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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:42 pm 
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Why Does Donald Trump Want the Death Penalty for the New York Attack, But Not for Others? [Updated]

BY JAY WILLIS
6 hours ago
AFP_T63DH
Getty Images
The president undermines his own Department of Justice.

As news trickled out that Tuesday's horrific tragedy in New York City, in which a man used a rental truck to kill eight people on the West Street bike path, appears to have been an act of terrorism inspired by ISIS, Donald Trump wasted no time in using the incident as a segue to promoting the relevant pillars of his policy agenda.
https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/sta ... 5393928199
https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/sta ... 2307348480
Given the president's reluctance to discuss legislative responses in the immediate aftermath of, say, the Charlottesville terrorist attack, or the apparently-random shooting in Colorado on Wednesday night that left three more dead, it's hard to interpret his sudden intense interest in the crime committed by an immigrant as anything other than transparently exploitative. But upon learning that the rental truck driver had asked to display an ISIS flag in his hospital room, Trump moved quickly from his usual brand of passive xenophobia to criminal justice expert.
https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/sta ... 4705545216
Trump also took the time to inform the world that he "would love" to have the suspect stand trial before a Guantanamo Bay military commission, but that he had elected to keep the case in the domestic courts in the interest of expeditiously achieving justice. "Should move fast," he said, reiterating his earlier all-caps argument in case there was any remaining ambiguity. "DEATH PENALTY!"
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Donald Trump has become so adept at dispensing with norms that it can, on occasion, be difficult to identify each and every time it happens. But a sitting president weighing in on the outcome of a specific criminal case—one in which charges hadn't even been filed at the time of his tweets—is appalling. One of the most important implications of this country's system of divided government is that justice is administered to individuals according to the law, not politics. Yes, I realize that the system is imperfect, but the structure—in which, at the federal level, innocence and guilt are determined by independent judges and not elected officials with partisan agendas—is so engrained in Americans' understanding of how government works that we often take it for granted. (Imagine, for example, if one of the commander-in-chief's formal job duties were adjudicating criminal cases. You would probably find this alarming.)
Again, it seems highly unlikely that the president deeply cares about how this matter (or any particular legal matter) is ultimately resolved. This overstep of his authority is a cynical, opportunistic overture to the most xenophobic instincts of his base. In true Trump fashion, though, it is also the strategic equivalent of stomping on a rake. Politicians are expected to refrain from opining on pending cases not only out of respect for the legal process, but also because their comments may make it impossible for a defendant to receive a fair trial. Here, if the government seeks the death penalty, the defendant's attorneys could argue that the President of the United States' very influential calls for the same mean that no jury could arrive at that conclusion impartially. The Times points out that Charles Manson, of all people, nearly got himself a mistrial in 1970 after then-President Nixon proclaimed Manson guilty while the trial was still in progress.
Talking about the democratic norms that this administration gleefully shreds is not just an exercise in smug tut-tutting at his usual blend of ignorance and arrogance. Here, Trump's anti-democratic statements have undermined his own Department of Justice, imperiling their ability—especially if its lawyers indeed opt to try for a capital conviction—to prosecute a man who just killed eight people. (Remember the judge who threw out one of the Muslim bans and cited all those anti-Muslim Trump tweets in his opinion? Same idea.) It's a long shot, but perhaps Donald Trump should stop tweeting for a while.

Edit: An earlier version of this article used a headline noting that Trump had publicly called for the death penalty in the New York attack, but not the Las Vegas shooting in particular. That discrepancy is probably related to the fact that the Las Vegas shooter is dead. We regret the error.

https://www.gq.com/story/trump-calls-for-death-penalty

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:59 am 
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LOL - that's great! That sounds like it is from SNL.

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