Let's talk about what just happened to Governor Wittmer of Michigan and whether Donald Trump bears any responsibility, legal, moral or otherwise, because justice matters.
Hey, all, Glenn Kershner here, welcome to another episode of my podcast, Justice Matters. Today, I want to take on what we learned about this horrific plot to kidnap Governor Wittmer, the governor of Michigan. And specifically, I want to talk about what kind of responsibility Donald Trump might bear, whether it's moral responsibility, legal responsibility for his conduct in connection with this conspiracy to kidnap Governor Wittmer. But before we dig into that, if you tune into either my weekly podcast, my daily YouTube videos, if you're connected with me on Twitter, where I try to answer legal questions all day, every day, you probably have a sense of of my mission here.
My goal. What I try to do is take what I learned in my 30 years as a federal prosecutor, first as an Army JAG prosecutor starting in the 80s, and then moving to the Department of Justice as an assistant United States attorney, a federal prosecutor at the Washington, D.C. U.S. attorney's office. I try to take what I learned from the inside, from prosecuting for 30 years and apply it to what I am seeing in this lawless Trump administration.
I try to take a three part approach to the the commentary, to the YouTube videos and to the podcast, where I try to identify a legal issue, put it in the larger context to try to make some sense of it, and then talk about proposed solutions, something that we can actually use to combat this. You know, Donald Trump, lawlessness and indecency. I'll tell you, I feel like we've been pushing a rock, a rock of justice up a very steep hill for the last several years.
As you might know, I do a video seven days a week every single day. And I'm on Twitter all day and night trying to answer legal questions. And I feel like we are getting to the pinnacle of that hill. And come Election Day, I feel like the Rock of Justice is going to start rolling down the other side of the hill and over the top of all of the criminals in the executive branch that we've been contending with, living with for the past four years, I do feel like justice is coming.
And justice matters to that end. A quick housekeeping matter, if I may, which is what I always tell my students at George Washington University before we get started, because this is an all volunteer effort. All day, every day we decided to start a Patreon page at Patreon dot com. That is just some where you can go. If you're interested in supporting our effort, our content, you can become a patron. Join Team Justice at Patreon dot com and we would welcome your support.
And I thank you in advance. But let me dig in now to the issue of the day. Now that I have a housekeeping matter out of the way, I want to talk today about conspiracies. I want to talk about the conspiracy to kidnap Governor Wittmer.
It was a conspiracy, as we have learned from the the complaint that was filed in federal court. It's a conspiracy that included things like this group, this Wolverine boys, not going to call them by the name that they've given themselves, their Wolverine boys, the people who can only feel strong if they have an assault rifle strapped to their chest, they can't use their words or even their fists. Not that I would encourage that, but they're so scared and they're so weak that they have to strap assault rifles to their chest when they go out.
These Wolverine boys, it's a it was a conspiracy not only to kidnap Governor Wittmer and put her on trial, but to violently take over the Michigan State House and kill police officers, kill the first responders to the scene once they arrived. And these Wolverine boys also acquired explosive devices and they tested them.
They detonated them after wrapping them in shrapnel to see if they could do maximum human damage.
I want to talk about that conspiracy and I want to talk about whether Donald Trump, given his course of conduct before, during and after that conspiracy, was born and taken down, whether he bears any responsibility, moral responsibility, legal responsibility.
So I want to talk about conspiracies. Run of the mill. Conspiracies, then I want to talk about RICO conspiracies for just a few minutes, and yes, I will be referring to my notes, but we'll edit that out later. Don't worry about it. No, we won't.
OK, so let me start with conspiracies. In my 30 years as a prosecutor, I indicted, I tried several conspiracy cases, including RICO conspiracy cases.
And let me talk about what a conspiracy is. A conspiracy is not complicated. A conspiracy is just two or more people who agree to commit a crime together and they have to take one step on the road to committing that crime. We call that an overt act, but that's all a conspiracy is. Two or more people agreeing to do a crime and then taking one act in furtherance of committing that crime. It could be something as simple as a couple of guys getting together to rob a car and then, you know, scouting out where they can find the car they want to steal, steal a car, not rob a car or two guys getting together to rob an old lady of her purse and finding their victim and moving in the direction of their victim.
That's a conspiracy. It's not fancy. It doesn't require a written agreement. It doesn't even require a spoken agreement. That's a run of the mill conspiracy. What is a RICO conspiracy? I'm sure you've heard quite a bit about Rico. And RICO stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations. The RICO laws were passed in nineteen seventy, primarily to go after the mob, the Mafia mob bosses.
And one of the goals of the RICO laws is that it was designed to hold the leader or leaders of the crew of the gang of the Mob accountable, even if he didn't personally commit the crimes, even if he just ordered them committed or suggested they committed or, you know, hinted that, hey, it would be awful if something happened to that mom and pop store down on the corner or that corner bodega, you know, that's supposed to be paying us some protection money.
It would be awful if something happened to that store. Right. That's mob talk, right. It's not an order, a direct order or a command. But we all know the message that's being sent by the mob boss when he says, boy, it would be awful if they didn't pay us the proper respect, then something happened to them. OK, that's a little bit of what the RICO laws were designed to get after. Now, what is required to prove a RICO?
I'm not going to make this a whole law school class, I promise. But let me just hit a couple of of the highlights.
So to prove a RICO, to prove that something is operating as a racketeer influenced or corrupt organization, you have to prove a pattern of racketeering activity. Let me break that down. What does that mean? Well, racketeering activity is just crime. And there are a number of crimes listed in the big old ugly blue federal code book here.
And some of the the racketeering activity, which can be a violation of either state law or federal law, includes things like murder, kidnapping, bribery, embezzlement, fraud, obstructing justice, money laundering, et cetera, et cetera.
So if an organization, a crew, a mob, a gang commits a pattern of racketeering activity, they could be subject to the RICO laws.
Now, a pattern of RICO or racketeering activity. What does that involve? What does that require? Well, the law defines a pattern as two crimes.
So two offenses of some combination of murder, kidnapping, bribery, embezzlement, fraud, obstruction of justice, money laundering, et cetera, et cetera. I wonder if any member of Trump's cabinet committed, oh, I don't know, fraud, obstruction of justice, money laundering, bribery.
So the other thing about RICO conspiracies is, you know, when you have your run of the Mill Street conspiracy, two guys looking to steal a car, you don't really have a leader necessarily.
You don't have a hierarchy of players in that conspiracy. It's just a relatively simple, straightforward two guys looking to steal a car.
But in RICO organizations, you typically have a hierarchy and you sort of have to prove a hierarchy in order to prove under the RICO laws that it is.
A racketeer influenced and corrupt organization, you know, a hierarchy like, you know, one guy at the top, you know, the top dog, some might say, like the president of the RICO organization and and then defined roles underneath the the top dog, you know, maybe like, I don't know, cabinet secretaries.
Right. And then a bunch of foot soldiers who do some of the dirty work, like, you know, maybe some of your family members, I'm just saying.
So that is a very abbreviated Reader's Digest version of what the RICO laws are, racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations.
A lot of people ask, you know, is the Trump organization, could that qualify under the RICO laws as a RICO conspiracy, as a racketeer influenced, corrupt, organized, corrupt organization?
What about Trump's administration? Could that qualify, as you know, RICO conspiracy, a criminal organization?
The only accurate answer to that question is we'll have to find out beginning in January. Because that's when for the first time, once Bill Barr is gone and we have a law abiding president and a law enforcing attorney general, I believe we must begin presenting all of the evidence of Trump's crimes and corruption and abuses to the grand jury. Might it turn into a RICO investigation and a RICO prosecution? We won't know until we present all the evidence to the grand jury and we let the grand jury sitting as the conscience of the community, makes some decisions about whether what Trump and Co.
have been doing qualifies as a RICO conspiracy.
OK, let me move away from the law of conspiracy, including RICO conspiracies, and let me talk about what just happened in Michigan.
So I would say that this started at least for public purposes on April 17th of this year when Donald Trump tweeted what he tweeted in all caps liberate Michigan.
Exclamation point. That's not a question, wasn't even a period, it was a command, it was a directive, you could even say it was an order liberate Michigan.
He knows what he's saying to his supporters. He's telling them to liberate Michigan.
So days later, what did we see? Well, we saw people act on that command, that order, that directive to liberate Michigan, and they stormed the Michigan State House, right, with long guns, with assault rifles, with nooses, with Confederate flags and with signs that said, among other things, tyrants get the rope. They stormed the Michigan State House.
So when that happened, you would think the president of the United States would want to enter the picture again after sending out his command to liberate Michigan and maybe tamp down the risk of violence, maybe tell everybody, whoa, whoa, whoa, calm down. This is not the way we go about protesting. This is not appropriate. Civic engagement, nooses, Confederate flags, assault weapons in the statehouse and signs that tyrants get the rope. Not not appropriate.
Yeah, that wasn't exactly Donald Trump's approach, because as on April 30th, this was going on in the Michigan State House.
Here's what Donald Trump tweeted out on May 1st, the next day, quote, The governor of Michigan should give a little and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they're angry and they want their lives back again safely. See them, talk to them, make a deal. So these are very good people, the ones with the assault rifles on their chest, the nooses, Confederate flags and signs that say tyrants get the rope. These are good people.
Excuse me, very good people, according to Donald Trump.
Well, now we know that some of those very good people who stormed the Capitol that day or the Michigan statehouse that day were the same people who were plotting to kidnap Governor Wittmer, plotting to kill Michigan police officers, plotting to violently seize the Michigan State House, plotting to detonate explosive devices. Those are Donald Trump's very good people that he told to liberate Michigan. And in the midst of it all, he chastises Governor Whitman for being the bad actor. Well, folks, thank goodness for the FBI and the Michigan State Police and other law enforcement authorities in Michigan because they caught these Wolverine boys, these, you know, weak, cowardly, gun toting Wolverine boys before they could act on their plot to kidnap Governor Wittmer and to kill Michigan police officers, 13 of them under arrest.
Some have been charged federally. Some have been charged in Michigan state court and they will be held accountable. So once they were arrested, once the FBI and the Michigan State Police thwarted this horrific conspiracy, what did Donald Trump do?
What did Donald Trump say, you would think with Governor Wittmer actually actually being a victim? Right. Actually being the target of this kidnapping plot, you would think Donald Trump would want to weigh in with words of condolences for the victim. It's a pretty horrific thing to to learn that you are the victim of a plot to kidnap you and put you on trial and take over the state house and kill Michigan police officers. Well, what did Donald Trump tweet quote?
This is just a few days ago, October 8th, after the arrests were made public.
Governor Wittmer of Michigan has done a terrible job. She locked down her state for everyone except her husband's boating activities. The federal government provided tremendous help to the great people of Michigan, my Justice Department and federal law enforcement, my Donald Trump's word, my Justice Department and federal law enforcement announced today that they foiled a dangerous plot against the governor of Michigan. Rather than saying thank you, she called me a white supremacist. While Biden and Democrats refused to condemn antifa, anarchists, looters and mobs that burned down Democrat run cities.
I do not tolerate any extreme violence defending all Americans. Even those who oppose and attack me is what I will always do as your president. Governor Wittmer, open your state, open your schools and open your churches.
So he starts and ends the tweet by basically denouncing Governor Wittmer, the victim of the plot to kidnap, by saying she's done a terrible job and then he urges her, open up your state and your schools and your churches. It sort of has the same ring to his April 17 tweet, Liberate Michigan. The man is irredeemable.
Donald Trump is irredeemable, and he's dangerous because he continues to urge the Wolverine boys, I would suggest, or the Boogaloo boys or the proud boys to take matters into their own hands to perpetrate violence.
This is what he's doing. And these people are terrorists. These are not militias, well regulated or otherwise. These people are terrorists. And Donald Trump, even after the FBI and the Michigan State Police take down a plot to perpetrate violence against members of the Michigan state government, police officers, the governor, he's still encouraging them to do it.
And he complains that that Governor Wittmer has the nerve to call him a white supremacist.
Well, on national TV, we saw him given the opportunity to denounce white supremacy and instead he supported it by telling the proud boys, stand by, following up with somebody's got to get after antifa Donald Trump.
Donald Trump is responsible. Let's call it what it is. Donald Trump is responsible for inspiring a conspiracy to kidnap a state governor, a conspiracy to kill state police officers. Donald Trump is responsible, he's morally responsible. Is he legally responsible as a coconspirator when we think about the RICO laws that are supposed to hold accountable the leaders of organizations who say, you know, people aren't paying me the proper respect, you might want to liberate that state. You know, you might want to you might want to do something to make sure that state governor changes course.
Stand by. You know, we can't answer the question as to whether he's legally responsible, because under Bill Bar, Bill Barr will not put the machinery of the federal government, the law enforcement machinery of the federal government into gear to investigate whether Donald Trump is responsible. Instead, he protects Donald Trump against responsibility, accountability, legal or otherwise. But you know, that rock is about to hit the top of the mountain, the rock of justice, and it's about to start rolling down the other side, folks, we can feel it.
You know, we're not buying into the poll numbers necessarily, but they look good. You know, when I was at the polling place a few days ago and boy, it felt good here in Virginia. And let me just finish on hopefully a positive note, every once in a while, I come up with a tweet that seems to resonate. And the more I thought about casting my vote for Joe Biden, I thought about what that vote means.
And it means more in my nearly 60 years of life that than any vote has ever meant to me, because voting for Joe Biden is a vote for decency in government again and kindness and empathy and diversity and inclusively. And it's a vote in favor of allegiance to the law. It's a vote to restore the the the credibility of our institutions that have suffered under Donald Trump, who has appointed people to basically try to destroy every agency they had.
And so when I was thinking about that, I thought, yeah, my vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is not just a vote to get rid of Donald Trump, but it's a vote to get rid of Donald Trump and Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo and Bill Barr and Steve Manoogian and Steven Miller and Betsy Davos and Wilbur Ross and Andrew Wheeler and Perdue and Carson and Wolf. And Cuccinelli. And Esper and Azar and Radcliffe. And Chow. And Meadow's and Kudlow.
And Jared. Don Jr. and Ivanka, all of whom must be investigated in the grand jury.
Beginning hopefully 12 hour, 1:00 p.m. on January 21st, after Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn in. It's a vote to get rid of all those people. Never has our vote been so valuable. Right. Talk about, you know, bang for your voting buck. This is it. Vote for Joe Biden, you're voting out that laundry list of criminals, of ne'er do wells, of grifters. Folks, as always, please stay safe, please take coronavirus free.
Do not listen to Donald Trump talking about miracle cures and how we should all get infected so we can enjoy the immunity that he's enjoying. Don't don't listen to any of it. We've heard no trusted medical professionals tell us anything about Donald Trump's circumstances. Keep yourselves safe. And you all know how to do that mascot socially distance, wash your hands, stay out of crowds. We know this. We know this. Donald Trump has sacrificed more than two hundred thousand Americans to this virus.
Let's put a stop to it. Stay safe, folks, and I look forward to talking with you all again tomorrow.