Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Trump Talks Like A Mafioso

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, March 13, 2021

Complete shyster, liar, prevaricator, chiseler, swindler, cheat.

He’ll be indicted by several authorities.

This is simply more damnable icing on the corrupt cake.

The things he says, and the way he says them are purposely ambiguous, so that to even an expert witness in syntax, one would not be able to definitively say that he unquestionably stated a thing certain.

That’s how the mafioso talks. They’re deliberately ambiguous, vague, and speak in riddles and figurative language, such as “I hear you paint houses,” which means “I understand that you’re a hit man and kill people.”

Simply read what he says.

It’s as clear as a bell that he’s being ambiguous. But by the same tone, it’s equally clear what he wants.

“Something bad happened. When the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised.”

-and-

“The people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry. And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you’ve recalculated. So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state. So what are we going to do here, folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break. There’s no way I lost Georgia. There’s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes.” 

Neal Katyal, a Georgetown law professor who was Acting Solicitor General in the Obama administration, said Trump’s use of language is “the way that people in organized crime rings talk. I’ve heard the extraordinary excerpts that the Washington Post has and, at least based on those excerpts, it sounds like Donald Trump is talking like a mafia boss, and not a particularly smart mafia boss at that. This is the way that people in organized crime rings talk, and you see it there.”

“This is, you know, the heart of what the abuse of power that our founders worried about so much is — it’s, you know, the idea that the government official can use the powers of his office to try and stay in office and try and browbeat other officials that disagree with them.”

“So, one question is whether or not a high crime and misdemeanor was committed, certainly the tape makes it sound like it has. The second is whether or not there has been a criminal offense and the federal code 52 U.S.C. 20511 prohibits a federal official from interfering in a state election process.”

See also: Free speech or incitement? Here’s how Trump talks like a mob boss.
Mafia members like to use ambiguous language.
By Henry Farrell
February 10, 2021 at 12:20 p.m. CST
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/02/28/how-trump-speaks-like-mob-boss/

Note: We are reposting (with a new introduction) an article from Nov. 9, 2019, written during hearings on Trump’s conversation with Ukraine’s president, as it appears relevant to this week’s impeachment trial.

“Nothing the President said on January 6th was inciteful, let alone impeachable,” the Republican Party is arguing during former president Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, “and in fact, President Trump urged supporters to exercise their rights ‘peacefully and patriotically.’”

Of course, Trump did not directly instruct his supporters to attack the Capitol, stop official proceedings and threaten members of Congress until they agreed to keep Trump in power, despite the election results. That is not how he talks. In the past, Trump has said that, “I did not make a statement that, ‘You have to do this or I’m not going to give you A.’ I wouldn’t do that.” We know from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen that Trump does not like to say things explicitly when they might get him into trouble. Instead, he prefers to communicate indirectly.

Cohen has said Trump “doesn’t give orders. He speaks in code. And I understand that code.” That’s the way that Mafiosi speak to each other, to avoid trouble. In my book on the political economy of trust, I discuss the oblique ways in which Sicilian Mafiosi communicate with one another and how this affects trust and distrust among them, building on the work of sociologists such as Diego Gambetta.

Popular culture shows how mobsters communicate in code when they are worried about being overheard by law enforcement, using indirect language to describe their intentions, so as to make it harder to pin responsibility on them. Similarly, Trump very possibly never said explicitly that Ukraine would be frozen out unless it helped discredit Trump’s potential election rival. Sondland’s testimony suggests that Trump tried to get Ukraine to hurt his presidential opponent through intermediaries using careful language that left no doubt what he wanted, but did so in a way that would preserve a crucial minimum of deniability.

Ambiguity makes it difficult to prove intent.

There is a reason why mob bosses prefer ambiguous language: it makes it harder to prove charges against them. The same is plausibly true for Trump. That is especially so when much of the jury (in this case, Republican senators) have strong political reasons to want to find Trump innocent. Trump has made a very successful career out of speaking in code, and ruthlessly throwing subordinates under the bus when they do what he wants them to do but then gets caught. It’s unlikely that he is going to stop any time soon.


Trump Call to Georgia Lead Investigator Reveals New Details

by Cameron McWhirter
Updated March 11, 2021 10:08 am ET

ATLANTA—Then-President Donald Trump urged the chief investigator of the Georgia Secretary of State’s office to look for fraud during an audit of mail-in ballots in a suburban Atlanta county, on a phone call he made to her in late December.

During the six-minute call, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Trump repeatedly said that he won Georgia. “Something bad happened,” he said.

“When the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised,” Mr. Trump told the chief investigator, Frances Watson.

Listen to Trump Call to Georgia Secretary of State Investigator
https://www.wsj.com/podcasts/listen-to-trump-call-to-georgia-secretary-of-state-investigator/9975D267-1345-497C-B061-28383727B7F3

She responded: “I can assure you that our team and the [Georgia Bureau of Investigation], that we are only interested in the truth and finding the information that is based on the facts.”

The Washington Post reported on the call in January, but this is the first time the recording has been released.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has launched a criminal investigation into alleged efforts to have officials in Georgia overturn the state’s results of November’s presidential election. In a February letter to officials, Ms. Willis said a grand jury would convene this month.

In early January, media outlets, including the Journal, published news of a recording of a telephone conversation between Mr. Trump and several supporters and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff. During that Jan. 2 call, Mr. Trump urged Mr. Raffensperger to “find” votes to change the election outcome. He berated Mr. Raffensperger for not doing more to overturn the election.

Representatives of the former president didn’t respond to requests for comment.

In a January phone call, President Trump urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state and repeatedly made unfounded assertions about voting irregularities.

President Biden won the state by about 12,000 votes out of 5 million cast. Two statewide recounts confirmed Mr. Biden won, making Mr. Trump the first sitting Republican president to lose the state since 1992.

After the recounts, the Georgia Secretary of State conducted a forensic audit of about 15,000 mail-in ballots in Cobb County, checking signatures on ballot envelopes to make sure they matched signatures on file with the county. It was during that audit, just before Christmas, that Mr. Trump called Ms. Watson. Mr. Trump said in the call that he contacted Ms. Watson at the request of Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff. The audit found no evidence of fraud.

During the call, Mr. Trump told Ms. Watson that she had the most important job in the country at the time and urged her investigators to review signatures going back several years, according to the recording. While her audit was focused on Cobb County, he said she should look at Fulton County, the state’s most populous county that includes most of Atlanta.

“If you can get to Fulton, you are going to find things that are going to be unbelievable,” he said.

In the call, Mr. Trump offered no evidence of any wrongdoing. At one point, he said his loss in Georgia “never made sense and, you know, they dropped ballots. They dropped all these ballots. Stacey Abrams, really, really terrible,” he said. Ms. Abrams, the 2018 Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia, and her group Fair Fight Action registered thousands of new voters in Georgia in recent years.

Mr. Trump offered no explanation for his claim, and Ms. Watson didn’t ask him what he meant.

On the recording, Ms. Watson, who isn’t a political appointee, said she was surprised that he was calling her.

“I do know that you are a very busy, very important man and I am very honored that you called,” she said. “And quite frankly I’m shocked that you would take time to do that, but I am very appreciative.”

Ms. Watson declined to comment through the Secretary of State’s office.

Mr. Raffensperger’s spokesman Ari Schaffer said in a statement to the Journal: “This phone call is just one more example of how Secretary Raffensperger’s office’s public comments also reflect what was said in one-on-one conversations: We would follow the law, count every legal vote and investigate any allegations of fraud. That’s exactly what we did, and how we arrived at the accurate final vote tally.”

For months after the election, Mr. Trump and his supporters pressed for the Georgia results to be overturned. Mr. Trump directed much of his ire at Republican leaders in Georgia, including Gov. Brian Kemp and Mr. Raffensperger.

The White House forced the U.S. attorney in Atlanta to resign after he declined to launch a federal investigation into the Georgia election, according to people familiar with the matter.

In February, Ms. Willis sent letters to top Georgia officials, including Mr. Raffensperger, ordering them to preserve records relating to the 2020 election. The letters stated that Ms. Willis’s office had launched a criminal investigation into “potential violations of Georgia law prohibiting solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration.”

Write to Cameron McWhirter at cameron.mcwhirter@wsj.com

Appeared in the March 11, 2021, print edition as ‘Trump Pressed For Probe In Georgia.’

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/recording-of-trump-phone-call-to-georgia-lead-investigator-reveals-new-details-11615411561

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