The meandering nature of the phone call

Did Trump break the law by making that call? Well, yes, but don’t go getting any wild ideas that he’ll be charged.

“It seems to me like what he did clearly violates Georgia statutes,” said Leigh Ann Webster, an Atlanta criminal defense lawyer, citing a state law that makes it illegal for anyone who “solicits, requests, commands, importunes or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage” in election fraud.

Which is what he did; we heard him do it.

But the meandering nature of the phone call and the fact that the president made no apparent attempt to conceal his actions as other call participants listened could allow Mr. Trump to argue that he did not intend to break the law or to argue that he did not know that a federal law existed apparently prohibiting his actions.

The federal law would also most likely require that Mr. Trump knew that he was pushing Mr. Raffensperger to fraudulently change the vote count, meaning prosecutors would have to prove that Mr. Trump knew he was lying in asserting that he was confident he had won the election in Georgia.

Now here’s a place where Trump’s matchless stupidity shows its value. It’s a fabulous alibi! “I’m not guilty, because I had no idea it’s a crime to try to bully people into flipping an election.” We know he is that dumb.

Congressional Democrats suggested they would examine the legal implications of the call. Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the call raised new legal questions for Mr. Trump even if it was not a clear violation of the law.

“In threatening these officials with vague ‘criminal’ consequences, and in encouraging them to ‘find’ additional votes and hire investigators who ‘want to find answers,’ the president may have also subjected himself to additional criminal liability,” Mr. Nadler said in a statement.

17 days.

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