I 100% agree with your conclusion but arguing in 3 the public shouldn't judge the validity of legal process bc only got the courts should opine is a very odd position for the host of a legal podcast to take. More generally, your argument on point 3 proves too much.

Imagine in 2028 Buttigeg is running and Alabama has passed a law making it illegal to be gay and prosecutes him after he visits the state during a campaign stop. Are you really going to tell his opponent that he should go ahead and call Buttigeg a convicted felon because, after all, the people know the facts and can judge the behavior for themselves and it's up to the courts to judge the legitimacy of the conviction? What if it's one of those never enforced 100 year old laws? You can suppose congress passed some broad jurisdiction stripping bill or something so it's no longer obviously going to be overturned.

Clearly the label of convicted felon has some impact over and above the facts of the case or the conviction itself wouldn't matter politically so the argument that they'll just evaluate the facts for themselves is a bit inconsistent.

But while it's tempting to appeal to some general principles sometimes the facts are what matter so even if your argument proves too much ultimately I agree with the conclusion on these facts. While I fear the conviction risks normalizing political prosecutions, it's at worst in a grey area and even if the process wasn't ideal it still reflects a deep underlying truth about Trump's corrupt behavior so it's not like you're backing prosecuting the innocent for political gain. Besides, it would be crazy to let Trump win knowing he'll tear up even more norms because this case wasn't handled in the ideal fashion. Try to win and then pass laws or generate consensus to limit danger in the future.

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I see your point. I guess it’s up to the voters to determine how politically significant his felon status is based on the facts of the case.

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Well in fact it is up to them but calling your opponent a convicted felon is at least endorsing the idea that status is in some sense legitimate. I'm just saying that it wouldn't be appropriate to take the same attitude to a really clear case of political prosecution of some innocent political opponent.

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I hear you.

So ultimately do you think using Trump’s felon status against him is fair game since he really is a criminal, albeit not too much?

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Yes absolutely!!

If the NY prosecution had been truly absurd and ridiculous I'd feel differently but it was merely a legal stretch (as much as I dislike it that happens to random people with some frequency) and to some degree all politicians are subject to more scrutiny. It erodes norms a bit only in the sense that it was the kind of prosecution we'd have avoided bringing in the past out of caution in the past not some obviously bullshit manufactured charge.

Besides voters tend not to be that concerned about process details the fact a corrupt guy got convicted of corruption is probably all they'll really take away.

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Totally agree.

On the merits, I wish they wouldn’t have brought the case. In terms of my sympathy for Trump? Very little.

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I enjoyed the piece and I don't really disagree with the premise. I think the greater concern is not "Should Biden use Trump status as a convicted felon to attack him?" but "What if it turns out to be advantageous to get felony convictions against your political opponent?". If novel legal theories to enhance a single misdemeanor into 34 felonies (regardless of the merit of the felonies charged) ends up being proven to be good political strategy, then it stands to reason that in the running up to future presidential elections the parties should lean on DAs to get felony convictions the front runners in the opposing parties.

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How would that even work? Trump was convicted of conduct in 2016 that only came to light in 2018 and then wasn’t brought to the indictment stage until 2023. The idea that a DA anywhere could bring a case to trial in the few months between the primaries and general election is frankly ludicrous.

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If modern primaries were actually only a few months, then I'd agree. Realistically, likely candidates start "running" years before the election actually starts. There is more than enough time to start the process of preparing court cases to reach fruition when the front runner is more solidly know. Also, in years where the president is in their first term, the front runner in the following election would be known effectively known about 4 years in advance (with some nebulousness as to whether or not a private criminal case against the sitting president would be able to actually go to trial in state courts). While there are scenarios where you have a completely unexpected front runner (Trump in the 2016 election being one), I don't think the concern I have is even remotely outside the realm of possibility.

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The front runners in 2008 were Clinton and Giuliani…..until they weren’t. In 2012 Romney didn’t emerge as the front-runner until after Super Tuesday.

This is an absolutely fantasy-based argument.

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First off, hopefully we can both agree that the front runner of the race would be clear (the vast majority of the time) when the sitting president is in the first term in office. In that scenario, the time frame to find a novel way to charge the front runner would be about 3.5 to 4.5 years (since they wouldn't have to be elected president to have a DA start coming up with novel ways to charge them with a felony).

In any other case, I think we are in agreement that the chances of a single DA trying to predict who will be the front runner and getting the case through the court system after the front runner is clear is extremely unlikely. Likewise, I would also agree it is equally unlikely to be able to get a court case through in most cases when a nominee has officially announced they are going to run for president.

What I think would be a more likely scenario (and the one I am worried about) would be that various DAs in a variety of states would individually start to peruse legal arguments and get the ball rolling to bring cases to trial against at least one announced or likely nominee. Across all DAs, you would likely have cases in the pipeline for most or all of the nominees for both parties without having to know which would be the front runner.

This does not mean that there is a guarantee that front runner ends up with felony conviction during the election year, but I don't see that hypothetical as a fantasy scenario. I would also expect the risk of this hypothetical to increase if this proves to also bolster the careers of DAs who successfully convict a presidential nominee/front runner/candidate.

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Yes, yes, yes... attack Trump mercilessly on his plotting and encouraging insurrection, for his not accepting the results of an election deemed honest by his own justice department, attack him for his attacks on the press on truth and on the rule of law, attack him for his pandering to Putin and other dictators, attack him for the private conversation he had with Putin in Helsinki in which he said he believed Putin over his own State Department and FBI, attack him for not revealing the contents of that conversation, attack him for not making his tax returns available though he claimed he would, attack attack attack.

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Excellent piece. I think Biden should tread carefully, but in the debates, reminding voters of Trump’s serial immoral behavior and now felon status, as well as the three *more serious* cases coming down the pike, is very important. Not as a substitute for talking about voters’ chief concerns, but as a key sticking point against Trump that could make a significant difference.

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This here old fossil clerked for a US District Judge who presided over every federal criminal prosecution in north Alabama. I closely follow the and shoot off my mouth in the great American legal, political and religious shit show that not even the most demented lawyer in Alabama could have imagined when I practiced law in Birmingham during and after the George Wallace era.

I suppose by now every American who has access to a TV or a smartphone knows Donald Trump is a convicted felon, and they don’t need President Biden’s help knowing Trump is a convicted felon. Maybe President Biden should tell Americans what he did for America that helped Americans and their country since he got elected in 2020.. While at that, he tells Americans that he accepts his son Hunter’s felony conviction, and he announced he will not pardon Hunter or commute his sentence if he is given prison time, and in that way, slyly remind Americans of how Trump behaved like a whiny spoiled riche white brat after he got caught red-handed and convicted of a jury of his peers in his hometown.

As for the impact of Trump being convicted, his lemmings threw a lot more money at him after he was convicted, and it seems his poll ratings improved, and maybe an appeals court will reverse his conviction. If not, and  he wins in November, he can still be president, even if he is in a New York state prison.

Based on my frequent dealings with MAGAs in Alabama, a jail bird Trump won’t matter to them, because they are convinced every federal and state criminal and civil prosecution of Trump, federal is fake liberal commie democrat witch hunt, and that whatever Trump says is the God’s gospel, and there is no convincing them otherwise.

Please understand, Josh, that I think Joe Biden is a lousy candidate, and  Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is a lousy candidate, and  Nikki Haley is a lousy candidate, and the Devil is yanking their strings, too, and I don’t even attend church :-).

Meanwhile, in my Apple news feed this morning is a kinda interesting Huff Post article, here’s the lead:

Almost 9 In 10 House Republicans Voted To Put A Confederate Memorial Back At Arlington

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries asked which tradition those lawmakers wanted to uphold: “Slavery? Rape? Kidnap?”

If I were President Biden, what I would do plenty as we approach Juneteenth, is say, in every photo and film clip I saw of the Charlottesville Confederate monument removal protest, and of every MAGA rally, and of the January 6 2020 coup attempt inside the national Capitol, I saw oceans of white people, and when Trump says the 2020 election was stolen, his adoring white lemmings understand he means, “stolen by blacks”.

I know for a fact that Alabama MAGAs were furious with Alabama Crimson Tide football coach leading his team and a mixed races Black Lives Matter march across the university campus to where George Wallace once stood blocking black students from going to classes, until he was removed by the Alabama National Guard, which President John F. Kennedy had federalized.

If I were president Biden, I would be reminding Americans that, when Donald was married to Ivana, as she told Vanity Fair, he kept a book of Hitler’s speeches in a cabinet on his side of their bed and sometimes he read it at night. And, when asked about that, Trump said, if he ever had such a book, he did not read it. The English title of the book is, MY New Order. It don’t take much smarts to see how much Trump and his MAGAs resemble Hitler and his lemmings leading up to World War II.

If the Dems nominated Michelle Obama, I might vote for her.

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