To say that Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward have an ax to grind against Donald Trump would be the understatement of the century. If further evidence was needed, Bernstein made the outrageous claim on CNN on Friday morning New day that the actions of Donald Trump before and during January 6 were worse than those of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy.
Host John Berman asked the two elderly reporters about the DOJ’s chances of suing Trump after the January 6 hearings: “What do you think Merrick Garland could do, and if he doesn’t, is there- there a responsibility?
Bernstein replied, “We don’t know what Merrick Garland is going to do, and as Bob just indicated, there’s a huge weight on his shoulders, because it’s worse than Watergate.”
So far quite normal. Watergate has long been the standard for presidential scandal, from Iran-Contra to Trump impeachments, and many investigative journalists dream of finding the story that is “worse than Watergate.”
But Bernstein went further, accusing Trump of a very specific crime:
There is no doubt about his seditious actions. The last sedition we had in this country, on any scale, was Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy. And Trump even surpassed Jefferson Davis. He hired the United States, under him, as the head of the government of the United States, he hired him to try to stage an illegal coup. So that gives Merrick Garland real power to bring about an indictment, if he chooses to do so.
Think about this comparison for a minute. Bernstein seriously compares Donald Trump’s – admittedly legally dubious – efforts to prevent electoral college results from being certified and sent back to the states for recertification in an effort to stay in power, to the unilateral secession of eleven states with the primary goal of preserving the institution of slavery.
According to Bernstein’s logic, what would that do to Trump supporters? Are they also engaged in sedition simply by supporting the man politically?
Curiously, Bernstein’s argument has surprisingly been refuted earlier New dayby former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin during a discussion with former lead impeachment counsel Daniel Goldman.
When Goldman asserted that Trump should be prosecuted for conspiring to void an election, Toobin cautioned against this, saying, “I just think, by prosecutorial discretion, you can’t charge the president with states States of attempting to annul an election. where he acts in public, where he has the constitutional power to tell Mike Pence what to do. Um – I just don’t think a prosecutor would and frankly should.
Goldman fired back: “Don’t you think you should accuse someone of trying to use their personal — her, her — uh, public authority to try to overturn an election? “. . Last week, the whole second hearing was about how Donald Trump knew The Big Lie was a lie.
Toobin held firm: “He was told that, but he was also told by John Eastman and – uh, Rudy Giuliani, you have a good point, go make them. I mean – they may be crazy, but – I mean – he heard these arguments and they are real lawyers. . .we need more facts.”
If Toobin, of all people, is advising that even accusing Trump of conspiracy is a bridge too far at this point, perhaps Bernstein should avoid calling him a traitor.
This ridiculous comparison was made possible by Chevy and Discover. Their contact details are linked.
Click “Expand” to see the relevant transcript.
CNN New day
JEFFREY TOOBIN: And – you know – if you believe that – uh, they were involved not only in trying to nullify the election, but in inciting violence, that’s for me – is at the heart of all potential criminal case. And – and, I think as the hearings continue next week, the focus will be, appropriately, on – you know, we know about the riots, and we know about the guards of the oath and all those who attacked the Capitol, what, if anything, was the connection between the people of the White House and the rioters? This is the heart of Eastman’s and potentially Trump’s potential legal liability.
DANIEL GOLDMAN: So I have a slightly different view. I think that’s true, I think you should make more connection if you’re going to accuse Congress of obstruction, basically, on the counting of votes. I think the easiest charge, although not necessarily in terms of prosecution, but the most likely charge against Donald Trump is not necessarily closely related to January 6, but is the larger conspiracy to nullify the election. Because you don’t have to show it – you wouldn’t need to show the same connection between Trump’s actions and the violence and the insurgency and the invasion of the Capitol on January 6th. You could just expand it and say he conspired with others to try to overturn the election which, by the way, Bob Mueller accused both groups of Russians of the same charge. It is therefore certainly a recent precedent.
TOOBIN: I – uh, legally – as a technical legal question, I think you’re right. I just think in terms of prosecutorial discretion, you can’t accuse the president of the United States of trying to nullify an election where he’s acting in public, where he has the constitutional authority to tell Mike Think what he should do. Um – I don’t think a prosecutor would and frankly should. However, if you can prove that Donald Trump is inciting violence, is a direct threat to the lives of everyone, every cop, Pence himself, that’s a criminal case. I don’t think the case you’re describing, while it may be legally sufficient, is one that prosecutors would ever bring.
GOLDMAN: You don’t think you should accuse someone of trying to use their personal — her, her — uh, public authority to try to overturn an election?
TOOBIN: No. No I do not know. I, I – I mean, you know – cancel – it means – you know – using legal arguments. I just don’t think it will be –
GOLDMAN: That he knew to be wrong?
TOOBIN: Well, that hasn’t been proven –
GOLDMAN: That he knew they were wrong.
TOOBIN: – I mean, whether he knew they were fake or not.
GOLDMAN: Last week, the whole second hearing was about how Donald Trump knew The Big Lie was a lie.
TOOBIN: He was told that, but John Eastman also told him and – uh, Rudy Giuliani, you have some good points, go make them. I mean – they may be crazy, but – I mean – he heard these arguments and they are real lawyers. In any event –
GOLDMAN: Giuliani is no longer.
TOOBIN: – we need more facts.
8:11:45 a.m. ET
JOHN BERMAN: You know, history is a type of responsibility. But the other type, which you just mentioned, is a possible pursuit here. Gentlemen, you have more signaling tentacles around Washington than any combination of humans on Earth. I mean – Carl, what do you think Merrick Garland could do, and if he doesn’t, is there accountability?
CARL BERNSTEIN: We don’t know what Merrick Garland is going to do, and as Bob just indicated, there’s a huge weight on his shoulders, because it’s worse than Watergate. In Watergate, we had a criminal president of the United States, who tried to undermine the electoral system. Here we have a criminal president, Donald Trump, but who not only tried to – uh, undermine the electoral system, tried to undermine the basic transfer of power from one president to another, and organized – tried to organize – a coup, a coup like you see in banana republics, in authoritarian dictatorships. There has never been anything like this in our history, so now the Department of Justice must now make a decision because it is very clear that the President, Donald Trump, has broken the law. No question. There is no doubt about his seditious actions.
The last sedition we had in this country, on any scale, was Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy. And Trump even surpassed Jefferson Davis. He hired the United States, under him, as the head of the government of the United States, he hired him to try to stage an illegal coup. So that gives Merrick Garland real power to bring about an indictment, if he chooses to do so.
It is long-standing Justice Department policy not to indict a sitting president. It wasn’t now. This is no longer a sitting president, but a former president who illegally conspired to violate the law and the Constitution of the United States. It is therefore a different decision from the Nixon case, in which the grand jury, which wanted to indict Richard Nixon with a crime, instead named him as an unindicted co-conspirator.
But Garland has a real chance here to send a message to the country and the world that we are more than just a nation of laws, that we are a nation that believes in and demands continuity from the President of the United States above all else. . , because without this continuity, what Donald Trump has tried to do is to stop democracy itself in this country.
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