Judge Asserts Donald Trump ‘More Likely Than Not’ Committed Felony Obstruction – Opinion

Everything that’s old is new again, and the walls are closing in on Donald Trump. At least, that’s the story coming from the mainstream media over the last day after a judge proclaimed that the former president “more likely than not” committed felony obstruction of Congress in relation to the 2020 election.

It was during a decision that further documents were required to be handed over to the Jan 6th committee. This is despite the House of Representatives currently being frenzied by the ghost of an organised insurrection.

A federal judge has found that former President Donald Trump “more likely than not” committed felony obstruction in the effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

U.S District Judge David Carter said in the ruling that Trump’s former lawyer John Eastman must turn over most documents he is withholding from the Jan. 6 House committee investigating the attack on the U.S Capitol.

Judge continued to explain his reason for this statement by stating that Trump’s surrogates had circulated a draft of a memo. This was tantamount a plan to block Congress from legalizing the election and thus constituted criminal obstruction.

“The eleventh document is a chain forwarding to Dr. Eastman a draft memo written for President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani,” Carter wrote. “The memo recommended that Vice President Pence reject electors from contested states on January 6. This may have been the first time members of President Trump’s team transformed a legal interpretation of the Electoral Count Act into a day-by-day plan of action.”

“The draft memo pushed a strategy that knowingly violated the Electoral Count Act, and Dr. Eastman’s later memos closely track its analysis and proposal,” Carter wrote.

“The memo is both intimately related to and clearly advanced the plan to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” wrote the judge. “Because the memo likely furthered the crimes of obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiracy to defraud the United States, it is subject to the crime-fraud exception and the Court ORDERS it to be disclosed.”

With all due respect to this Clinton-appointed judge, that’s one of the most insane interpretations of the law I’ve ever read. A draft memo, which was never instituted, and which itself didn’t necessarily contain any knowingly illegal actions, could not have constituted obstruction of Congress because, and stick with me here, Congress was not obstructed. Further, a “conspiracy to defraud the United States” should probably include some actual attempt to defraud the United States, right? What planet is an unfulfilled draft memo?

This was the exact same tactic that left tried to use during Mueller’s investigation. Trump has been accused repeatedly of criminal obstruction of justice, only to find out that he didn’t actually hinder any proceedings. Do we want to criminalize crimes or other pre-crimes?

Even if you believe it would have been illegal for Mike Pence to send the electors back to states (I’ve written on the fact that I don’t think he had that power, so I’m hardly a defender of the strategy), batting the legality of the idea around and then not pursuing it is not a crime. Besides, if it’s obstruction this judge is worried about, should Democrats now be charged with felony obstruction for attempting to stop the certification of the 2004 and 2016 elections? Is his law interpretation only for Republicans?

There is still nothing here in the end. Trump left the White House with no fight because there was no preplanned, grand insurrection. January 6th itself wasn’t a coup, and there was no top-level obstruction of the Congress’ certification of the election, which is why the election was certified. Trump and his associates were discussing the options for resolving fraud. It doesn’t matter if one disagrees with their take on the election. It’s still not criminal, and to try to criminalize political opposition in that way is dangerous and sets a horrible precedent.

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