Michael Gaynor
'Politics ain't beanbag,' but investigation and prosecution of Donald Trump by rabid partisans must stop
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By Michael Gaynor
April 11, 2023

What is astonishing is that Trump's political enemies have failed to destroy him and remain terrified that he may return to the White House.

Kudos to attorney and constitutional law expert Mark Levin for his insightful coverage of the current blatantly politically motivated and unethical prosecution of former President Donald J. Trump by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg on his Fox News television show (Life, Liberty & Levin) on Easter Sunday 2023 and especially for his reference to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's use of the Internal Revenue Service to investigate his political enemy, Huey P. Long of Louisiana.

It is often said that those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.

Writer and philosopher George Santayana originally put it this way: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

It behooves Americans to study history and to appreciate and preserve what earlier generations of American accomplished instead of tolerating a tyrannical criminal justice system because due to apathy and/or ignorance.

The Soviet Union's Joseph Stalin is notorious for his use of the criminal justice system to persecute and even execute his enemies, whether real or merely perceived.

Lavrentiy Beria performed that service for Stalin before falling from power and being executed himself and is remembered for his "show me the man and I'll show you the crime" declaration.

The political shock that was the election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States in 2016 made him a target.

That was not surprising. He was not part of the political establishment. He came to bring change and vested interests rightly feared that because he actually meant what he said.

What is astonishing is that Trump's political enemies have failed to destroy him and remain terrified that he may return to the White House.

God still must be blessing America and Trump because Trump's still fighting in and out of court and the latest attempt to bring him down, by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, is an egregious example of prosecutorial abuse by political enemies perverting the criminal justice system.

Bragg produced a 34 count indictment long after the statute of limitations expired and claimed that it had been extended based on an alleged crime that he did not even try to explain in the indictment and apparently pledging to prove that paying for a non-disclosure agreement was a crime instead of lawful.

Non-disclosure agreements are legal contracts that prohibit someone from sharing information deemed confidential. The confidential information is defined in the agreement which includes, but not limited to, proprietary information, trade secrets, and any other details which may include personal information or events.

The American legal approach is that crimes should be investigated, not people, and changing it would be tyrannical.

Michael Henry wrote on May 9, 2019 (https://www.oxfordeagle.com/2018/05/09/show-me-the-man-and-ill-show-you-the-crime/):

"Lavrentiy Beria, the most ruthless and longest-serving secret police chief in Joseph Stalin’s reign of terror in Russia and Eastern Europe, bragged that he could prove criminal conduct on anyone, even the innocent. 'Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime' was Beria’s infamous boast. He served as deputy premier from 1941 until Stalin’s death in 1953, supervising the expansion of the gulags and other secret detention facilities for political prisoners. He became part of a post-Stalin, short-lived ruling troika until he was executed for treason after Nikita Khrushchev’s coup d’etat in 1953. Beria targeted 'the man' first, then proceeded to find or fabricate a crime. Beria’s modus operandi was to presume the man guilty, and fill in the blanks later. By contrast, under the United States Constitution, there’s a presumption of innocence that emanates from the 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendments, as set forth in Coffin vs. U.S. (1895).

"Unlike Beria’s paradigm, U.S. prosecutions start with the discovery of a crime. Then there’s an investigation to find or confirm the identity of the perpetrator and collect evidence to prove his or her guilt. However, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment and subsequent investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign appear to follow the Beria model, not the U.S. Constitution model. To call the Mueller probe a 'witch hunt' is an insult to witches.

"Lifelong Democrat Alan Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor Emeritus at Harvard Law School, voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. He says Mueller, like other Special Counsel before him, is engaging in the 'criminalization of politics.' Dershowitz states unequivocally that there was no probable cause to believe any crime was committed by Trump or his campaign. In fact, 'collusion' in a political campaign is not a crime. Moreover, constitutional law scholar Dershowitz says it is impossible for a sitting President to obstruct justice in the carrying out of his Article II powers, including the absolute right to fire former FBI Chief James Comey. But don’t take Professor Dershowitz’s word for it. Take a look at the articles written in the past year by former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andrew McCarthy, and historian and Hoover Institute scholar Victor Davis Hanson. There are many facets of the Mueller investigation that should trouble every citizen: the Comey memo describing how James Clapper wanted Comey to mention the Russia Ritz-Carlton episode in Comey’s meeting with Trump to give CNN the 'hook' it needed to publish the nasty details; the fact that Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is in the middle of everything—Sessions’ recusal, Comey’s firing, Mueller?s appointment, the apparent enlargement of Mueller’s charge in the 'scope' memo, which Rosenstein has refused to produce to Congress; the bias against Trump reflected in the tweets and actions of the bureaucrats and special agents at the top of the DOJ and FBI; DOJ’s consistent refusal to turn over documents to Congress; the Gestapo-like tactics used by Mueller, including the pre-dawn, no-knock raid on Paul Manafort’s home; the seizure of documents covered by attorney-client privilege in the search of Trump Attorney Michael Cohen’s office; and the shameful destruction of General Mike Flynn’s career for a 'lie' the investigating FBI agents said did not occur.

"And most telling, the discovery this week that most of the redactions by DOJ in the few documents they have produced are there to protect the reputation of those at the top of DOJ and FBI, and not to keep intelligence 'sources and methods' secret.

"Rosenstein’s vague charge to Mueller to investigate 'links and/or coordination between the Russian government' and the Trump campaign is vague and open-ended, and an invitation for runaway Special Counsel Mueller to pursue Trump with the zeal of Police Inspector Javert hot on the trail of Jean Valjean."

This time the zealot is Alvin Bragg, who went to Harvard Law School, but certainly did not learn enough from Professor Dershowitz.

For those who doubt that Trump is a victim of political prosecution, look at the life of Huey P. Long, another political persecutee.

Wikipedia: " Huey Pierce Long Jr. (August 30, 1893 – September 10, 1935), known also by the nickname 'The Kingfish,' was an American politician who served as the 40th governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932 and as a United States senator from 1932 until his assassination in 1935. He was a left-wing populist member of the Democratic Party and rose to national prominence during the Great Depression for his vocal criticism of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal, which Long deemed insufficiently radical. As the political leader of Louisiana, he commanded wide networks of supporters and often took forceful action. A controversial figure, Long is celebrated as a populist champion of the poor or, conversely, denounced as a demagogue."

Long was both a populist champion and a demagogue and the definitive biography of Long was written by Professor T. Harry Williams.

Wikipedia:

"Thomas Harry Williams (May 19, 1909 — July 8, 1979) was an American academic and author. For the majority of his academic career between the 1930s to 1970s, Williams taught history at Louisiana State University. While at LSU, Williams was a Boyd Professor of History from 1953 to 1979. Near the end of his tenure at LSU, the university created the T. Harry Williams Chair of American History. Additional academic institutes Williams taught at include extension schools, in Wisconsin and at the Municipal University of Omaha.

"As an author, Williams wrote biographical works between the 1940s to 1970s. For his works, Williams published multiple books on Abraham Lincoln and Rutherford B. Hayes. He also wrote about P. G. T. Beauregard, the American Civil War and Huey Long. In 1970, Williams won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography and the National Book Award in the History and Autobiography category with Huey Long. Apart from his books, Williams received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1956."

On January 7, 1935, Long addressed the United States Senate and Professor Williams described what happened as follows:

"The audience expected a circus, but Huey did not give them one. He was intensely serious, and his speech was a closely reasoned attack on the Roosevelt administration. Its theme was the ingratitude that the President had shown to the progressives who had elected him and who had then tried to steer him onto a progressive course. Instead of cherishing these men, Roosevelt had turned on them and was now trying to destroy them. He had marked specially for destruction Huey Long and hoped to accomplish his purpose by giving patronage in Louisiana only to anti-Longs, to men who would bow the knee to the administration. But it could never make him kneel, Huey vowed. 'God send me to hell before I go through that kind of thing in order to get patronage,' he cried.

"Then, turning calm, he charged that the administration was employing against him an even fouler weapon than denial of the patronage. It was trying to secure evidence that would enable it to put him and his most trusted associates in prison. The Treasury Department had sent 'hordes' of agents, 250 of them, to Louisiana to check on the income tax returns of Huey and his friends, and these inquisitors had declared that since they had convicted Al Capone, they were now going to get Huey Long, 'they did not try to put any covering over this thing,' he said: they had boasted that Long and his gang "were all going away."

Professor Williams continued: "Huey had not exaggerated in declaring that the administration was trying to destroy him. the effort was, if anything, even more determined than he described it, and the President himself was directing the strategy. Roosevelt had become acutely alarmed during 1934 at the spreading signs of Huey's influence. A superb judge of public opinion, he read in the signs a threat to his reelection in 1936, and from associates he received warnings that Huey represented another and more sinister threat: Long was not only a probable presidential contender but also a potential fascist leader. Roosevelt was increasingly inclined to believe the fascist charge. Huey could well be the strong man to whom the country might turn if the New Deal failed to solve the depression. The times were 'not normal.' the President wrote to a friend. and the people were 'jumpy and ready to run after strange gods.' As one weapon against his rising rival Roosevelt employed the patronage, tightening still more the denial of jobs to Huey that had long been in effect. He stated his policy emphatically at a meeting of his inner circle early in 1935: 'Don't put anybody in and don't help anybody that is working for Huey Long or his crowd: that is a hundred per cent!'

"But even as Roosevelt struck with the patronage, he realized that this weapon in itself would not bring Huey down. The Kingfish had so many state jobs at his disposal that he did not have to rely on federal favors. An additional and more effective instrument would have to be employed and Roosevelt hit on one in 1934 that he thought would do the job. Ironically, it had been forged by Republican President Hoover, who had also desired to destroy the senator from Louisiana.

"One of Hoover's officials was Elmer Irey, who headed the intelligence division of the revenue department in the Treasury. During the last two years of the Hoover administration Irey noted that he was receiving an unusually large volume of letters from Louisiana. The writers, most of whom did not sign their names, claimed that Huey Long and his associates were stealing large sums of state money and naturally not reporting the thefts in their income tax returns. The Treasury should start an investigation of these returns, the correspondents urged.

"Despite the anonymity of the letters, Irey was impressed with the probable truth of the charges, and he became more impressed when former Governor Parker called at his office and demanded; 'When are you going to do something about Long?' (Or so he stated in a book describing his subsequent investigation.) But he took no action on the matter until July 1932, after Huey had been in the Senate for months and had become a principal gadfly of the Hoover administration. Then he sent an agent to Louisiana to undertake a preliminary inquiry. The man spent a few weeks in the state and returned to Irey's office triumphant. 'Chief,' he said, 'Louisiana is crawling Long and his gang are stealing everything in the state.' (Irey in his book could repeat dozens of conversations verbatim.)

"Irey thereupon sent other agents to Louisiana, but as he continued to investigate he became aware that his superiors wished he would drop it. They were being pressured by Huey and were afraid of him, he suspected. He was certain of this when after hoover's defeat in November Secretary of the Treasury Ogden Mills instructed him to suspend the probe and write a report of it that would be turned over to the incoming Democratic secretary. Huey was one of the Democrats' 'babies,' Mills said, "and they should have to decide what to do about him.

"Irey was correct in thinking that Huey had used some kind pof pressure to have the investigation called off, but he did not know exactly how Huey had done it. Huey revealed the full story only to a few intimates. He related that Hoover's assistant secretary of the navy . E. L. Jahncke, who was from New Orleans, owed a bank in the city $250,000, which the bank had suddenly called. Thereupon, Huey had received a telephone call from Washington from his friend Harvey Couch, now a director of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Couch's protested the calling of Jahncke's loan and charged that as it had been at the instruction of the state bank examiner, Huey must have ordered it. Huey denied any knowledge of the action. 'I don't have anything more to do with that bank examiner than the Assistant Secretary of the Navy has to do with the Treasury Department.' he said. Couch got the message. 'Oh is that it?' he asked. 'That;s exactly it,' Huey replied.

[Note: From 1913 to 1919 President Franklin Roosevelt was Assistant Secretary of the Navy.]

"In March 1933 Irey's report was turned over to Roosevelt's secretary of the treasury, William H. Woodin. Irey hoped that he would receive instruction from Woodin to continue the investigation, but during the rest of the year he received no word from the secretary. Then in January 1934 Woodin resigned and was succeeded by Henry Morganthau, Jr., and three days after the new secretary took office he summoned Irey before him. Why had the investigation of Long been stopped? Morganthau demanded. Irey explained that he had received no instruction to reopen it, whereupon Morganthau replied that he was receiving them now: 'Get all your agents back on the Louisiana job. Start the investigation of Huey Long and proceed as though you were investigating John Doe.' If the secretary has put his charge with complete frankness, he would have said: Investigate Huey Long, who is undoubtedly corrupt but had been sought by the administration as a supporter and has now become the most powerful enemy and has to be crushed."

It was an assassin's bullet, not an Internal Revenue Investigation or a criminal prosecution that ended the political and earthly lives of Huey Long, but the Roosevelt Administration's goal was clear: to use the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Department of Justice to have Huey Long join Al Capone in prison.

The sooner Bragg's absurd indictment is dismissed, the better.

The forces out to destroy Trump by corrupting America's justice system must be thwarted.

© Michael Gaynor

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)

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