The big news on Thursday was the announcement that Donald Trump had no tapes of conversations between him and former FBI Director James Comey. Six weeks ago, Trump levied a not-so-veiled twitter threat against Comey, suggesting that there were “tapes” of their conversations. Yesterday, Trump’s tapes disappeared quicker than Scotch Tape on holiday gifts.
Two weeks ago, following Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Trump administration was given until today to turn over or verify the existence of the alleged tapes. Trump’s answer arrived a day early via his favorite channel of communication — at the end of an early morning tirade of psychologically unbalanced tweets.
Trump’s tweets followed a night of frenzied fascist-style rally where Trump was in his element, spinning lie after lie to a crowd of brainless zombies. Morning news programs attempting to fact check Trump’s blathering mimicked The Gong Show — sounding buzzers and other sound effects in rapid succession with each of Trump’s many “alternative facts.” At this point, the Trump administration has so many alternatives that physicists around the globe are confirming the existence of a long-sought alternate universe.
Between Trump’s Thursday denial that he made or has tapes and the Red Hat crowds at Wednesday’s rally in Iowa, authorities should be investigating at least two crimes today. Both are serious, but one uncodified offense is a bigger threat to America than Trump’s abuse of power.
Title 18 Section 1512 of the United States Code defines the federal crime of tampering with a witness. The law states, in relevant part, that a person commits tampering when he “knowingly uses intimidation, threatens, or corruptly persuades another person, or attempts to do so, or engages in misleading conduct toward another person, with intent to influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding; or causes or induces any person to withhold testimony from an official proceeding.”
In the ongoing investigation of Trump, special prosecutor Robert Mueller must consider if Trump’s twitter innuendo about tapes rises to witness tampering vis-à-vis James Comey. Whether Trump knowingly used intimidation is the crux of the question the special prosecutor must weigh. At first blush, Trump’s threat of tapes appears to satisfy Section 1512, but Comey was simply too smart to fall for the cheap ruse.
A 2007 lawsuit filed by Trump against his biographer, Timothy O’Brien, offers some insight into how Trump operates and whether the instant reference to tapes is a viable threat. Lawyers for O’Brien deposed Trump for the 2007 lawsuit and one line of questioning may come back to haunt Trump. It was when O’Brien’s legal team asked Trump about a threat of tapes of interviews between Trump and their client, and Trump admitted — rather sheepishly — that he may have mentioned tapes, but had not made them.
The existence of other instances of Trump claiming “TAPES!” where no tapes appear, demonstrates that Trump has a pre-existing condition that may not be covered by any Republican plan for America. It undermines his credibility, and gives Comey the upper hand in the head-to-head between Trump and the witness.
While there are statutes for the crimes Trump has committed, there is no codified definition for the actions of Trump supporters in Iowa and elsewhere. If there were, it would be the voting booth equivalent of drunk driving. BWI — balloting while ignorant — seems to be the most rampant unprosecuted crime in America.
When voters are so ignorant and ill advised that they clap like monkeys for a president who says he is going to create a new law that has been on the books for twenty years, they should have their voter ID cards revoked. If they cheer when Trump calls every — save one state-run propaganda peddling sellout — media outlet in America, “fake news,” they should be removed from the voter rolls. And each time they drool over Trump’s hollow promises and “alternative facts” they should be banned forever from placing America in harm’s way.
Secret footage of a Trump supporter at the Iowa Rally on Wednesday.
Therefore, to Middle America — the so-called red states that Trump calls his beloved base — the next time you want to get off your sofa and go vote for your favorite television personality stay home instead. Do America a favor before the rest of us end up watching Vanna White turn the letters to the Oath of Office at her inauguration, or worse, enduring some doe-eyed bachelorette who blissfully expects a rose from every foreign dignitary visiting the White House.