The "Law & Order President" Is a Fraud

Donald Trump's latest pardons underline the sickness at the heart of Republican politics.

Programming Note: No Triads for the rest of the week and we’ll be on a reduced schedule next week. Unless something awful happens.

But really, what are the chances of that?

1. Law & Order!

One of the wonderful revelations of the Trump years is having the phrase “Law & Order” deconstructed in neon.

Do me a favor and rewatch this 5 second clip from the 2016 Republican National Convention:

And this one, from June 2020:

Here is what Trump meant:

Nicholas Slatten was working for Blackwater in Iraq when he participated in the massacre of 17 civilians. He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. He was convicted of this crime not once, but twice. Because an appeals court overturned the first conviction and the new jury in the retrial came to the same verdict.

Why would this man be worthy of a pardon from the “Law & Order president”?

Because he only killed Iraqi civilians. When it comes to “Law & Order, the murder of brown foreigners doesn’t really count.

Former Rep. Steve Stockman set up a series of sham charities, convinced people to donate to them, and then laundered the money to his own accounts to pay for both campaign and personal expenses. All told, he was convicted of defrauding donors of over $1 million and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Here’s the Houston Chronicle’s fantastic Pepe Silvia graphic on Stockman’s dealings:

Why would this man be worthy of a pardon from the “Law & Order president”?

Well, he’s white! Also, he’s a big Trump supporter. But—and you cannot forking believe this—his wife made a heartfelt video begging Trump to spring Stockman from jail because he was terrified about the dangers of COVID.

Watch it and try not to throw up in your mouth. I dare you.

So the president who tells America that COVID is not big deal, just a “hoax,” no worse than the flu—springs a convicted criminal from jail out of concern for his health because COVID is so dangerous.

This is what Republicans mean when they talk about about “Law & Order.” Any brown person who looks crosswise at a cop. Or fails to comply, immediately, with a police order. Or shows up to a demonstration.

They get what they have coming, up to and including death.

But for Nick Slatten and Steve Stockman? Whatevs.

To the Republican mind, “Law & Order” is a highly conditional principle.

Never forget this.

Never forget who the people are who say one thing and do another. Because that’s how our political system got broken and our public square turned into a circus. Because people pretended to believe the charlatans on their own team, even when they knew better.

It’s time to carve out the rot and hold people accountable. Stand with us.

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2. Beware of Christmas Eve

Bulwark Patron Saint Bill Kristol has a long Twitter thread speculating about why Bill Barr’s negotiated departure date is today, December 23.

It could be for no particular reason. Maybe Barr wanted to spend more time with his family. You know, for the holidays.

Or maybe there was a reason. We could know as early as tomorrow, because there is no news dump like a Christmas Eve news dump. It’s entirely possible that Tuesday night’s disgraceful pardons were just the warm-up for what comes next. Because it is axiomatic that the later the date, the worse the presidential pardons get. There’s a reason Marc Rich was pardoned on January 20, 2001 and not, say, December 22, 2000.

And while we’re looking at resignations, a little-known banker in New York, Rosemary Vrablic, has tendered her resignation, effective December 31.

Why should we care? Because Vrablic has been Donald Trump’s go-to at Deutsche Bank. She is the person who oversaw several hundred million dollars’ worth of loans to Trump.

Loans for which Trump is still on the hook.

Why would Vrablic be getting out of Deutsche 20 days before Trump leaves office? Could be coincidence. Could be that she, too, really just wants to spend time with her family.

Or it could be something more.

After all, no one knows what happens when a former president—who is already running for the White House again—owes money all over town.

3. Wednesday Steiner