Musing about law, books, and politics

No Surprise: More Trump Team Lawbreaking

Trending this morning on Twitter:

These two things go together.

I agree with Bill Kristol:

I also trust the 60-65% of Americans who are not part of Trump’s base to see it.

We shouldn’t be shocked by Sondland’s refusal to testify. (From Yale professor Timothy Snyder: Outrage comes from shock, and shock is a luxury.)

Sondland has no diplomatic experience. Trump appointed him because he donates lots of money, including $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee. That tells you everything you need to know.

Trump doesn’t hire competent people. He hires loyal people.

In June I warned that we’re in for more Trump lawbreaking before this over.

I also explained why this won’t end well for the Trump-GOP. The demographics are against them, and our institutions are holding out.

If you missed that post, it’s still relevant.

Brace yourselves. It’s an earthquake. But we’ll get through it.

I thought that was the end of my Twitter thread. But there was the usual outrage on Twitter. People demanded to know why Congress isn’t holding people like Sondland in contempt. Others want to know why they’re not being hauled off to jail. Fed up asked:

I have a bias: I don’t like jails, prisons, or punishment. I don’t believe deterrence works. Call me a dreamer: My ideal society has no jails or prisons except for the rare person who can’t stop committing crimes, and even then I prefer a locked hospital ward (with a sentence related to the offenses and not a diagnosis).

Before you advocate jail or state-sanctioned punishment, see this post I wrote on the nature of punishment.

Jailing political leaders can backfire. Did you change your mind about bus desegregation because Rosa Parks was arrested? Did you change your mind about equal rights when MLK, Jr. was jailed?

The goal right now is to build an impeachment / removal case against Donald Trump. We don’t need Sondland’s testimony for that. We can draw the conclusion from his refusal to testify that there was wrongdoing and coverup.

I expect lots of Trump’s pals to end up in prison before all of this shakes out. Several of his pals are already in jail or have served time.

But I want any jail time to happen as a result of due process, not arising from a moment of fury and frustration.

Sara says:

I agree. Demagoguery means appealing to the non-rational side of people, and always involves whipping people into a frenzy.

Be suspicious of anyone you think is deliberately whipping you into a frenzy.

Democracy is slow grinding work. Due process is slower.

People lose patience with democracy precisely because it is slow, grinding work. I you don’t believe it, run for local office and try to get something done. The disadvantage is that the process takes a frustratingly long time.

The advantage is that the institutions and norms that make the process slow also make it hard for someone like Trump to take over. He’s also slowed down. Autocrats like Trump have appeal precisely because people dislike the give and take and grinding work of democracy.

[View as a Twitter thread]