Wed. 1/6/21: Impeach. Rinse. Repeat.

Photo credit: Mr. Donald Trump returning to White House, after losing the presidential election while on his golf course, 7 November 2020, Secret Service, NIMA

We deserve better. We deserve a president that doesn’t threaten election officials, AND one that doesn’t incite insurrection.

Update 1/6/21: Last month, Trump teased Wednesday’s protests in Washington D.C., pushing the Senate to not certify the election for Biden. “Be there, will be wild!” Trump tweeted.” Why, yes it was. So wild, in fact, that after Trump told the rally outside the White House that Pence needed to reject the results of the election and “We will never give up, We will never concede,” armed and body-armored protesters pushed past barricades and police officers in riot gear to get into the Capitol. Asked to calm his followers, Trump tweeted them to “go home in peace,” along with repeating his claims of a stolen election, a perfect “QAnon” mismatch of tone, facial expression and verbal phrasing.

Four years ago, Donald Trump swore an oath to faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and, to the best of his ability, to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Today, he has broken that oath by inciting an assault on the Capitol, the people’s house. Not only does this monster need to be impeached, he needs to be isolated from all communication devices (OK, this just happened) and remove him from office.

(1/4/21) Seriously. Raise your hand if you thought, upon learning of Trump’s Saturday call to Georgia Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, that our country had become a backdrop in an old movie in which “The Boss” made veiled threats “…you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you...” to the shakedown victim, who recorded himself just in case things went south. (Full call and transcript here.) However, “Raffensperger told his advisers he did not want the recording or a transcript of the call released UNLESS Trump attacked him or misrepresented the call….”

Wait for it…Wait for it…

Trump attacked Raffensperger the next morning in a tweet. OK then. That didn’t take long. Noah Bookbinder of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. (CREW), a watchdog against government excess whom we respect, stated that “The president of the United States has been caught on tape trying to rig a presidential election. This is a low point in American history and unquestionably impeachable conduct. It is incontrovertible and devastating. While the logistics of holding impeachment proceedings in the final two weeks of a presidency are admittedly hard to pull off, if this isn’t impeachable conduct, then literally nothing is. Congress must act immediately.” Also, take a moment to wonder how many other calls like this Trump has made since his loss…

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Rep./Sen. [___] to know that Trump should be impeached not once, but twice. Once because his call to Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger constituted an impeachable abuse of executive power, as well as a possible violation of GA state and federal laws. He should also be impeached for inciting a riot that threatened the safety of our elected officials in Congress, breaking his sworn oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. Please ask Rep./Sen. [___] to ask President Trump to resign, effective immediately, or institute impeachment proceedings.

Contacts: Making these calls with take 3 minutes TOTAL or less!

  • Rep. Julia Brownley: email(CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
  • or Rep. Salud Carbajal: email.(CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
  • Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
  • and Senator Harris: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884
  • Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com

Deeper Dive

Did Trump violate the law, either state or federal? With lawyers, there’s always two sides. But that we, as a country, are having to discuss which laws our lame-duck president most likely broke, AGAIN, is sad as hell.

State laws

David Worley, a Democrat and a supporter of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. who is a member of the State Election Board in Georgia, wrote Sunday evening to Mr. Raffensperger and other members of the board asking the secretary of state, who is the board chairman, to open an investigation into the phone call to see if it violated state law, including a provision prohibiting conspiracy to commit election fraud (§ 21-2-603). If the board concludes a law has been broken, Mr. Worley said, it could ask state law enforcement authorities to consider filing criminal charges or a civil case against Mr. Trump.

Georgia Code § 21-2-603 – Conspiracy to commit election fraud.

A person commits the offense of conspiracy to commit election fraud when he or she conspires or agrees with another to commit a violation of this chapter. The crime shall be complete when the conspiracy or agreement is effected and an overt act in furtherance thereof has been committed, regardless of whether the violation of this chapter is consummated. A person convicted of the offense of conspiracy to commit election fraud involving a violation of this chapter which is a felony shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than one-half the maximum period of time for which he or she could have been sentenced if he or she had been convicted of the crime conspired to have been committed, by one-half the maximum fine to which he or she could have been subjected if he or she had been convicted of such crime, or both. A person convicted of the offense of conspiracy to commit election fraud involving a violation of this chapter which is a misdemeanor shall be punished as for a misdemeanor.

We agree with Leigh Ann Webster that this is the better one:

2016 Georgia Code § 21-2-604. Criminal solicitation to commit election fraud; penalties

  • (a) (1) A person commits the offense of criminal solicitation to commit election fraud in the first degree when, with intent that another person engage in conduct constituting a felony under this article, he or she solicits, requests, commands, importunes, or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage in such conduct.
  • (2) A person commits the offense of criminal solicitation to commit election fraud in the second degree when, with intent that another person engage in conduct constituting a misdemeanor under this article, he or she solicits, requests, commands, importunes, or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage in such conduct.
    • (b) (1) A person convicted of the offense of criminal solicitation to commit election fraud in the first degree shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than three years.
    • (2) A person convicted of the offense of criminal solicitation to commit election fraud in the second degree shall be punished as for a misdemeanor.
    • (c) It is no defense to a prosecution for criminal solicitation to commit election fraud that the person solicited could not be guilty of the crime solicited.
    • (d) The provisions of subsections (a) through (c) of this Code section are cumulative and shall not supersede any other penal law of this state.

Federal laws

Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin is pretty clear on what happened. In fact he threatened him. The Post reports, “During their conversation, Trump issued a vague threat to both Raffensperger and Ryan Germany, the secretary of state’s general counsel, suggesting that if they don’t find that thousands of ballots in Fulton County have been illegally destroyed to block investigators — an allegation for which there is no evidence — they would be subject to criminal liability.” Trump, sounding like a mobster as he often does, said, “That’s a criminal offense. And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer.” Nice career, there Brad. Shame if anything happened to it.

She references a tweet by Michael R. Bromwich, former DOJ IG; and Asst US Attorney, SDNY; “Unless there are portions of the tape that somehow negate criminal intent, “I just want to find 11,780 votes” and his threats against Raffensperger and his counsel violate 52 U.S. Code § 20511. His best defense would be insanity.

52 U.S. Code §20511. Criminal penalties:

A person, including an election official, who in any election for Federal office-

  • (1) knowingly and willfully intimidates, threatens, or coerces, or attempts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce, any person for-
    • (A) registering to vote, or voting, or attempting to register or vote;
    • (B) urging or aiding any person to register to vote, to vote, or to attempt to register or vote; or
    • (C) exercising any right under this chapter; or
  • (2) knowingly and willfully deprives, defrauds, or attempts to deprive or defraud the residents of a State of a fair and impartially conducted election process, by-
    • (A) the procurement or submission of voter registration applications that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws of the State in which the election is held; or
    • (B) the procurement, casting, or tabulation of ballots that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws of the State in which the election is held,

shall be fined in accordance with title 18 (which fines shall be paid into the general fund of the Treasury, miscellaneous receipts (pursuant to section 3302 of title 31), notwithstanding any other law), or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both. ( Pub. L. 103–31, §12, May 20, 1993, 107 Stat. 88 .)

18 U.S. Code § 875 – Interstate communications

Threatening Raffensperger with criminal consequences is also arguably extortion. Title 18 Section 875 of the U.S. Code reads: “Whoever, with intent to extort from any person, firm, association, or corporation, any money or other thing of value, transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to injure the property or reputation of the addressee or of another or the reputation of a deceased person or any threat to accuse the addressee or any other person of a crime, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

Other views…

  • (WaPo) ‘I just want to find 11,780 votes’: In extraordinary hour-long call, Trump pressures Georgia secretary of state to recalculate the vote in his favor
  • (USA Today) Congress should impeach Trump again and bar him from holding any future public office. Trump’s flattery, enticements, misrepresentations and badgering threats may be criminal violations. They’re certainly an impeachable political crime.
  • (Independent) Trump faces calls for impeachment over Georgia phone call: ‘This is rank lawlessness happening domestically’
  • (NYTimes) Is It Too Late to Impeach Trump Again?
  • (Business Insider) Washington watchdog group calls for Trump to be impeached, again, over efforts to tamper with Georgia election
  • (Washington Monthly) Impeach Donald Trump—Again. It doesn’t matter if he has only two weeks left. He can’t pressure election officials to “find votes” and get away with it.
  • (The Hill) Two House Democrats ask Wray to open ‘immediate criminal investigation’ into Trump
  • (The Hill) Carl Bernstein calls Trump’s Georgia call ‘far worse than Watergate’
  • (Newsweek) Donald Trump’s Georgia Call Sparks Demands for Second Impeachment.
  • (VOX) Trump’s call with Georgia’s secretary of state is a subversion of democracy
  • (Slate) Where the President Got His Lies About Georgia – While pressuring election officials, Trump borrowed claims from QAnon followers, 8kun posters, and a random Twitter guy.

One of our favorite commenters, Jaquita Wilson, made this video to explain how Trump’s actions sit with her.

Short form…

Full phone call.

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