On Wednesday, former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman discussed the implications of the New York DA’s investigation into the Trump Organization on MSNBC’s “All In” — and why it could play out entirely differently from the federal investigations.
“The big difference here is that Cy Vance is the local prosecutor,” said Akerman. “He is the state prosecutor in New York County. So he is not concerned with federal crimes. He’s concerned with state crimes. But I think we have a continuous theme here that pervades all of this. And it’s simply that all roads lead to Donald Trump’s tax returns. To make this a serious crime and a serious felony, falsifying business records is usually associated with falsifying numbers so that they falsify in turn the tax returns.”
“Interesting,” said anchor Ali Velshi.
“So in this particular case, it could very well be that they are looking at the false state tax returns that have been filed by the Trump Organization, filed by Donald Trump, and there could be all kinds of people who could have criminal liability here,” continued Akerman. “If it’s just Donald Trump, obviously, the problem there is indicting a sitting president, although the Manhattan DA’s office is not under the same stricture as the Department of Justice. They could indict a sitting president.”
“Secondly, there are lots of people around Donald Trump who could be indicted for aiding and abetting and assisting in this,” added Akerman. “For example, in the Watergate prosecution, we could have indicted Richard Nixon up until the point he was pardoned by President Ford. However, we wound up indicting four other people who assisted Nixon in the preparation of his false returns. So here you’ve got people like [Allen] Weisselberg, who was given immunity by the feds, but that immunity doesn’t carry over to the state. You’ve got people who were involved in actually dealing with this hush money, dealing with the books and records. So there are lots of potential defendants here who could be charged.”
Donald Trump’s lurch toward fascism is backfiring spectacularly
Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.
During the 2016 campaign, as Donald Trump railed against "Mexican rapists" and other "criminal aliens," pollsters found that the share of Americans who said that immigrants worked hard and made a positive contribution to our society increased significantly, and noticed a similar decline in the share who said they take citizens' jobs and burden our social safety net. After Trump was elected and began pursuing his Muslim ban, the share of respondents who held a positive view of Islam also increased pretty dramatically. I'm not aware of any polling of the general public about transgender troops serving in the military before Trump decided to discharge them, but Gallup found that 71 percent of respondents opposed his position after he did.
Judge blocking release of Jeffrey Epstein records has ties to officials linked to Epstein: report
On Saturday, the Miami Herald reported that a judge who blocked the release of grand jury material in the Jeffrey Epstein child sex abuse case has ties to three officials with a vested interest in the outcome of the lawsuits surrounding the scandal.
"Krista Marx, the Palm Beach chief judge who also heads a panel that polices judicial conduct, has potential conflicts of interest involving three prominent players embroiled in the Epstein sex-trafficking saga: State Attorney Dave Aronberg, who has been sued by the Palm Beach Post to release the grand jury records; Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, whose department’s favored treatment of Epstein while he was in the Palm Beach County jail is part of an ongoing state criminal investigation; and ex-State Attorney Barry Krischer, part of the same investigation in connection with his decision not to prosecute Epstein on child-sex charges," wrote Julie Brown, a reporter who has extensively covered the Epstein case.
WATCH: Buffalo cops and firefighters cheer officers charged with assault as they leave the courthouse
According to a report from both CNN and MSNBC, the two Buffalo police officers who were charged with second-degree assault after shoving a 75-year-old anti-police brutality protester to the ground where he sustained head injuries were greeted with applause after they were arraigned on Saturday morning.
MSNBC's Alex Witt noted that both officers were released without having to post bail.
According to ABC News, "Officers Aaron Torglaski and Robert McCabe were charged with second-degree assault during their video arraignments on Saturday and were released on their own recognizance. They both entered no guilty pleas and are expected back in court on July 20."