With this title, the first question is likely to be, what is racketeering?
Here’s the definition from the Justice Department website:
“Racketeering activity covers a range of crimes that involve committing, attempting to commit, conspiring to commit, or intentionally aiding, soliciting, coercing, or intimidating another person to commit a specified list of crimes. Among these, felonies include gambling activities, extortion, drug offenses, weapons offenses, murder, assault, prostitution, hazardous waste violations, securities violations, coercion, money laundering, arson, bribery, and forgery.”
In testimony to the January 6th Committee public hearing yesterday, Cassidy Hutchinson made clear that Trump was adamant about wanting people carrying weapons to be allowed past the security screening stations so that they could hear his lie-filled, inflammatory speech. This is the speech he gave that launched the crowd toward the Capitol and lit the fuse for the violence that followed. It might be a stretch to bring this up as a weapons violation under the umbrella of racketeering, but it shows his intent. He wanted some of his “marchers” to be armed.
What is clear under this definition is assault. Also murder. Capitol police were violently assaulted by the mob Trump called to Washington and some died as a result.
Coercion was definitely on the menu for the day. The intent was to coerce Congress to not certify the election Trump clearly lost.
Bribery is another factor that has become clear from hearing testimony and revelations. Mark Meadows and others asked Trump for pardons after the January 6th insurrection. Trump did not grant them, but he did contribute $1 million to a PAC associated with Meadows.
Then we come to forgery. Fake slates of Electors were put forth in the seven states Trump was accusing of faking election results. In this well-documented scam, Trump-supporting electors signed documents giving the Electoral votes of their states to him instead of Biden. These were transmitted to the National Archives and attempts were made to put at least some of these fake certifications into the hands of Pence before his appearance in the Senate. Each of these certificates were forgeries of official documents. And each fake elector became part of the conspiracy when they signed their names.
A key portion of the definition at the top of this article is “conspiring to commit.” According to Cornell University’s Law Library, “Conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to commit an illegal act, along with an intent to achieve the agreement’s goal…”
All who participated in Trump’s attempted coup as part of this conspiracy and be subject to the same penalties. This includes all the Senators who voted to acquit him in his second impeachment trial, since these facts were already there and known at least by some of them.
And as an aside, since mail and wire fraud can be considered “predicate acts” or component parts of other crimes under the RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) statutes, Trump’s raising of $250 million for his “legal” defense fund—$1 million of which was paid to Meadows—but which was not spent on any legal defense at all, qualifies as wire and mail fraud.
These facts are visible to everyone who cares to look and pay attention. A criminal conspiracy attempted to overthrow our government with a violent insurrection as well as straight up fraud, forgery and collusion. The irony is that these actual conspirators also relied on fake conspiracy theories to distract attention from their crimes.
Frankly this makes Giuliani’s RICO case against the five New York Mafia families look like a conspiracy between schoolyard bullies to rip off lunch money from some nerdy kids. And now Rudy is a willing and active participant in this national debacle. Rudy Giuliani has gone from being a national hero to a disbarred disgrace and punching bag fool. Such is the lot of people who hitch their wagon to a personality like Trump.
No matter what other penalties are levied on these people, those that hold public office must be removed forthwith under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”
The biggest question in all of this is, “If a lay person with no training in the law can come up with these conclusions with some fast Google research, where is the Department of Justice and why hasn’t the RICO case been brought against Trump and his conspirators?”
The opening question of this article is still on the table. Should the DOJ go after this massive a case? According to their oath of office, they have no choice. But they have to do it right. Or Trump will once again claim he was vindicated in the same way that he did when then AG Barr whitewashed the Mueller report.
But doing it right does not mean they should take forever. There are far too many willing participants in Trump’s treason. And they are not slowing down. The steady revelations of the January 6th Committee has already shown graphically how far Trump was willing to go. A few of his willing and armed backers are in jail. But what about the other armed Nazi-minded fools still out there bristling with weapons?
Marty Kassowitz is co-founder of Factkeepers. As founder of Interest Factory and View360, he brings more than 30 years experience in effective online communications, social media management, and platform development to the site. He is a writer, designer, editor and long time observer of the ill-logic demonstrated by too many members of the species known as Mankind. After a long history of somewhat private commentary on a subject he totally hates: politics, Marty was encouraged to build this site and put up his own analyses as well as curate relevant content from other sources.