under penalty of perjury from a pseudonym is . . . unusual."
    Stu: "Not that unusual. http://mnbenchbar.com/2012/02/using-pseudonyms/"

    That page says nothing about declarations signed pseudonymously. I think the usual procedure is for declarations or affidavits to be executed normally with real names and filed under seal, followed by the public filing of versions with the names redacted.

  6. Damon says

    I continue in my opinion that this is a vote between Satan and Cthulhu.

    I will not "choose the lesser evil". That's voting for evil.

  7. says

    I thought the statute of limitations had expired on the alleged rape. Has a judge ruled that the statute of limitations doesn't apply for some reason, or is that still an unresolved issue? Or am I mistaken that the statute of limitations expired?

  8. Alan says

    Ken: "As far as I can tell, no discovery has been conducted by either side."

    It's much worse than that. Despite this nonsense starting more than six months ago with the California filing, there is not yet any evidence that the plaintiff has even *attempted* to serve any complaint on any defendant. We're many steps short of discovery commencing, and I'll be surprised if the case even gets to a status conference. The conference that had been scheduled for September 9 (in NYSD case 16-4642) was vacated for lack of service.

  9. Daniel Weber says

    Social hint: when someone says "I hate X but this accusation against X is bullshit," that is not an invitation to rail against him about why he shouldn't hate X.

  10. Agent Schism says

    One of the primary watchwords I try to keep in mind, and which I really wish OTHERS would keep in mind, is this: 'allegations are not convictions'. This occasionally comes back to bite me in the rear, such as involving the recent Bundy sovereign-citizen trial, a fundamental exhibition of the dangers of jury nullification if ever there was one. (I'm not arguing against jury nullification. I'm just saying, that's one of the dangers inherent in the circumstances.)

    It comes back the other way to bite once more when you try and deal with Trump on racketeering. I'll say a dozen things about Trump in the space of a breath, none of them positive or endearing. I have absolutely nothing good to say about the man. But here, I can't believe any charges of racketeering, and here's why: there is no way that he wouldn't screw over every single one of his business partners, legit or otherwise, for the promise of a single red cent.

    That's the narrative which should be pushed. Racketeering? Pff. The Don wouldn't give him the time of day.

  11. Justin says

    Stu:

    Pseudonym's of the alleged Plaintiff/Victim are sometimes allowed and are already problematic enough. (I have always felt that they ultimately violate the Sixth Amendment, but I understand the emotionally compelling arguments as to why they should be tolerated in rare instances involving sexual crimes.)

    But in this case, we are talking about a pseudonym from a WITNESS who is not the alleged victim. There is a big difference here, and your attempt to cloud the issue of anonymity of witnesses with that of the alleged victim smacks of disingenuousness.

    This should unquestionably be considered a violation of the Confrontation Clause. There is no way that they legal system should allow this and rational people should feel free to disregard the allegations until the witnesses are willing to name themselves.

    Allowing greater anonymity in court proceedings will only lead to one thing: More innocent people being falsely accused.

  12. Viliphied says

    This occasionally comes back to bite me in the rear, such as involving the recent Bundy sovereign-citizen trial, a fundamental exhibition of the dangers of jury nullification if ever there was one.

    Except that wasn't a case of jury nullification, it was (yet another) case of a prosecutor choosing a charge for which they lacked the proper evidence, and counting on public outrage to gift them a guilty verdict.

  13. Agent Schism says

    Except that wasn't a case of jury nullification, it was (yet another) case of a prosecutor choosing a charge for which they lacked the proper evidence, and counting on public outrage to gift them a guilty verdict.

    A fair point, and I'll agree with you there: a lesser-but-still-notable charge may have been agreed upon with the weight of evidence, without drawing upon the media circus surrounding the trial itself. I still believe that the evidence for the charges was commensurate to deliver a guilty verdict on the charges brought by the prosecution, but I'm not a lawyer, and probably would have been stricken from the jury had I been brought in.

  14. Matthew Cline says

    @Damon:

    I continue in my opinion that this is a vote between Satan and Cthulhu.

    Hey, Satan won't eat you or drive you insane. Satan has my vote.

  15. Noscitur a sociis says

    (I have always felt that they ultimately violate the Sixth Amendment, but I understand the emotionally compelling arguments as to why they should be tolerated in rare instances involving sexual crimes.)

    This should unquestionably be considered a violation of the Confrontation Clause.

    Since this is a civil case, how are the sixth amendment or the confrontation clause (which is part of the sixth amendment) implicated?

  16. Agammamon says

    Daniel Weber says

    October 31, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Social hint: when someone says "I hate X but this accusation against X is bullshit," that is not an invitation to rail against him about why he shouldn't hate X.

    Amen.

    Even I was tempted to jump in and scream something about how Clinton is marginally worse than – Trump.

    But then I realized that a) its completely irrelevant to the actual post, b) Ken's made his decision already, is a reasonably smart guy, and has probably already weighted any argument Rando Calrissian is able to bring to the comments.

    Everybody except the partisans knows Trump *and* Clinton are horrible – and everyone except the partisans has some reason why Trump or Clinton are slightly less horrible than the other and aren't going to be swayed.

  17. Justin says

    Noscitur:

    Technically you are correct and I misspoke. The Sixth Amendment does not apply to civil cases. TechnicalpPoint conceded

    But it is still clearly a viokation of 14th Amendment DUE PROCESS, by virtue of the same philiosophical considerations behind the 6th Amendment.

    The bottom line is that it is intolerable for both a plaintiff/victim AND the witness to reamain anonymous.

  18. NickM says

    I continue in my opinion that this is a vote between Satan and Cthulhu.

    I will not "choose the lesser evil". That's voting for evil.

    In this election, Cthulhu would only be the 3rd greatest evil.

  19. Matt says

    Yeah, but once you're eaten and dead, you're free. The damage from Satan is eternal.

    I leave it up to you to decide which is which in this metaphor.

  20. SJE says

    Hooray for Popehat….trying to at least keep an even keel and an eye on the truth. I preach the same, but then people think I'm a killjoy.

  21. Jackson says

    So first, I agree with everything Ken said, but I would argue three things:

    1 – Voting for the "lesser" of evils when both evils are far below a passing grade only incentivizes future evil. This is not a one-off game; it is an iterative game. There is actually value in refusing to play and flipping the fucking table and unleashing the ponies of war in response to being offered these two options, as it creates a real disincentive for that to happen again.

    2 – Ken, I think you greatly underestimate the damage Hillary Clinton is capable of inflicting. I would suggest you consider whether an authoritarian government dystopia or a privatized corporate dystopia are really superior to each other.

    3 – The first victim of this whole election was the fiction that truth and facts matter. That Ken still holds the line is admirable, to say the least.

  22. Paradigm Spider says

    Blah blah blah.

    Bitch please, let's not pretend that a Trump presidency would be any less authoritarian than whatever prospective Clinton presidency the little Breitbart babies cry themselves to sleep at night thinking of.

  23. Sami says

    Jackson: "authoritarian government dystopia or a privatized corporate dystopia are really superior to each other"

    a) Yes, actually, one of these is worse than the other. The authoritarian government one is much worse and is the one Trump is downright promising.

    The corporate dystopia is pretty much where America already lives. Clinton might make it better and won't make it worse, because that's not actually within the power of the presidency.

    Frankly, I think Trump's current degree of success is a manifest failure of the American educational system. You all should know better than this – including, at this point, knowing better than to risk a third-party vote.

    This is the only time I've ever thought this to be the case, and by God I hope it's the only time I ever will, but I think it's a matter of civic duty this year for Americans to vote for the person with a realistic chance of being elected who isn't Trump: therefore, for Hillary Clinton.

    I didn't like McCain or Romney at all, but if you voted for them – or for a third party in those elections – then okay. Like most of the world, I didn't understand how so many Americans could vote for George W. Bush, especially the second time, but you know, Gore and Kerry weren't great candidates either.

    This time is different, as you can kind of tell by the remarkable lineup of Republicans and national security and foreign policy and history experts and conservative and right-wing editorial boards all saying so and supporting Clinton, even when doing so through gritted teeth.

    Hillary Clinton, as president, will definitely be no worse than some past presidents, and will definitely be better than some.

    Donald Trump defies hyperbole with the awfulness he offers. He's not unprecedented at all – there have been a number of men very like him in positions of power. It has always had appalling results.

    It's just that a lot of American schools don't seem to teach much history, or much about other countries, so a lot of Americans don't seem to recognise what they're looking at.

  24. Morrowind542 says

    I think that once the horribleness of the candidates reaches a certain point, talking about which one's worse becomes irrelevant. Venus may be hotter than Mercury, but you'll die on one about is fast as on the other.

    In any case, thank you, Ken, for standing up for the truth, especially given your distain for Trump.

  25. Mike says

    Justin:

    Did you read the witness affidavit? If not, skip to the last 2 statements. If so, go back and fully read points #15 & #16 again. Assuming the court is required to accept the statements as true since they're being made under oath, wouldn't they provide one possible reason why a pseudonym was allowed?

    That being said, I also believe there is more than enough information in the statements provided for Mr. Epstein to deduce who filed the witness statement so all of this "cloak and dagger" effort is likely for naught.

  26. Jeff Blanks says

    Hillary ain't all that, but I completely fail to understand a mindset in which her "awfulness" is in any way comparable to Trump's. Please feel free to explain in more detail. (Stories about how you heard she was crabby once don't count.)

  27. Dragoness Eclectic says

    This occasionally comes back to bite me in the rear, such as involving the recent Bundy sovereign-citizen trial, a fundamental exhibition of the dangers of jury nullification if ever there was one.

    As others have noted, that's not what happened. I read the follow-up articles: the prosecutor overcharged with "conspiracy to do various specific evil things" and then failed to prove to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the Bundy crowd actually conspired to do those specific things, as opposed to being a bunch of obnoxious yahoos who thought LARPing revolutionaries at the wildlife refuge was a cool thing to do. [/s] At least one juror interviewed post-trial was (paraphrased) "I kept expecting the prosecutor to follow up with some kind of evidence like e-mails, Facebook posts, etc showing these guys planning [specific bad things], but the prosecutor never did".

    I've also seen suggestions that the prosecutor completely mis-charged the case; he wanted the shiny "Conspiracy" conviction on his resume instead of going for the more pedestrian, but easily-proven, charges for property destruction and trespass and so on.

    Seems like Oregonian jurors expect prosecutors to actually present evidence of guilt, rather than just convicting on feelz. I applaud these jurors for not rewarding a prosecutor who didn't do his job.

  28. albert says

    @Grock,

    Cheers!

    …………..

    The Anointed One will win. Long live the Queen, Hil'ry HRH!

    There's no joy in Mudville; the mighty Donald struck out.

    . .. . .. — ….

  29. Maurice de Sully says

    Oh my God! Putin has gotten to Ken too. No other excuse makes sense for this Trump apologia.

    Will no one rid us of this terrible Slav?

  30. AH says

    I can't decide if I'm going to be more annoyed that I have to deal with one of these two assholes' presidency, or happy I at least don't have to listen to the damn partisans' campaign bullshit anymore.

    Only time will tell.

  31. eric says

    Dragoness Eclectic says

    November 1, 2016 at 8:48 am

    Seems like Oregonian jurors expect prosecutors to actually present evidence of guilt, rather than just convicting on feelz. I applaud these jurors for not rewarding a prosecutor who didn't do his job.

    A number of years ago, a notorious bookie named Robert Angleton was found not guilty by a jury in Houston for the murder of his wife. A juror was quoted as saying that he certainly believed that the defendant was guilty but the prosecutor didn't prove it.

  32. eric says

    While I think that Trump is easily the least qualified Presidential candidate of either major party in years, it would almost be interesting if he was elected President to see how fast his fans begin to turn against him.

    It's scary how much damage he could do, though. Would Trump spend his first year, or at least the first hundred days, destroying all his enemies?

  33. ketchup says

    The fact that I hate Donald Trump does not mean that the allegation is or is not true.

    Not allowing one's personal feelings to affect what you determine is true violates a basic Law of the Internet. How dare you be objective!

  34. James says

    Not to mention lying about him just makes people (especially his supporters) less likely to believe the negative things about him that are actually true.

  35. Don French says

    "Hillary ain't all that, but I completely fail to understand a mindset in which her "awfulness" is in any way comparable to Trump's. Please feel free to explain in more detail. (Stories about how you heard she was crabby once don't count.)"

    I completely agree with this sentiment and would love to hear the answers as well. I have asked this question, or ones similar, many times in the past weeks and have never received a reply other than some version of "if you don't know by now, you haven't been paying attention." No one seems to be able to find or is willing to state the justification for their strong feelings about Hillary. Or they are too embarrassed to admit that they just don't like the sound of her voice or the age lines in her face or the simple fact that she is a woman. And please, don't give me murder conspiracy theories that have been debunked time and again. And if the only thing you can say is "THE EMAILS!", please save it unless you think that that one thing justifies the equal comparison with all that Trump has done.

  36. Argentina Orange says

    Hillary ain't all that, but I completely fail to understand a mindset in which her "awfulness" is in any way comparable to Trump's. Please feel free to explain in more detail. (Stories about how you heard she was crabby once don't count.)

    Easy.

    She's a criminal who is literally, demonstrably above the law. She has two very successful strategies for evading any legal consequences.

    1. Lie, destroy evidence, or simply refuse to turn over requested evidence of her crimes.
    2. If the evidence somehow manages to get out, have people decline to make use of it.

    This is hardly unique to her (remember "no controlling legal authority?") but she is a zen master of it. Seriously, how can you claim that required documentation does not exist, only to have it found in your possession and get away with that? Or have a prosecutor create new exemptions to a law just for yourself?

    so, pace Ken, Hillary is a vastly more serious existential threat to this country than the Donald. Because the whole point of a government-as-monopolist-of-violence is that they render justice making private justice unnecessary. But when you have government officials that are absolutely immune from legal consequences, then you are making private justice necessary, and inevitable. There is a word for that process.

    Not that I'm voting for Donald, mind you. But everyone who pretends that they are not engaging in an utterly evil act by supporting Hillary is delusional.

  37. Don French says

    Once again, no actual specifics of a crime committed. It is always thus! Why can no one who calls her a criminal point to a provable indictable offense? It should be easy because she has been investigated more than almost anyone in history and every journalist alive would give his or her eye teeth to be the one to break a story that proved her guilty of a crime. But no, not once.

  38. john Henry says

    Not a lawyer so a a serious legal question in which my ignorance may show:

    Katie Johnson filed the rape suit originally in California in May. It was dismissed because she used a phony address. I don't understand why this was not perjury but if it was just a "technical error" like Snopes says, why would she not just correct the address and refile in the same court?

    I tried to find the order of dismissal but it is behind Pacer's paywall.

    Instead she refiles in NY but not as Katie Johnson. Rather, she files under a pseudonym Jane Doe, I think.

    Is this really kosher? When she filed in NY, did she have to tell the NY judge that the case was already dismissed in CA?

    John Henry

  39. eric says

    Katie Johnson filed the rape suit originally in California in May. It was dismissed because she used a phony address.

    My understanding is that it was dismissed because the filing didn't make a claim under the applicable statute, not because of the address.

  40. eric says

    I thought the statute of limitations had expired on the alleged rape. Has a judge ruled that the statute of limitations doesn't apply for some reason, or is that still an unresolved issue? Or am I mistaken that the statute of limitations expired?

    The lawsuit (second filing) seems to argue that the statue of limitations should be tolled because Trump allegedly threatened her and her family, thus making her too scared to report the rape.

    There was also an affidavit in that lawsuit that mentions seeing Trump force a twelve year old girl perform oral sex on him. If that is true, then that could pose real trouble for Trump because under New York Law, there is no statute of limitations in the case of the rape of a child younger than thirteen years old.

  41. eric says

    The really nice thing about voting for the lesser evil is that you reduce the amount of evil.

    A vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote in favor of evil.

  42. Alan says

    John Henry: "I tried to find the order of dismissal but it is behind Pacer's paywall."

    Here you go: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9wNzBXav3TlamJtMk9pZHFZcjg

    As you can see, the dismissal is because she pleaded it as a claim under two specific civil rights statutes, and the facts she alleged — even if all assumed to be true — didn't make a claim under those statutes.

    "she used a phony address."

    The court docket shows mail to the address was marked as return-to-sender on May 5, but that was after the case was closed. It doesn't mean she wasn't reachable through that address when she put it on her filings in April.

    "I don't understand why this was not perjury."

    A statement can't be perjury unless it is made under oath, or in a document that is explicitly verified "under penalty of perjury". It also has to be material to the proceeding. This instance comes nowhere close.

    "why would she not just correct the [problem] and refile in the same court?"

    The initial complaint was filed in the wrong court and under the wrong statute, which are both common and understandable errors by people without lawyers. She then got a lawyer, who corrected both of those problems and refiled.

    "When she filed in NY, did she have to tell the NY judge that the case was already dismissed in CA?"

    I'm not sure about "have to", but the California complaint was explicitly disclosed in the New York complaint.

    "she refiles in NY but not as Katie Johnson. Rather, she files under a pseudonym Jane Doe"

    I'm not sure what to make of this either, but I think the implication is that "Katie Johnson" was also a pseudonym. She should have mentioned this in the first complaint, but that case never got to a point where it would be an issue.

    eric: "The lawsuit (second filing) seems to argue that the statue of limitations should be tolled because Trump allegedly threatened her and her family, thus making her too scared to report the rape."

    "There was also an affidavit in that lawsuit that mentions seeing Trump force a twelve year old girl perform oral sex on him. If that is true, then that could pose real trouble for Trump because under New York Law, there is no statute of limitations in the case of the rape of a child younger than thirteen years old."

    I think you're thinking of the limitation for the state pursuing a criminal case. If there were no limitation on civil cases, the complaint would not bother to make the argument about tolling.

    The tolling argument is the glaring weakness in the case. The cases cited in the complaint don't come close to saying that a threat can toll limitations for more than a decade while there is no action by the threatener to renew the threat, nor even any communication at all between the threatener and the threatened.

  43. Castaigne says

    @Argentina Orange:

    She's a criminal who is literally, demonstrably above the law.

    To be a criminal, you actually have to be convicted.
    I haven't ever seen her indicted for anything yet.

    If the evidence somehow manages to get out, have people decline to make use of it.

    And how does she get people to do this? Mind control?

    Not that I'm voting for Donald, mind you. But everyone who pretends that they are not engaging in an utterly evil act by supporting Hillary is delusional.

    Well, you're either voting for Donald, voting for Hillary, or your vote is meaningless since everyone else can't mathematically win. So I guess you're not voting at all?

    Frankly, I have yet to see any evidence – and this dates from the 1990s that convinces me Hillary is any worse than your average CEO or skilled politician. Also, I'm on the side of the corporations, not that nationalists.

  44. John Henry says

    Thanks for the clarification, Alan.

    One other thing that strikes me as sketchy about the case is Jane Doe/Katie Johnson's attorney. He is a patent attorney in NJ. In a NJ lawyers directory, his specialty is patent litigation and related stuff.

    I am sure he is competent and all but do patent attorney's normally represent clients in rape cases?

    Seems to me a bit like going to a podiatrist for a heart attack. Nothing against podiatrists or patent attorneys but shouldn't the cobbler stick to his last?

    John Henry

  45. Lagaya1 says

    The Republican Party has damaged itself so badly in this election, the only thing that could be a worse fate for them is if Trump goes on to win. Nixon was bad for the party… Trump would be a disaster!

  46. Michael 2 says

    Don French says "No one seems to be able to find or is willing to state the justification for their strong feelings about Hillary."

    It helps to go where anti-Hillary people write (should be easy and probably not here) and permitted to have meaningful debate (probably rare and we'll see about permitted here).

    I remember reading HRC's health care plan in the 1990's and was horrified. I'm basically libertarian and it is basically totalitarian.

    Well I changed my mind about writing more. I've spent over an hour and then suddenly decided it doesn't really matter. You have your reasons for your decision and only you can make your decision and I will do likewise for me. That's part of what it means to be libertarian.

  47. Mark W says

    Wow. This piece is doing some Olympic-level hair splitting. So it's the preliminary stage of a trial for the rape of a 13-year-old girl (witness says also another girl who was even younger), not the actual trial. Oh, I feel so much better. The trial would be after his inauguration (oh, whew!). And it's not the actual Trump U fraud trial, it's a rackateering charge pertaining to the Trump U fraud. Well! Much better. Yeah, let's elect him and put the former Secretary of State in jail (or is Trump going to have her shot? I haven't kept up with his Kim Jong-Un-esque rantings lately).

  48. says

    Wick says

    October 31, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Ed:

    Railing against the "Clinton Crime Family" seems precisely the sort of overblown rhetoric that Ken is discussing in the original post.

    Unless you consider how many federal criminal investigations are currently ongoing on the Clintons and their know associates (five?). How often they or their past associates have been investigated, jailed, convicted, or been fugitives from justice. Or how many people in their wider circle have died in violent or suspicious circumstances. Or how they have close advisers commonly described as consigliere in the press. Of course Bill Clinton was impeached (and disbarred) for lying under oath. The Clintons are a conspiracy theory magnet but not without good reason. Who else in American public life, other than some (other) high profile organized crime figures has this kind of history?

  49. Rich Rostrom says

    What Argentina Orange wrote. With this addendum: Clinton's elevation above the law is with the apparent approval of half the political class, as shown by her very strong support among Democrat politicians. Also at least 60% of the intellectual class. (During the primary season, 92% of donations to presidential candidates by employees of large elite colleges went to Democrats; 65% went to Clinton.)

    There is increasing evidence that the Deep State supports Democrats, including Clinton; for instance, the IRS vendetta against Tea Party groups and other conservative activists.

    The Democrats also seem to be determined to strike down every safeguard against illegal voting, and to facilitate vote fraud by expanding mail and absentee voting.

    Thus we face the possibility of a national political machine, which uses the power of government to smother any electoral challenge, and which, unlike the city machines of yore, will not be restrained by the threat of prosecution by higher authority.

    It won't be an overt dictatorship; opposition politicians will be allowed to operate, and even to win some local elections. Presidential elections will be contested – as they are in Russia, with any effective candidates or parties kept off the ballot, or starved of funds, while the machine uses state resources to run its political operations. (The Democrats have proposed, and Clinton supports, a constitutional amendment to empower Congress and states to "regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections." "Reasonable" is a completely subjective and elastic term, allowing the politicians in power to write whatever they want into law. And enforcement is equally discretionary and elastic; the enforcers will be appointed by the incumbent party.)

    A regime of that nature can fall non-violently, if it messes up badly enough. But that also requires public consensus that the regime must go – and when the press and academy are all willing cheerleaders for the regime, how can such consensus arise, barring highly visible disasters?

    Even then, a ruthless machine can still hold power, playing fast and loose with the law. Vide the present situation in Venezuela, where the chavista regime clings to power in blatant violation of the constitution they wrote themselves – with the approval of the Supreme Court, packed with their partisans, and the support of police and military forces in their pay.

    The end seems to be coming in Venezuela, and will be violent, or at least extra-legal. On the other hand, Putin in Russia seems unassailable.

    The history of Zimbabwe, of PRI Mexico, of the Jim Crow South, show that such regimes can persist for generations.

    Clinton in power may (IMO, will) establish such a regime, and effectively kill constitutional government in this country, so that the only way for regime change will be violent revolution.

    Trump won't do that.

  50. Pete Austin says

    Neither Trump nor Hillary are terrible, or awful, or a threat to America. They are no worse than previous presidents – you simply know more negative facts and negative lies about both then you did about their predecessors.

    The fact that most people in this thread believe such ridiculous things about at least one of the current candidates just shows that even clever people get fooled by negative marketing. I'm surprised that lawyers get taken in, but I guess they are off their guard in private life.

    The main new thing has been the huge amount of bullying and vandalism this time around – especially protests against political rallies – and shame on everyone involved in that.

  51. M B says

    @SIV: The only thing that the investigations prove is that after decades under a microscope there's still no criminal charges to be found. Republicans have hated the Clintons for decades and done everything in their power to throw every possible allegation at them, spending tens of millions of dollars to look under every rock, and what was the closest that they got to a criminal act? Bill Clinton falsely denied having an adulterous (consensual) affair. Congrats, Ken Starr, after the $35 million you spent digging for something against the Clintons and coming up with nothing but your dick, good on you for spending another $6 million to at least find out about an adulterous blow job. Tax money well spent!

    Now, after decades of coming up dry they're trying the "well, all the investigations (that we called for without justification) have to mean something's there," and "look, the fact that there's no evidence of criminal behavior just means that she's too powerful to be charged, which clearly means she's guilty." And sorry, but that's just shitty logic. She's a canny politician, not the Kwisatz Haderach, God-Empress of Dune.

  52. Argentina Orange says

    @Castiagne

    To be a criminal, you actually have to be convicted.

    The dictionary says you're a liar. But then again, everyone knows that about you already.

  53. Don French says

    Basically the same response I have received from anyone and everyone I ask for proof of their claim of corruption or criminal behavior. Go look it up in some echo chamber. Either put up or shut up. Well, you did shut up – eventually.

  54. Don French says

    Had a history of being continuously attacked and slandered and investigated for 30 years by an organized mob of right wing zealots? And never found guilty of a damn thing? No one! You are certainly right about that.

  55. Michael 2 says

    Don French says "attacked and slandered and investigated for 30 years by an organized mob of right wing zealots? And never found guilty of a damn thing"

    While it is not clear from this exactly who you are referring to, and it seems a bit conspiratorial or paranoid, I suspect that this organized mob started with finding someone guilty (and still finds this person guilty).

    If perhaps you are suggesting that this mob of RWZ's failed to persuade a jury of HRC's peers (of which you seem to be included) of that guilt, well, that's the nature of juries of peers. LWZ's have a very different sense of what is right and what is wrong as compared to RWZ's.

    This phenomenon should be obvious as LWZ's smear Trump with accusations that mysteriously seem to enhance his reputation among RWZ's; same as RWZ's were mystified that Bill Clinton's sexual escapades didn't sink his boat. I would not be surprised to find DT authoring his own smears (and HRC authoring her own smears for similar purposes; being the victim makes the other person look mean)

    Found guilty in a court of law? Not when you control every aspect of the evidence. Found guilty in the court of public opinion? We the jury but not of your peers.

  56. En Passant says

    If Trump is elected, customers will defraud banks, men will rape women, and women will give birth to lizards.

    If Hillary is elected, the opposite will happen. Banks will defraud customers, women will rape men, and lizards will give birth to women.

    Your choice, America.

    Where are you, Harold Stassen, now that we need you desperately?

  57. Jonas Simms says

    People asking for proof of Hillary's corruption?

    How about the Tyson food bribe she took. Granted, it was a long time ago but you have one of two choices:

    a) Hillary used a Tyson food employee to help her invest $1000 in cattle futures, something which she had no experience in. She made almost a 100X return on investment in a very short time.

    b) Tyson foods bribed her by filing two contracts, eating the one that lost money and giving the one that made money to Hillary Clinton. In return, they got access and favorable treatment in various Arkansas legal matters such as a water pollution case, and others.

    This seems to be fairly cut and dry, you'd have to be in denial to claim it's a). This is one of the few "Hillary is corrupt" accusations that's more than a kooky right wing conspiracy theory.

  58. Your Friendly Neighborhood Zionist Boogeyman says

    @Jonas Simms
    Well, she wasn't convicted, and honestly, if she is guilty of that, it's hardly anything unusual (unfortunately) for a career politician. So yeah, although I find her record personally distasteful, and some of her positions frightening, I'm still voting for her. Creepy corporate puppets frighten me less than fascists.

  59. Cromulent Bloviator says

    @Jonas Simms:

    Option 3: a Democrat made a good investment with normal profit that people who made that investment at that time made.

    I've always wondered, is the presumed "problem" there that a Democrat made too much profit on a trade, or that a woman made money investing in something manly and agricultural?

    It is actually clear just from the menu of choices that you provide that they're not based on any evidence. It shouldn't be necessary even to be one of us old farts who remembers it from when they investigated and found out it was a real trade, and there was nothing even suspicious about it. The gaps that you speculate about actually show that there is no basis for the speculation, because the type of information you would need to have to suspect the one thing would be enough to rule out the other one. There is a giant gap between your speculations that includes any number of scenarios where nothing wrong happened. Why do you even suspect there was a problem with that trade in the first place? Crickets.

    Hillary Clinton is not only a brilliant leader, she has mind control. She is a Force of Nature, and will make America exceptional again.

  60. IForgetMyName says

    Well, you're either voting for Donald, voting for Hillary, or your vote is meaningless since everyone else can't mathematically win.

    Honestly, I was hoping that this election would be the one where a libertarian or other third party candidate would, if not win, at the very least make a good enough showing to start changing that particular attitude. To have two main party candidates this shitty is in this respect a rare and wondrous thing.

    Unfortunately, Gary Johnson–who might actually be a decent statesman–did not handle himself great as a candidate. (I know the really hardcore libertarians have an isolationist streak, but would it have killed him to read the wikipedia page on Syria?)

  61. Michael 2 says

    Don French writes, in case anyone didn't notice, "Well, you did shut up – eventually."

    As will you, eventually :-)

    You seek things to argue about. I do not find you interesting.

  62. ravenshrike says

    It is true that Trump is akin to a case of Necrotizing Faciitis which generally disfigures and has a 40% death rate. Unfortunately Clinton is the equivalent of Stage C Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia which has a 100% death rate. Do the smart thing, vote Necrotizing Faciitis.

  63. J R in WV says

    Without going into any unproven criminal conspiracies, by just taking the candidates own words as representing their intentions, Donald Trump intends to end the rule of law, and Hilary does not. Donald Trump intends to resume racial profiling and use of hatred for immigrants, and Hillary Clinton does not.

    Donald Trump favors the proliferation of nuclear weapons to South Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia, at least. Hillary Clinton does not. Donald Trump is in favor of torturing prisoners, and Hillary Clinton is not. Donald Trump intends to order our military to commit war crimes, and Hillary Clinton does not.

    I'm not making any of this up. I've heard these intentions from Donald Trump's own mouth, unless the TV people have gotten really good at making false Computer Generated Imagry of real people, and those real people don't protest that it isn't them, it isn't true. Donald Trump is running for office based upon the intentions I list above. Which are loathsome and unAmerican.

    Hillary is running for office with complete detailed plans to improve many things in this country, and perhaps helping other countries to improve as well. Not a single criminal intention or broken international treaty (which constitutionally have the force of law) in the whole list of her plans for the next 4 years.

  64. Michael 2 says

    J R writes "Hillary is running for office with complete detailed plans to improve many things in this country"

    I would appreciate a link to these complete detailed plans. As to whether the country is improved by them I suppose it depends on your sense of ideal.

  65. Rob says

    Don French,

    Why does any criticism of Clinton have to be based on her age or her sex? Jesus, this is exactly why the right-wing screams about Hillary supporters. It's become a cliche, one you are proudly perpetuating, that people only dislike her because they are sexists.

    No, I dislike her because of her policies, her political ideology, and because I feel like she represents one very important problem in American politics. That problem is, and I feel Trump represents the same thing, the continuous pushing of both parties to their extreme fringes. Moderates of both parties have been continually pushed out year, after year, after year. Clinton is very far left while Trump is very far right. I am tired of seeing both parties, who have each produced great leaders and statesmen over the years, abandon the people who actually see compromise and discussion as a good thing.

    From 2000 onward, I have watched as each party gets more and more vicious in its rhetoric and treatment of their moderate members. Trump and Clinton, both, represent a continuation of the same tactic and same alienation.

    I don't care which party controls the White House. I don't care which party controls either house of Congress. I don't care which party can claim more USSC appointments than the other. What I do care about, however, is seeing rational, moderate, reasoned, intelligent people in a position of power.

    A vote for Trump OR Clinton just ensures that that the extremists of both parties get more power while moderates continue to get pushed out.

    So, yeah, say my vote doesn't matter. Maybe it doesn't, and I really don't care. But, I AM voting third party. I will do so proudly, knowing that, at the end of the day, my vote belongs to no one but myself. I don't have a duty to vote for anyone but the candidate of my choice. If I want to vote third-party, or do a write-in vote for Mickey Mouse, that is my decision.

  66. Daniel Weber says

    or your vote is meaningless since everyone else can't mathematically win.

    If you vote thinking your choice could swing the ballot nationally, you are deranged. You are more likely to win the powerball three times in three weeks.

    Voting is an expressive act. Express yourself.

  67. Bill Kilgore says

    From Total's link to wiki, "one analysis performed by the University of Auburn and published in the Journal of Economics and Finance replicated Hillary's trades found that the odds of a return that large during the period in question were about one in 31 trillion."

    One in 31 trillion. Those are the odds offered by her supporters that a particular instance of corruption was something other than it obviously was.

    And they still cling to it.

    Being a Democratic politician is like being a star quarterback at a high school where all the girls are slightly overweight freshmen with alcoholic parents. Nothing you can say or do will keep them from loving you completely and totally.

  68. BadRoad says

    @IForgetMyName

    Honestly, I was hoping that this election would be the one where a libertarian or other third party candidate would, if not win, at the very least make a good enough showing to start changing that particular attitude.

    I've seen the claim that, if you want a Libertarian or Green candidate to have a shot at the Presidency, you need to start by getting a few dozen Libertarian or Green candidates elected to Congress, and maybe a few governors and a couple hundred state legislators as well. This opinion didn't come from a career politician, but it did come from a dual American/Irish citizen who has been voting in both governments' elections for decades and so has seen both our system and a multiparty parlaimentary system in action.

  69. Michael 2 says

    Cromulent Bloviator throws the fallacy of the false alternatives into the ring: "I’ve always wondered, is the presumed problem there that a Democrat made too much profit on a trade, or that a woman made money investing in something manly and agricultural?"

    I'll take door number 3.

    You sound suspiciously like a Republican explaining Romney's wealth. He earned it and so can you.

    "Hillary Clinton is not only a brilliant leader, she has mind control."

    As Obiwan Kenobi says, "the force can have a strong influence on the weak minded."

    "and will make America exceptional again."

    Venezuela is exceptional. So is Singapore and a great many other places I'd rather not even visit.

    Now about that huge return on investment: "but the Tyson-linked attorney, James Blair, admitted that he advised Clinton when to buy and sell the futures." [http]://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2016/02/02/Why-37-Year-Old-Clinton-Financial-Scandal-Still-Relevant

    I wonder if he would do the same for me? Probably not.

  70. says

    Rob says

    November 3, 2016 at 6:31 am

    It actually doesn't matter who is President or who we vote for in Senate and Congressional races. Their political power is transitional and illusory.

    Where the real power is, is in the bureaucracy. They don't have to be elected…most of them are "who you know" jobs and once in, they can't be fired unless caught with both hands deep in the cookie jar or else something egregious like child porn on their work computers…and there's some doubt about that.

  71. Brian Z says

    @Mike G.

    Remember that time those bureaucrats decided to invade Iraq for no reason and the elected President was powerless to stop them? I don't.

  72. Tom says

    When Brandeis observed that tax avoidance is legal he was not stating a special exception to criminal jeopardy. Working within the law to maximize advantage without transgression is the rule in every pursuit. This includes the lower classes seeking to amass resources with which to challenge the hereditary aristocracy that is spared the need to scrabble for funds.

  73. markm says

    "Donald Trump intends to end the rule of law, and Hilary does not." Hillary has _already_ ended the rule of law in regards to mishandling classified material. With what the FBI has revealed about her e-mail, the _best_ case for her is that she didn't understand classified markings and what is legally required to protect classified material. That implies:

    1. She somehow has been involved in high-level government decisions for decades without ever getting a clue about classified material. (Even if true, this is a strict liability crime. Ignorance is no excuse, especially for this law. E.g., a sailor that snapped a selfie on his ship for his girlfriend and didn't think about the classified equipment in the background is going to prison for about 6 years. Her private e-mail server was a far more serious breach than that, and if no DA will indict her, the system is corrupt.)

    2. She held a job that directly involves receiving and sending classified material and making decisions about classification, without bothering to learn anything about the topic.

    3. She falsely signed for attending briefings on protection of classified documents. That's forgery.

    4. She somehow intimidated her staffers who do understand classification into allowing gross violations to continue. Her staff should also be going to prison, or working out deals to testify in exchange for reduced sentences.

    5. The purpose of her private server was to avoid both FOIA actions, and to allow her to delete evidence if her actions were ever investigated. She did have attempt to have masses of evidence deleted.

    So by the interpretation of the evidence most favorable to her, she was willfully incompetent to be the secretary of state. She broke the FOIA laws, she destroyed evidence, and she is guilty of forgery – and in regards to mishandling and endangering national secrets, she is pleading ignorance of the law. It's much more likely that she is lying about being ignorant, and did in fact deliberately have classified e-mails transferred to her private server.

    Others have gone to prison for far less. She has helped to create a situation where a director of the FBI (and a long-time Clinton partisan) felt is was OK to go before Congress and assert that important people can get away with things that unimportant people spend years in federal prison for.

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