Aug 3Liked by Randall Eliason

At some point, it might be helpful if you could give an overview of what conspiracy is, legally speaking, and then explain in reference to the allegations in this indictment. It seems like a lot of the criminal acts alleged here were done by Trump's co-conspirators, so I'm wondering what type of evidence is needed to prove conspiracy charges.

Expand full comment
Aug 3·edited Aug 3

Here is another thought: I'm not impressed by the "defenses" offered by the various Trump surrogates. I think a lot of these seem to be pre-canned and have been raised without reference to the indictment. These are the ones I've seen:

1. This indictment criminalizes the former President's speech. Umm, no. First of all, it explicitly states in the third paragraph that Trump has a right to speak, even a right to lie about the election results. Secondly, it alleges fraud. Pressure on the states to not certify, fake elector schemes, having DOJ conduct sham investigations and make false claims to state government officials, pressuring the VP to abuse his powers as President of the Senate in violation of the Constitution. If these are protected by the First Amendment, then isn't all of fraud similarly protected? Just because the brand new Corvette I sold you for $10,000 happens to be a $10 matchbox car doesn't mean I commited a crime, I had the first amendment right to lie to you.

2. "He thought he'd won." So what? Al Gore thought he won in 2000. On the day he finally conceded I don't think he went so far as to agree with the outcome. Trump had every right to file legal challenges, which he did - dozens of them, all of which failed. There isn't an "I thought I won" exception to the laws he is alleged to have broken.

3. Advice of counsel. I know less about the mechanics of how this would work, but it seems absurd to me to think that if you want to crime, all you need to do is cycle through lawyers until you find one who will tell you that what you want to do is legal. Also, there must be some crimes that are so obviously crimes that an advice of counsel defense could not possibly avail. If I'm having a property dispute with a neighbor and my lawyer says: "Shoot him," for example.

I'd be interested on your thoughts about the defenses his surrogates seem to be offering and what you think his better defenses might be.

Expand full comment