The 40th Broadcast: The Rule of Law in America

Mar 25, 2023 | 1h 28m |

Beginning with an updating analysis of some among the many, diverse criminal investigations and civil actions involving former President Donald Trump—including the campaign “hush money” scheme of 2016 being pursued by the Manhattan District Attorney, the election fraud and voting interference efforts in Georgia being led by the Fulton County District Attorney, the $250 million lawsuit against Trump family members and their business based upon financial fraud and wrongfully-stated property valuations, and the sweeping, bifurcated investigation by the Justice Department into Trump’s inciting the insurrection and attempting to stop the electoral college vote count and his taking and retention of classified and other official government documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort residence. Embedded into those accounts are three recent judicial decisions—finding that executive privilege does not prevent the former White House Chief of Staff from testifying about criminal conversations, that attorney-client privilege does not preclude like testimony from a past and present lawyer representing the former president, and that the fundamental tenets of procedural justice do not warrant the further postponement of the jury trial in the civil fraud action being prosecuted by the New York Attorney General, now confirmed to begin in October of this year.

As always, entertaining thoughtful questions and insightful perspectives from listener-callers, including one noting the continuing, incendiary comments and behaviors of the former president in response to the increasingly aggressive legal troubles he faces—including his promises of “death and destruction” and his not-veiled but overt threats against prosecutors and investigators; all of that affirming the long-standing limits of First Amendment free speech rights—not extending to incitement to violence or enticement to criminal behavior by actors taking up that “call” and mistakenly believing that it is righteous and just. As additional illustrations of that catastrophic trend, a summary and explanation of three of the latest criminal sentences of imprisonment imposed on the January 6 Capitol rioters, along with the recent criminal convictions of four more members of the anti-government, white nationalist “Oath Keepers,” also for insurrectionist conduct.

Finally, some reporting on a “low visibility” but significant Supreme Court decision invoking the legal concept of “vacatur” in the midst of our nation’s continuing post-Dobbs debate and challenge over privacy/reproductive rights—along with the “teaser” (to be continued next week) of another major High Court review of the treaty-water rights of the Navajo Nation in our western states.