I have admit this particular count in this week’s federal indictment of Trump for January 6 didn’t strike a chord with me. If you’re like me you wanted to see a Sedition charge. Well, there’s been plenty of commentary on why that one wasn’t there. Also, Smith is a lot smarter that I am and wants results, and as quickly as possible. Still, Conspiracy Against Rights seemed kinda vague to me. I’d read an article here on PZ by Murfster that got my attention and I began to get it. Not to mention an appreciation of the irony of a P.O.S. racist like Trump being prosecuted by a Reconstruction Era law. If you haven’t done so read Murfster’s article to see how specifically this applies to what Trump and his minions did and tried to do. It lays out the blatant racism that was targeted at minority voters in multiple states. A blatant attempt to throw out their votes.
That folks is why I predict this is going to be significant and even explosive when Trump’s DC trial gets underway. Probably long before then because there’s always the possibility that, although I think unlikely Trump can drag things out. Either way, we can expect a repeat next year and for elections after that of GOPers trying to throw out the entire votes of inner cities in multiple states But what’s important here is that this is going to get talked about in the months to come. I also believe it’s going to get really ugly.
For decades conservatives have worked with a strong sense of purpose to disenfranchise minority voters and not just in the former (well, in lots of ways they still are) states. Sure, there are places where they pull the same voter suppression tactics where white voters, albeit ones likely to vote Democratic live but especially in cities north and south, even in blue states they’ve whittled away at access to the ballot box. Not enough precincts. Not enough money to staff the ones they have. Not enough, or old and/or worn out voting machines. And other stuff. Not to mention dirty tricks like robocalls to misinform voters, or flyers that do so or bogus voter registration or absentee ballot application drives. And even more insidious tactics.
Trump filed a lot of lawsuits after the 2020 election but as Murster noted when you drill down there’s an undeniable theme – votes cast in “inner cities” (ie. black voters and other minorities shouldn’t be counted. Because “people” in “those places” were by nature fraudsters, and so were the election workers and officials. NOTHING “those people” did was on the level so all those votes had to be thrown out. Which would be enough to flip a number of states over to Trump.
It was a systematic attempt to subvert the will of a clear majority of voters – and voters and precincts in specific parts of multiple states, minority voters were the the weapon.
This might seem like one of my wild tangents but I’ll be brief. Remember how this summer reports of people showing up to the DC grand jury regarding the fake elector scheme kept popping up? I think it will wind up tying into this particular charge. How? By providing evidence that in the states in question this whole plan of forcing a “pause” in counting the electoral votes so that various legislatures could “investigate” voter fraud claims and then throw out the votes would, with an alternate slate of Trump electors allow for a sudden reconvening to count electoral votes and declare Trump the winner after all. I think, that Smith found evidence of coordination between the “Kracken” lawyers and the people putting together the slates of fake electors. It just didn’t make sense to me that Smith would be getting into all that when it was clear it was already happening in multiple states.
Anyway, let’s take a good look at the statute in question, the legal basis of the Conspiracy Against Rights count of the DC indictment. The rights in question are voting rights. Again, while it’s in a sense broad as in had the scheme worked my vote and yours would have bee invalidated, for this particular trial it’s fairly narrowly tailored to a problem that goes back to just after the Civil War. Trying to keep black folks from casting their ballots, or to have their votes counted if they manage to do so. Not that the problem ever went away. That’s why the Voting Rights Act was passed in the 1960s.
And one of the reasons The Federalist Society was formed. To slowly, over a period of decades get federal judges in place and move cases through the system that would weaken the Voting Rights Act. And eventually gut it as Chief Justice Roberts did. Had it not been for this, the possibility of attempting what was attempted in 2020 would have been deemed a pipe dream even by Rudy, Sydney and others. But make no mistake, if the Voting Rights Act came about to solve a serious problem in the south it mattered nationwide, and conservatives HATE minorities, and white folks who have the belief that minorities have the same rights as white folks can cast their ballots easily.
Like in good ole white conservative places. Whether there are plenty of voting precincts that let people park, walk inside, cast their ballot and be in their car again in fifteen minutes or less. That’s how things SHOULD be for ANY voter, just as ANY voter should be able to obtain a ballot in the mail and either simply drop it off in a drop box for votes or mail the thing in. And have it counted without all kinds of funky procedures that allow conservative election judges to challenge ballot from certain places.
As I noted the law in question was one of several passed by Congress and signed into law by President Grant who was determined to carry out Lincoln’s Reconstruction plan. Sadly, as we know his successor went about dismantling that effort. With a vengeance. Still, the law remained on the books and if not often used it was modified more than once. In fact, while pundits seem to be talking like it’s suddenly just come back to life due to this new indictment of Trump that’s not true. Check out this section of the Wikipedia discussion of this law:
In December 2020, the NAACP along with the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and a group of Detroit voters sued U.S. President Donald Trump along with his presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee under the act as well as the Voting Rights Act. According to the lawsuit, President Trump and the Republican Party “coordinated conspiracy to disenfranchise Black voters” through legal actions intended to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania via “intimidation and coercion of election officials and volunteers”.
In February 2021, the NAACP and law firm Cohen Milstein filed another lawsuit invoking the act on behalf of U.S. Representative Bennie Thompson. Other congresspersons were to join the litigation as plaintiffs. The February suit was filed against former President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, the Proud Boys, and the Oath Keepers. It alleges violations of the act pertaining to attempts to reject certification of the election results during the 2021 United States Electoral College vote count, as well as alleging conspiracy to incite violence leading to the 2021 United States Capitol attack. Following lawsuits filed by Thompson and Swalwell, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed its complaint on behalf of seven officers working with United States Capitol Police accusing Trump, Roger Stone, Proud Boys, Stop the Steal, Oath Keepers and other persons who conspired to attack the Capitol under the same act and the D.C. Bias-Related Crimes Act. On February 2, 2022, Vindman sued several Trump allies, alleging that they intimidated and retaliated against him while he testified in Congress, and thereby violated the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871. The defendants in the lawsuit are Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani, former White House deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino, and former White House deputy communications director Julia Hahn.
Why does this matter? If you watched closely during the arraignment Trump’s attorney complained several times about needing more time to prepare. He got shot down but you know damn well come August 28 there will be more of the same, with an attempt similar to what worked in FL about how discovery was going to be so onerous. And you can bet that Team Trump will try to play up the fact that most of us saw that last charge, the one I’m writing about now and said “Huh? Where the hell did THAT come from.” And Trump’s lawyers will pretend that they too were blindsided by this. AND that it’s so out of the blue, such an old and dusty statute it will take countless months to learn about.
Which of course as I’ve demonstrated is one big dinosaur sized pile of crap. Jack Smith has no doubt piggybacked on the various cases from 2020 cited, and if Trump’s lawyers, even one of them have been doing their jobs they at least took a look at all this given how wide-ranging the January 6 grand jury investigation clearly was. AND that as I also noted this summer there was a parade of fake elector scam witnesses appearing before the grand jury.
If you’ve never conducted, or taken part in conducting an investigation (I’ve done both) here’s something you may not know. A good investigator always keeps in mind that those being questioned can discern a lot from the questions being asked. What it is the investigators want to know is only part of it. They can also figure out whether they might be a target, or if not then who might be. The trick is to learn more than you reveal when you’re the one doing the investigating.
Much is made of grand jury secrecy but the funny thing is, while lawyers and grand jurors can’t say jack about what goes on, absent a specific order limiting them a person who appears before a grand jury is free to talk about it! If someone say happened to still be on Trump’s side in all this then unless under an order preventing them from doing so they could share it with Trump’s lawyers. So again, for at least a couple of months now Trump’s legal team has known this would likely be a problem once an indictment came. Keep that in mind as you hear Trump and his people whining about needing tons more time to prepare and trying to say this charge was a lightening bold out of a clear blue sky.
In the end though like Murfster I find a delicious irony in Trump finding himself prosecuted under a law that originated in the wake of the Civil War to protect former slave’s rights including the ability to vote! Trump of course probably didn’t have a clue. He still might not. If you were one of his lawyers would YOU be the one to have to tell him? I sure as hell wouldn’t. But at some point he’ll find out, just as he eventually learned the “beautiful resignation letter” from James Mattis, his first SecDef was a massive, epic even insulting send-up of him! Bad day to be a ketchup bottle wherever Trump happens to be.
Finally, the best part that the racist P.O.S Donald Trump will have to endure is a no-nonsense black woman sitting up their on the bench running HIS trial. Yep, federal judge Tanya S. Chutkan is every bit a strong black woman and even worse (from Trump’s P.O.V.) born in what he’s termed a “sh*thole country. (Jamaica) If he had to sit there doing a slow burn as President Obama roasted him at a WH Correspondent’s dinner just imagine what it will be like for Trump to have to look up and see a WOMAN, and not even a WHITE woman sitting in judgement on HIM!
Please, please PLEASE let there be cameras in the courtroom for all this.