One of the defining characteristics of a banana republic is the tradition of an incoming administration stalking the previous one in court --- to imprison them or otherwise prevent them from ever returning to power. MSNBC is currently entertaining fantasies of doing just that to former President Trump, as Manhattan DA and longtime political adversary Cy Vance is still investigating him, fishing for something, anything, to “get” him on. Former special counsel Robert Mueller’s “pit bull,” Russia-hoaxer and current MSNBC legal analyst Andrew Weissmann, known for attacking the little-fish associates of his big-fish targets and getting them to “flip,” talked about this with mental midget Nicole Wallace and Bloomberg senior opinion columnist Tim O’Brien.
This interview indulges the fantasies of their smallish but fanatical audience that, even now, Trump might be indicted on something –- doesn’t matter what –- and either extradited from Florida to New York for trial or, if Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis refuses to comply, effectively imprisoned within that state. Mind you, they are fantasizing about this when there is no specific crime being alleged against the former President. They smile, they laugh, they do just about everything but rub their hands together with glee.
The excuse they use to talk about this is a story in POLITICO that says, “Law enforcement officials in Palm Beach County, Fla., have actively prepared for the possibility that Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance could indict former President Donald Trump while he’s at Mar-A-Lago, according to two high-ranking county officials involved in planning sessions.” The story anticipates possible “thorny extradition issues” that could arise if he is indicted.
The MSNBC video is here, if you can stomach it. It’s labeled on-screen as “Breaking News.”
Wallace just can’t help herself: she fantasizes, she says, about “a cartoon-like image of DeSantis, like, smuggling, you know, blond-headed Donald Trump out of Mar-A-Lago,” adding, “but what does this mean, practically speaking?”
What it means is that Trump Derangement Syndrome has destroyed all her brain cells except the ones that blink her eyes and move her mouth. But Weissmann answers her question, saying it could get “quite complicated.” In other words, he has to speak very, very slowly so Wallace will perhaps understand.
He says there’s a law that imposes a “duty” on the Florida governor to extradite but doesn’t “require” this. The governor also has the right to “investigate the extradition papers.” Weissmann says that if Trump and DeSantis wanted to delay an extradition, “there might be ways to do that.”
Again, they are musing about this when there are no criminal allegations against Trump.
Weissmann adds that Florida would “play games” with extradition “at its peril,” because someday it might need another state’s cooperation to extradite someone back to Florida to stand trial.
Wallace takes the opportunity to slam Gov. DeSantis: “My political antenna has been watching DeSantis, and if he won’t protect Floridians from covid, there’s no way he’s gonna turn over Donald Trump to the Manhattan DA.” Her guests chuckle.
Weissmann seems to enjoy telling Wallace that if Trump’s extradition is delayed, he will be, in effect, “imprisoned” in Florida. “It certainly would be quite an interesting issue if he were to, for instance --- this is WAY down the road --- but if he were to try and run again, for President, you know, he would not be inhabiting the White House [laughs] in that situation, because there would be papers seeking his extradition to New York.”
Wallace says this would be funny “if it didn’t reek of such dirty business.” I agree, there’s dirty business going on here, but it’s not anything Trump and DeSantis are doing. It’s what the Manhattan DA and his accomplices in the media are doing.
Tim O’Brien discusses one specific financial dealing that has been reported in conjunction with this story --- not concerning anything Trump himself did, but rather Trump’s chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, who received funds for private school tuition from 2012-19 for his grandchildren from the Trump Organization and allegedly did not report this (or his son and/or ex-daughter-in-law did not) on tax forms. Here are the details.
New York prosecutors have subpoenaed Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School and are also seeking cooperation from Weisselberg, “according to people familiar with the matter,” reports THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.
The investigation into Trump is "a multi-faceted financial fraud investigation,” says Tim O’Brien, involving “tax fraud, accounting fraud, and a number of other illegalities.” He thinks these are some of the minor infractions that they could probably “get Trump” on (his words).
“You know, it’s extraordinary that we’re talking about extradition,” he says, not understanding the irony of his own words. It certainly is extraordinary, given that there are no specific criminal allegations against Trump. Nevertheless, O’Brien seems to feel pretty confident: “I don’t think they’re gonna serve him with an indictment unless they believe they have a bullet-proof case. The Manhattan District Attorney is not gonna go forward with this epic, historically significant criminal indictment of a former President without believing it’s bullet-proof.”
He thinks “the fact that they’ve gone this far down the tree, that they’re shaking Weisselberg family members, is a very strong indicator of how hard-core they are about this.” I'd say it shows how deep they have to fish.
O'Brien looks for Trump to resist arrest and for it to “become a carnival, undoubted, and tragicomic, as everything is surrounding Trump, because I don’t think he’ll have any hesitation to try to encourage his supporters to suround Mar-A-Lago [laughs] to keep the police at bay.” The trash-talking continues, but I’ll spare you much more.
He does say that Trump is “broadly loathed” both in Manhattan and Palm Beach. He might want to add his own name to the list of those who are broadly loathed, at least among those who care anything about journalistic talent or integrity.
Wallace, again oblivious to the irony of her own statements, says this is “such an unbelievable, sort of, debasement of the office of the Presidency.” Yes, it certainly is.
I actually have to hand it to Andrew Weissmann for being honest about what is really going on with the investigation out of New York. “This is not so much an investigation directly at Trump,” he clarifies. “It’s rather focused on getting Weisselberg to ‘flip.’” He explains that it would be hard to show that even if Trump made the payments, he understood that it wasn’t going to be declared on the recipients’ tax forms. But since it would be very damaging to the Weisselbergs, “it shows that they’re really still trying to get Weisselberg to ‘flip.’ It tells him “they still a ways away” from getting Trump...”This indicates to me that they’re not there yet,” he says.
Now, getting associates to “flip” in order to bring in the big fish is something Weissmann knows all about. (See: Paul Manafort, and a host of others.) Weissmann is telling us right here what a fishing expedition this is, a quest to find something to indict Trump on before the 2024 campaign.