Lawrence Tribe as Guest on Lawrence O'Donnell - The Last Word, MSNBC

May 16, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Lawrence Tribe as Guest on Lawrence O'Donnell

"The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell", MSNBC 
Show Date: 1/31/22 MSNBC.com, Transcript

Ex-45th President Confessed Publicly to Conspiracy


O'DONNELL:

Our next guest says that DT's public comments are, quote, daring the attorney general to seek a grand jury indictment against him for seditious conspiracy and forgiving aid and comfort to an insurrection to overturn the election.

Joining us now is Laurence Tribe, university professor of constitutional law emeritus, at Harvard Law School.
He has won 35 cases in the United States Supreme Court.

Professor Tribe, thank you so much for joining us tonight. 
And could you give us a review of what criminal liability is you think increased for DT as a result of his recent public statements?

 

LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR: 
He essentially confessed publicly, and openly, without any coercion, without any pressure, to having committed the crime of conspiracy to engage in sedition. Seditious conspiracy, because the United States government, punishable by 20 years in prison, because he quite specifically said that he thought he had a right to overturn the election, and that Vice President Pence had better straighten up and overturn the election for him.

He also confessed publicly to inciting and fomenting, and more importantly giving aid and comfort to an insurrection, which is punishable by ten years in prison, and importantly by permanent disqualification from ever again holding office under the United States.

There are other less serious crimes to which he confessed, but just take a step back and recognize how extraordinary this is. He basically is daring the United States government, and the attorney general, and the Justice Department, to enforce the rule of law. He is saying make my day, if you come after me, I am going to stir up my angry mobs, and you will suffer. He has been so threatening to the district attorney in Atlanta, that she now has formally announced that she is criminally investigating him, and needs FBI protection.

Merrick Garland has said that he will not stop just with the people on the ground, he will follow the evidence where it leads. But he does not have to follow a trail of bread crumbs here.

As Jamie Raskin pointed out, Representative Raskin, the impeachment manager for the second impeachment, as he pointed out the other day, this is a smoking gun. You do not have to look any further

Yes, more evidence could be gathered, the evidence could be tightened, but you have the final conclusion that the January 6th Committee has been leading up to, and trying to prove, namely, that the president wasn`t simply exercising freedom of speech, but he was organizing an attempt to overturn the election.

The initial plan, I call it plan A, was to overturn the election simply by sending in phony identical, phony certificates from seven different states claiming that they were the real electors. I am the real electors for DT even though he lost those states. That was the plan.

And the plan was to twist the arm of the vice president, tried to persuade him that under the Electoral Count Act, he had this magic power to toss out the electors who were certified by the states, and except these alternative slates, and send the matter back to the states and ultimately have the election result for the president.

That was an attempt to overturn the election without violence. A bloodless coup. If that had succeeded, we would not have necessarily seen officers crushed in some cases, severely injured in the Capitol, because it would have all succeeded without the insurrection.

But plan B, which he ended up having to resort to, plan B was this sacking of the Capitol, and the attempt through violence to seize power. And he`s now made it very clear that he has given aid and comfort to that violent insurrection after the fact, by offering that if he gets elected, he will basically pardon the people who sacked the Capitol. 

That is aid and comfort to a violent insurrection, which under 18 U.S. Code Section 2384, and 2383, this nullifies him from ever holding office again, just a section three of the 14th Amendment contemplates.

Just think about what it would mean if the attorney general just sits still now, having promised to pursue right to the very top, whoever might be guilty of trying to overturn the election of 2020, what it would mean to the people of the United States if he says, well, we are not going to do anything, or if he does not say anything. That will feed into the DT's narrative that he is entitled to have it his way no matter what the people of the United States vote for. And he has said as plainly as possible, he is going to do it again.

I don`t think that this attorney general can afford simply to lay down and play dead in front of the domestic terrorist. That is what this is, domestic terrorism. No former president has ever done it. And we simply cannot let this go on any longer.
 

O`DONNELL: 
What do you make of DT`s point that the fact that Congress is considering clarifying the electoral vote count law, that that proves that in fact Mike Pence did have the power to simply give the election to DT, and now they are trying to take that power away from the vice president for the first time?

 

TRIBE: 
Well, he cannot really needed, because that would mean that Kamala Harris would have the power to resolve the next election. I don`t think that is really what he means.

What he is trying to do is say that because an effort is underway to clarify the language of this terribly ambiguous statute that was passed in the 19th century, and plug is loopholes, and leave absolutely no doubt about the role of the vice president is simply to preside ceremonially over the counting of the electoral votes, that because we are trying to clarify, somehow it follows that the Electoral Count Act magically gave the vice president the power to pick the next president.

It didn`t do that. It obviously didn`t do that. But if it had tried to do it, that would have clearly violated the Constitution. So, it is a ridiculous argument. But it is typical of many of his arguments.

But we shouldn`t forget the fact that they are stupid and ridiculous, and not let this prevent us from seeing the danger that it poses. It is a danger that requires action now.
 

O`DONNELL: 
Professor Laurence Tribe, thank you very much for joining us once again. We always appreciate it.

 

TRIBE: 
Thank you, Lawrence.

 

O`DONNELL: 
Thank you.

 


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