Ex-Watergate prosecutor: Trump’s infamous call to Brad Raffensperger is enough to send him to prison

Ex-Watergate prosecutor: Trump’s infamous call to Brad Raffensperger is enough to send him to prison

Donald Trump’s final day as a political force will come eventually—with the heat death of the universe, if nothing else. Right now, Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis is racing against the House Jan. 6 committee and the silent ravages of untold acres of extra crispy chicken skin—enough to upholster one of Jupiter’s smaller moons, I’ve been told—for the honor of finally muting the feral gibberish disgorging from King Derp’s yawning lie-hole. 

That said, we’ve been waiting for Trump’s ultimate defenestration for so long, it often feels like the day will never come. And considering we have a relatively short window in which to end his dangerous, antidemocratic growl movement before the thousand-year Trumpian Reich turns every last one of our brains into tomato aspic, we have to walk a fine line between hope for a Trumpless future and despair for our suddenly precarious republic.    

So with that caveat in mind, here’s one small nudge toward optimism. 

On Sunday, MSNBC’s Katie Phang invited former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman on her show to discuss Trump’s future—or lack thereof. And while I’ve heard enough breathless “Trump is really doomed this time” analysis to keep me jaded for the rest of this millennium at least, Akerman not only has decades of legal experience, he also worked for seven years as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York and, before that, as an assistant special Watergate prosecutor. And according to him, Trump’s infamous phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which Trump tried to convince state election officials to gift him thousands of fake votes, is the smoking gun that could finally strip the bark off this irredeemable asshole.


PHANG: “You mention that you guys had tapes in the Nixon-Watergate situation. We have a tape, though, right? We have that tape of Donald Trump pressuring Brad Raffensperger. In your opinion, you don’t think that that’s going to be enough?”

AKERMAN: “Oh, I think that’s enough. No, if you’re asking me which of the cases right now, which one is going to send Donald Trump to prison, that’s the case. There’s a really neat three-year felony in Georgia that Donald Trump has violated. Prosecutors love tape-recorded evidence because you can’t cross-examine it. What is significant, though, with those tapes is, is that when you put it in the context of all of the evidence that the Jan. 6 committee has uncovered. You put that together, Donald Trump has zero defense in Georgia. If I had to put my money on one prosecution that’s going to go forward here, that will send Donald Trump to jail, it’s Georgia. No question about it. The only defense he’s got there is trying to somehow pick up on some ambiguity in the tape, that he didn’t really mean what he said. But once you look at what he said, trying to get Brad Raffensperger to come up with extra votes to make him the winner in Georgia, and put that in the context of what the Jan. 6 committee has found, I think they’ve got a case beyond a reasonable doubt.”

So do I really think this is the end of Trump? Should anyone? Hell if I know. I was naive enough to think the Mueller investigation might scuttle his presidency. But Trump no longer has his top consigliere, Bill Barr, around to protect him. And he no longer has the seemingly impenetrable shield of the presidency to keep him out of stir.

But one thing is clear: This mad dog needs to be restrained one way or another, and it has to happen soon or we could be left shaking our fists at his lawless antics for another four, eight, or 80 years—assuming it’s possible to isolate his DNA for cloning before his purpling carcass is choppered to the crematory like a SeaWorld orca. 

Fingers crossed, folks. Maybe justice will prevail in the end after all. And in a world where we often have a stark choice between pessimism and optimism, I’ll lean toward the latter every time. It’s the only thing that keeps me sane.

Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.

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