The “Actions” of a President Are Entirely and Only His Words
A president doesn’t take any actions; she or he only speaks. And those words either inspire others to act, or directly motivate the actions of others (such as proposing new laws), or in some cases get transcribed to executive orders (the closest a president gets to taking action). The actual signing of an executive order — affixing one’s signature — is an action of course, but that’s just a ceremonial, administrative formality. The president doesn’t perform a single task that provides for the common defense or promotes the general welfare. She doesn’t even get to spend money; that’s one of the most genius of our founding principles… that only one half of one third of our government gets that ability.
The analogy is perfect with corporate CEOs or even organized crime bosses: it’s all and only in what a president says. And, as the analogy has been made, when a crime boss says things such as “That’s a nice house you have there… it would be a shame if anything happened to it,” we accept that that’s how the criminal world works; there are either few or no cases of crime bosses being recorded saying to kill someone or commit an obvious crime. It’s always by implication, not explicit language. Yes, there are cases of idiot politicians being caught doing so in covert operations, but they’re not professional criminals; in those cases we, the public, elected idiot amateurs who were not skilled enough to run legal or illegal operations competently.
And so, we now have a situation where a US president said, in three different situations, the equivalent of “that’s a nice country/state/capitol you have there… it would be a shame if anything happened to it…”:
To Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state
“I just want to find 11,780 votes.”
To Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky
“I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. … There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution …” (And of US envoy Marie Yovanovitch) “Well, she’s going to go through some things.”
And to the crowd of January 6th, 2021
“And we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore. … We will stop the steal. … Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong.”
Yes, it is commonplace language to talk about even ‘killing’ one’s opposition, in sports, in the workplace, and sadly even in small-time politics. But it is a different weapon in the hands of a president.
Just as no gangster is ever convicted based on statements requesting outright crimes, we won’t have it be that simple with the president. We must hold him accountable for only his criminal, implicit words. And the matter of establishing ‘intent’ is silly. What matters is control. Did he do things with direct control, or was it somehow forced on him by accident or unfortunate circumstance? Answer: in all cases it was 100% under his control. He chose to inflame the rioters at the Capitol. He chose not to tamp down the riot that caused 5 deaths and dozens of grievous injuries to police, and untold damage to our seat of government.
All jurisprudence — criminal justice at least — hinges on the very narrow fulcrum of “reasonable doubt.” And it’s really as simple as boiling it down to being reasonable… in all matters at the end. We either are capable of exercising reason or we are not; we can either face the truth right in front of us or we can’t. Everything in the adjudication of Trump’s complicity is right in front of us and has been for a while. Are we collecting and publishing more substantiation for it all? Sure. Does that make us feel better about reasonable doubt, or certainty of crime? Perhaps. But if we didn’t have the guts to face the facts before the new substantiation, I doubt it will make a difference… it will add to the distracting notion that the crime is in the traceability of actions. It is not, and the actions only trace so far. They will continue to trace back only to words.
His crime is his words and we must show the bravery to convict him on only that, or the next president will be allowed to bribe and pressure foreign and domestic officials and incite violence against our own government.