Convicted Felon Trump Claims 'Whole Country' Is Rigged Against Him - The Friday AM Quickie 5/31/24

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Jury of 12 Convicts 45th President of 34 Felony Counts

The law has finally caught up to career criminal Donald J. Trump.

A mutual admirer of a previous Republican criminal occupant of the White House, Richard Nixon, Trump accumulated power and fame under the tutelage of mafia lawyer and Nixon adviser Roy Cohn. Unlike Nixon, who grew up poor, Trump relied on inherited money and political connections to avoid charges over the decades related to his extensive ongoing relationship with organized crime. A boastful rapist and demagogic racist, Trump laundered money through his Atlantic City casinos, and used his notoriety to perpetrate frauds both petty – like running a fake university – and grand, such as the multibillion-dollar asset inflation scheme a New York civil court found him responsible for earlier this year.

In his first – and, god willing only – term as president, Trump governed in the tradition of corrupt tyrants around the world. He dispatched loyal thugs to beat up protesters while promising impunity to the most corruptible elements of the police. He abused his position to solicit, through family members, billions of dollars in from foreign dictatorships. He was impeached twice by Congress. When voters finally threw him out of office, he led a violent insurrection at the Capitol in a desperate bid to overthrow democracy and remain in power.

His lifelong crime spree is not without precedent. Trump himself made perhaps the most apt historical comparison on the campaign trail some five months ago, boasting that he'd been indicted more times than Al Capone, the "great, great head of the mafia" who oversaw many thefts and murders, but was finally sent to prison for tax evasion. And while Trump may deserve to go down for being a thieving fascist thug, he is now, finally, facing the serious possibility of a prison sentence for an almost pathetically wanton crime: lying on paper to cover up a shame-inducing sexual encounter with an adult film actress, Stormy Daniels, who was pressured to spend time with Trump by her publicist. Yesterday a jury of 12 New Yorkers – 7 men and 5 women, some of whom had expressed admiration for his presidency – found Trump guilty of 34 out of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records with the intent to swing the 2016 election in his favor.

Trump's underworld ties were on display throughout the trial; last week, a leader of the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang showed up to support Trump outside the Manhattan courtroom, following a parade of elected Republicans who have made themselves functionally complicit in Trump's assault on the rule of law. But this time, even an army of crooked flunkies could not save him. New York prosecutors, led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, brought overwhelming evidence to bear against the former president – the first in US history to be convicted of a crime. That evidence included a secret recording made by Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen, in which Trump said, of a separate hush money payment to a Playboy model: "What do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?" Prosecutors laid out a documentary trail spanning thousands of pages; it included 11 invoices, 12 vouchers and 11 checks, each of which, per the Washington Post, "accounted for one of the charges on which Trump was found guilty." In his closing arguments on Tuesday, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass told jurors that "it's difficult to conceive of a case with more corroboration than this one." Perhaps too accustomed to escaping consequences for his behavior, Trump left his fingerprints all over this crime.

Trump, 77, did not appear to take the jury's decision well, even if he on some level expected it. Reporters who were in the courtroom say he "looked upbeat" and animated before the jury returned its verdict late yesterday afternoon. According to Rolling Stone, he hoped that one juror he had spotted smiling during the trial – who he had taken to calling "my juror" – would come to his rescue by refusing to convict. But then the jury foreman stood and said the fateful word "guilty." According to the New York Times, Trump "shut his eyes, then slowly shook his head." He heard the word 33 more times, with each juror affirming they agreed with the every count of the verdict, and sat frowning with his hands in his lap and his eyes narrowed. Trump's hapless lawyer, Todd Blanche, meanwhile "rested his face in his hands and furrowed his brow." As Trump finally walked out of the courtroom "grimacing," he "appeared flushed." His son Eric gave him a pat on the back before he huddled with aides "including Jason Miller, Steven Cheung, Karoline Leavitt and Boris Epshteyn." At last, before the assembled press, Trump spoke, repeating in a bizarrely robotic fashion that the trial had been "rigged." He appeared to be dissociating.

"I'm a very innocent man," he said.

"Our whole country is being rigged right now," he went on, blaming George Soros for the grand conspiracy he imagines to be against him.

Whatever sentence Trump faces for this crime, or for any of the others he has committed, and whether or not he wins reelection, history will render its verdict on his endless, exhausting lies.


Reactions to the Verdict

  • Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg: "While this defendant may be unlike any other in American history, we arrived at this trial and ultimately today at this verdict in the same manner as every other case that comes to the courtroom doors — by following the facts and the law in doing so, without fear or favor. ... I did my job. We did our job." via NBC News and the New York Times.
  • A 'senior Trump campaign official': "The quickness of this decision is probably not a good sign." via NBC News.
  • Biden campaign spokesman Michael Tyler: "In New York today, we saw that no one is above the law. Donald Trump has always mistakenly believed he would never face consequences for breaking the law for his own personal gain. But today's verdict does not change the fact that the American people face a simple reality. There is still only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: at the ballot box. Convicted felon or not, Trump will be the Republican nominee for president. He is running an increasingly unhinged campaign of revenge and retribution, pledging to be a dictator 'on day one' and calling for our Constitution to be 'terminated' so he can regain and keep power. A second Trump term means chaos, ripping away Americans' freedoms and fomenting political violence – and the American people will reject it this November." via the Guardian and HuffPost.
  • A 'Biden campaign official': "This is the result we wanted and is another talking point against Trump but doesn't mean a lot for actual votes." via NBC News.
  • Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut: "Trump toadies are going to attack the jury and the court because they have a plan to dismantle our democracy and it relies on everyone believing the justice system is rigged. It isn't. Donald Trump committed a crime. He got caught. He got convicted. That's the rule of law." via the Associated Press
  • Republican Rep. Roy Nehls of Texas, speaking of New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan: "He's scum." via HuffPost.
  • Republican Sen. JD Vance of Ohio on Fox News: "We need to be subpoenaing Judge Merchan and his daughter." via the Washington Post.
  • Trump lawyer Todd Blanche on CNN: "I am getting paid. If my mom's listening, I'm getting paid." via the Washington Post
  • A woman named Karen outside the Manhattan courthouse: "This is a sign that there is something salvageable in our version of democracy." via the Guardian.
  • Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five: "Even though Donald Trump wanted us executed even when it was proven that we were innocent, I do not take pleasure at today’s verdict. ... We should be proud that today the system worked. But we should be somber that we Americans have an ex-President who has been found guilty on 34 separate felony charges." via the New York Times.
  • Majority Report host Sam Seder: "I'm a little bit shocked, I was not anticipating this type of total – 34 out of 34 charges, guilty verdicts – pretty nuts... You can hear people honking outside on the streets in New York." via MR.

What's Next for the Convicted Felon

  • Sentencing will take place on July 11, just a few days before the Republican National Convention, where Trump is almost guaranteed to receive the party's presidential nomination. Trump has been found guilty of a class E felony, making him eligible for a prison sentence of up to 4 years. Only 1 in 10 New Yorkers charged with the same crime as Trump have gone to prison, but then, not many defendants have spent so much time trial insulting their trial judge as Trump did.
  • "Trump is required to report to the New York City Department of Probation for an interview about his background, his mental health and the circumstances of his case that will be used to help compile a presentencing report," the Washington Post reports. But following the verdict he was "released on his own recognizance."
  • Trump's lawyers have 30 days to file an appeal. An appeals court could stay Trump's sentence pending their decision.
  • If reelected, Trump cannot necessarily pardon himself because a president's power to do so does not extend to state charges. If he does get sent to prison, he might not be able to vote for himself in November.
  • This could be Trump's only criminal trial before Election Day even though he faces three other criminal cases.
  • Trump can still become president despite the conviction.
  • 'No one knows' how this will effect the election and the latest polls contain mixed messages. Trump immediately began fundraising off his conviction, calling himself 'A POLITICAL PRISONER!' whose 'CIVIL RIGHTS HAVE BEEN TOTALLY VIOLATED.'
  • In related news: A former Apprentice producer claims Trump is on tape using the N-word.


  • Biden Bends to Pressure from Aides and Allies, Says Ukraine Can to Fire US Weapons Into Russia "It's a stunning shift the administration initially said would escalate the war by more directly involving the US in the fight. But worsening conditions for Ukraine on the battlefield –– namely Russia's advances and improved position in Kharkiv –– led the president to change his mind." via Politico and the Washington Post.
  • Early Returns in South Africa Election Show ANC Losing Majority for the First Time Since the End of Apartheid Nearly half of young South Africans are unemployed, and their views of the African National Congress are more negative than the older generations, having been formed after the introduction of democracy. via the Associated Press and Al Jazeera.
  • Supreme Court Conservatives Circle the Wagons as Chief Justice Roberts Refuses Recuse Alito from Jan. 6 Cases The court's new code of conduct, adopted in November following revelations of corruption involving Justices Sam Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas, prohibits justices from engaging in political activity and calls for them "to recuse from cases in which 'the Justice's impartiality might reasonably be questioned." via the New York Times and the Washington Post.
  • Labor Department Sues Hyundai Over Child Labor in Alabama Factories A staffing agency and a Hyundai supplier, also named in the lawsuit, employed a 13-year-old girl to work up to 60 hours a week on an assembly line shaping sheet metal. via the New York Times and the Associated Press.


7.5 percent

That's the share of US college students who were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2022, more than double the number from 2017, the New York Times reports. The doctor who tracked the "shocking" increase in PTSD cases blames it on growing "'broader societal stressors' on college students, such as campus shootings, social unrest and the sudden loss of loved ones from the coronavirus."


5/31: It's Casual Friday! If Trump's conviction hasn't changed the schedule, Sam & Emma will speak with Meron Rapoport, editor of Local Call and writer at +972 Magazine, to discuss his recent piece entitled "Surveillance and interference: Israel's covert war on the ICC exposed", co-authored with Yuval Abraham. Then, they speak with Canadian-American journalist & writer Guy Lawson to discuss his upcoming book Hot Dog Money: Inside the Biggest Scandal in the History of College Sports.


Israel Zip-Ties and Blindfolds Citizen for 'Liking' Pro-Palestine Social Media Post

Just following orders, apparently.

Libertarian Party Hot Mic DISASTER Is Beyond Parody



"He still has people beholden to him, you know, different things, favors. He's been around so long that God knows who was placed where, who got a job, or things like that, and that's where all this comes into play."

-- Joseph Barreto, founder of the SOMOS New Jersey Political Action Committee, speaking to speaking to NBC News about how Democratic Sen. 'Gold Bar' Bob Menendez continues to wield power despite his ongoing criminal trial on federal bribery charges. People close to Menendez say he has "unfinished business" in Washington, DC; and he has collected enough signatures to run for reelection to the Senate as an independent, likely facing off against the Democratic front-runner, Rep. Andy Kim, whose message is that "voters deserve better."

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