Former President Donald Trump’s latest four-count indictment over the aftermath of the 2020 election won’t come close to fulfilling Democrats’ dream of barring the Republican frontrunner from running for high again. duties, a prominent law professor told Fox News.
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley’s analysis was essentially supported by another legal expert, former New York federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy, who noted that he himself sued successfully a “seditious conspiracy” case and said the Trump investigation fell far short of that threshold.
Fox News correspondent David Spunt reported on “The Five” that Trump was charged with four counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct official process, obstruction of an attempt to obstruct official process and conspiracy against rights.
Turley told ‘The Five’ that special counsel Jack Smith might “give in to his weakness” with the indictment.
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“(Smith) may be stretching the law a bit, so we’re going to look at things like witness tampering to see how much new evidence he has,” Turley said. “You will notice that not being discussed in all this is an incitement plot (or) a seditious plot.”
He noted that those two claims were paramount in Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California’s, second impeachment proceedings against Trump.
“These are the claims that Democrats say were lead pipe straps, where the evidence was absolutely clear,” he said. “They don’t appear to be in that indictment just yet, but we’ll have to see.”
“Jack Smith has a reputation for stretching criminal laws beyond the breaking point. He went after (former Republican Governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell) and got a conviction there. He was knocked down at unanimity because he just stretched the law too far.”
Democrats and Trump critics have long accused the former president of urging his supporters to forcibly nullify the election by storming the Capitol. Trump has repeatedly stressed that he is urging supporters who marched to demonstrate “peacefully” on Capitol Hill.
Host Jesse Watters told Turley that Smith’s indictment “read like a transcript from an MSNBC show” and expressed disbelief that it appears to be reigniting 2020 voter fraud allegations in Pennsylvania, in Arizona, Nevada and Michigan.
Watters joked that Democrats might not want to go back to defending the “integrity” of the electoral system in Philadelphia.
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Turley has previously said Democrats are unlikely to see their dream of having Trump ruled ineligible for elected office come true with the latest indictment.
“Democrats have been toying with this for years with the 14th Amendment and disqualification claims,” he said. “It’s kind of a story you tell your kids at night if you’re a Democratic household so they can sleep peacefully, but I have to tell you I’m very skeptical.”
“I don’t think a conviction would stop Donald Trump from running, and besides, if he gets elected, it wouldn’t stop him from forgiving himself. It wouldn’t stop other elected Republicans from forgiving him. .”
In “Special Report,” Turley was joined by McCarthy, who reacted to details in the indictment showing descriptions of phone calls between Trump and then-Vice President Mike Pence regarding the election.
Trump has repeatedly asserted that Pence has the power to return voters lists to state legislatures under the Voter Count Act of 1887.
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McCarthy referenced how some Trump cronies pressed him on the theory, which could be linked to the conspiracy count in the indictment, but suggested that no matter how “frivolous” such machinations are probably protected speech.
“I think it’s even beyond that. I think there you get into this whole idea of criminalizing a frivolous legal theory,” McCarthy said, naming Trump-friendly lawyer John Eastman, who passed on the voter list theory.
Eastman reportedly lobbied for some states to nominate lists of “alternate” voters who would help resolve disputed lists presented to Pence as Senate speaker at the time of the Jan. 6 count.
“Eastman’s theory may have been bad. I think it was a bad theory, but it was something he was allowed to rely on,” McCarthy said.
“And generally speaking in this country what we do with frivolous legal theories is we think the jury system will take care of it or the political system will take care of it. don’t criminalize. And that’s what this indictment attempts to do.”
McCarthy also said that tying Trump to the incitement, as Smith would, would be “low rent stuff that prosecutors aren’t supposed to do.”
“If you have evidence that Trump incited, then charge him with incitement. But, of course, I can say that as someone who actually successfully prosecuted a seditious conspiracy case, they don’t have no prayer for a matter like that…”
“There’s a section (in the indictment) that’s called ‘exploiting the violence of January 6’ – I forget exactly how it’s articulated, but he talks about exploiting it because he can. ‘accused of actually aiding and abetting him or committing him in any action liable way.’
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