"Well, before getting, Joy, to Tacopina, I want to say my bottom line on this is, we should be absolutely celebrating the fact that we have a functioning judicial system that treats all of its citizens equally, but I don't think we should be celebrating the fact we have a former president who has been indicted," said Katyal. "This is an incredibly important event for our country and an incredibly solemn one."
"When Tacopina says this, that there was no crime and stuff like that, I think you're exactly right to point out, wait a minute, the FEC has concluded this was a campaign finance violation, and the Justice Department in 2018 sent someone to prison for this hush money scandal, a guy named Michael Cohen," said Katyal. "And they put Michael Cohen in jail for the same stuff, and the Justice Department, when they did that, they filed a sentencing memo, and in writing, it says this was a crime and it was directed at not Michael Cohen coming up with this on his own, but Donald Trump was the one who ordered Cohen to do this. And that was not just — that was the U.S. Justice Department, but not the Barack Obama or Merrick Garland Justice Department. That was the Trump Justice Department that made that conclusion. When you hear Lindsey Graham and others talking about this being political and stuff, you know, it's a little hard given what the Trump Justice Department said in 2018."
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"My bottom line on this ... is we haven't seen the charges, Lindsey Graham hasn't seen the charges, so not sure exactly how he knows what's in them," said Katyal. "But whatever those charges are, Trump is going to be entitled to all of the protections of the criminal system, which our founders bent over backward to protect criminal defendants. All 12 jurors are going to have to agree that Trump committed a crime, and under the highest standard in the law, beyond a reasonable doubt."
"What I think people like Lindsey Graham are upset about is for the first time, Trump is going to have to face the music, a jury of his peers," Katyal added. "He can't plead executive privilege. He can't plead Speech or Debate immunity. He can't plead immunity as a sitting president. It's finally time for him to have to answer the call of the prosecutors."
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Neal Katyal says Trump's own Justice Department indicated his guilt