With the quickening pace of Mueller’s revelations, Steve is sleeping with visions of epic familial confrontation, Shakespearean-grade internecine betrayal, and hubris triggering a denouement worthy of Greek tragedy. All he wants for Christmas is for Santa make to make his dreams come true.
The Honorable Mr. Emoluments (a.k.a., “Santa”) Claus
The North Polarization, Earth
Hand Delivered by Rudolph
Re: Petition for Annual Seasonal Rewards, Colloquially Known as “Christmas List”
Dear Mr. Claus,
I am writing on behalf of my client, who authors snarky, often belligerent leftist columns for the political website Born To Run The Numbers. My client is prepared to allocute that he has been generally been far “naughtier” than “nice” this year, but he nonetheless wishes to assert his right to a full and complete Christmas with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto, including a full complement of gifts, which we will detail below.
Why, you ask, does my client believe that he is entitled to a “full and bountiful” Christmas when you have historically stipulated that such largesse is reserved only for those who have been “good, for goodness sake?”
The essence of my client’s argument, Mr. Claus, is that the Presidency of Donald Trump has fundamentally degraded our definition of human decency, dignity, civility, manners, and proper behavior, making my client’s occasional slips from grace merely harmless and inconsequential bagatelles in comparison to the loathsome howitzers launched daily from the Oval Office. In short, my good Claus, there’s naughty… there’s nasty… there’s cruel… and then there is the President of the United States of America.
My client acknowledges the occasional rhetorical excesses of his columns, and sincerely regrets such incidents as the time he wrote that Sarah Huckabee Saunders reminds him of Ursula the Sea Witch in The Little Mermaid. Nolo contendere, Claus: clearly not nice. But my good sir, does this even register on our new scale of “naughty?” Perhaps as you attempt to deliver Christmas presents to six-year olds who have been ripped from their parents on our Southern border by our Federal agencies, you will agree that the definition of horrific behavior on the part of our government has profoundly changed. Perhaps observing a president who turns a blind eye to a vicious, cold-blooded murder by a savage Saudi Prince will make you re-think your standards. Your spokespersons, sir, allege that you possess a comprehensive vision of human behavior in their claim that “he knows when you’ve been sleeping and knows when you’re awake.” Mercy, Kringle, it is time for you to fully see this President for the evil, hate, and amorality he represents.
Indeed, all the world shall pause, Claus, to observe just how many tons of allegedly “clean” coal you are going to be dropping down the chimney at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. The world is in a bad place, all right, and my client wants it to stop in the St. Nick of time.
With this context, surely you will now understand why my client feels entitled to each and every one of the humble presents on his list. There is a clear strategy in his list, which we shall explain after reviewing the line items individually:
1) Petitioner seeks for his first gift a criminal indictment of Donald Trump, Jr. for conspiring with a hostile foreign government to procure information on a political opponent with the overt intent of influencing the outcome of the U.S. election. This is to be based on Trump Junior’s blatant solicitation of allegedly damaging materials about Hillary Clinton, offered by a representative of the Russian government, which was the subject of the June 9, 2016 meeting in Trump Tower. Please be sure that the indictment notes that Donald Trump Junior informed “Individual 1” of the meeting prior to when it occurred, and provided “Individual 1” with a summary of what took place in the meeting. Make sure that this indictment reads similarly to the language of Michael Cohen's sentencing document: that Trump Junior was "acting on the direction of Individual 1."
2) For his second gift, petitioner suggests a comparable criminal indictment for Jared Kushner. Petitioner suggests that Kushner’s attempt to establish a secret communications back channel to the Russian government – specifically intended to avoid eavesdropping by U.S. Intelligence, is grounds for felony charges, as it involves a private citizen negotiating with a hostile foreign government with the intent of subverting the government of the United States. Robert Mueller should be able to establish that Kushner proceeded with this scheme having discussed it with his father-in-law, then the President-Elect. Please include the same language noting that Kushner was “acting on the direction of Individual 1.”
3) Third gift: a criminal indictment for Ivanka Trump for a variety of money laundering and tax evasion schemes to which she was complicit in her role as an official of the Trump Organization. Based on the extensive co-operation of Cohen and senior officers in the Trump Organization, we believe that you should be in a position to assert that “Individual 1” was one-hundred percent aware of these activities.
4) Ah, yes. My client’s last gift: please make sure that there is a second set of indictments issued by the Southern District of New York, naming the Trump children for their involvement in corrupt business practices in the State of New York in their roles as officers of the Trump Organization. Be sure to keep these separate from the three gifts listed above – perhaps affix a yellow “stickie” that labels the N.Y.S. indictments as “pardon-proof.”
Why, you ask, such a limited number of gifts for a somewhat well-behaved citizen such as my client? Aside from his essential humbleness and general disdain for earthly goods (other than his BMW), my client wishes only for world peace, a return to common decency, civility, dignity, global respect for his country, thoughtful and informed leadership, the rule of law, the immutability of fact, and the honor of serving purposes and ideals greater than one’s own self.
My client is now convinced that the path to realizing his vision must begin with, and indeed cannot be accomplished without, the removal of Donald Trump from the Presidency of the United States.
Further, Mr. Claus, my client believes that we simply cannot count on the idea that at least twenty of the spineless, cowardly Republicans in the Senate will ever vote to remove Donald Trump from office through the constitutional process of impeachment, no matter how much evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors is placed before them.
As such, my clients sees that the only path to the removal of Donald Trump from the presidency is through his own voluntary resignation.
That’s where his four gifts come in.
My client’s theory goes like this. First, he believes that Special Prosecutor Mueller will be able to establish that Trump’s family members are guilty of crimes that could send each for significant terms in prison. Moreover, each of these crimes can be fundamentally linked to their relationship to Donald Trump, either in terms of improper activities in the 2016 campaign, the transition period, during Trump’s presidency, or simply as officers in Trump’s company.
The Christmas presents that my client seeks are indictments that relate to the shared criminal activities of the father and his children.
Because the father is President of the United States, he cannot be indicted for the crimes he committed in concert with his children. But his children can.
My client wishes to trigger an epic crisis of conflicting interests between Donald Trump and his own children, in which the President must choose between their future and his own. No matter how he chooses, he loses.
Now, Santa, I know what you're thinking: "I am just a humble Saint who has a very specific and ambitious charter, which involves making, wrapping, and delivering toys for every kid on earth without the infrastructure of Amazon. Besides, can't Trump just pardon his kids and kill your whole theory? Isn't that what they all assume, so they will stick with him to the bitter end?"
Donald Trump can try to pardon his kids, but his pardon will not cover the New York State indictments… so Trump would risk incurring outrage with the public and with legislators but still fail to completely protect them going to jail. Should he nevertheless proceed with a Presidential pardon for his own children, he risks committing an act so wholly self-serving, self-protective, and abusive of his power that it could send shock waves through his own base.
Or, he can stand by and watch his children prosecuted for criminal activity, hoping that they will not be convicted… but knowing that hefty jail sentences await upon a guilty verdict. Would Donald Trump actually take the risk that his own children would go to prison, while he stands idly by, unwilling to acknowledge his own complicity? Would his children feel betrayed, and flip on him, sealing his own fate? In any of these scenarios, we see the potential for even more outrage within his own base: a man that would allow his children to be tried, convicted, and serve time for crimes in which he was complicit… while he hides behind the protection of the Presidency. How many red-blooded red state mothers and fathers would abide by that?
Of course, all of this would unfold as the Mueller investigation churns forward to its final report, releasing what will undoubtedly reveal still more graphic evidence of Presidential misconduct. The pressure on the President to save his own skin will mount on a daily basis.
This, then, is the legal fulcrum on which this Presidency could turn: if a wedge could be driven between the self-interest of Donald Trump and that of his own children, the dynamic of this presidency could fundamentally shift. Donald Trump would have to debate, in a very public way, whether his own future or that of his children is more important.
And that is where we see a third path.
Santa, all my client wants for Christmas is the true art of the deal: a huge, sweeping plea agreement between Trump, Congress, the Special Counsel, and the New York D.A.
A simple deal, really: the government agrees to not prosecute Trump’s children if Trump immediately resigns as President of the United States. Such a deal could even be written to vacate Trump’s own legal liability for his crimes as candidate and President, but would require that he face all civil and criminal charges from his prior business activities. Trump's children could plead guilty to crimes without serving jail time, but be required to terminate any relationship to the Trump Organization. As for Trump: he would be required to cease and desist from all political activity and political communication, including Twitter, Fox News, or any other medium.
Boy, would that make my client’s Christmas tree light up: Trump gone, no long national nightmare of radically partisan impeachment proceedings.
Some will argue that Trump should be prosecuted for his each and every crime against the United States, but if that means Trump stays in office for another two years, we must weigh just how much more damage he can do in that time frame. And yes, we’d all have to deal with President Pence, but at this point, we must all be content to have a short-term caretaker in the White House who does not have the destruction of our democracy and our rule of law as his primary objective.
Mr. Claus, I beseech you on behalf of my client. He will forsake all jokes about Ted Cruz for a period of up to six months as a gesture of his desire to return to kinder and gentler times. He wishes nothing more than to go back to an era when the only comedic fodder coming out of the White House occurred when an earnest, loopy, and occasionally aloof patrician President did not know how supermarket scanners worked and said goofy things like “Message: I care.”
This Christmas season, we remembered that man -- who defined, perhaps as well as any president in the history of our country – what selfless, dignified, and graceful public service really means.
Mr. Claus, we miss that kind of leadership desperately.
You, Santa, can make my client’s dreams come true. He doesn’t need a new sweater, a tie, or a pitching wedge.
This year, all he wants is to get his country back.
He's dreaming of indict Christmas.
He's dreaming of indict Christmas.
May that day be merry and bright, and may all our prosecutors indict.
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