As I begin this article, I honestly don’t know which side I will come down on.
That is not typical for me. For better or worse, I usually sit down to write with a clear point of view. “Cannibalism is good”. “Leaving the tails on shrimp is bad”. “I like Kaj-a-goo-goo tribute bands”. “I don’t like movies about leprechauns, unless the leprechauns are cannibals, then I like them a lot”.
You may or may not agree with me. You may or may not block me. You may or may not want to have me arrested “as soon as possible for the love of God!” But at the very least, you’ll know where I stand. You may not be able to fathom why I stand there, or why anyone would stand there, or why it’s even legal to stand there. But I rarely suffer from hesitation, doubt or ambiguity.
This is different. On the issue of imprisoning a president, I find myself conflicted. It is an issue with good arguments on both sides. When this happens, I try to talk it through with myself. I talk to myself a lot. That is when I’m not talking to my imaginary friend Pietro who sings about bluebirds and buys melons in the autumn. This article is a continuation of that internal debate. I don’t think I’ll ever write an article about my conversations with Pietro.
To be clear, my uncertainty derives not from any lack of clarity about the culpability of Donald Trump. One can scour all of human history and find very few people who have committed a wider variety of crimes. The charges which could be brought against him range from fraud to extortion to tax evasion to obstruction of justice. He has broken numerous campaign finance laws (think about Stormy Daniels, and then STOP thinking about Stormy Daniels) and is accused of literally dozens of sexual assaults.
January 6th alone could bring charges of inciting a riot, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and even treason. Perhaps the thing that Trump is most obviously guilty of is attempting to tamper with an election, which is a felony in Georgia. I practiced criminal law for 17 years. To me, the tape recording of Trump telling Brad Raffensberger “Look, I just want you to find me 11,780 votes” is as much of a confession as if a suspected murderer said “Look, I shot the guy. His body is in my car”. It’’s hard to think of a crime that Trump…