Daily Bread for 10.22.19

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of forty-eight.  Sunrise is 7:17 AM and sunset 6:01 PM, for 10h 43m 39s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 39.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand seventy-eighth day.

 Whitewater’s Finance Committee meets at 5:30 PM.

On this day in 1962, Pres. Kennedy speaks to the nation about the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba:

Recommended for reading in full:

Philip Zelikow writes Self-Dealing in Ukraine: The Core of the Impeachment Inquiry

The core of the impeachment inquiry is about whether Trump engaged in self-dealing, where he used his power in a publicly held enterprise (that is, the government of the United States) for personal gain. Most executives in the private sector know what self-dealing is, and recent headlines about Renault-Nissan or WeWork have reminded them. They also know how most corporate boards would handle a case of self-dealing that involved important programs and sums of money, and in which the CEO had fired executives who interfered with the self-dealing.

When Mulvaney was asked about a quid pro quo, he said, on Oct. 17, “We do that all the time with foreign policy.” That is correct. But there is a profound difference between using governmental power in a quid pro quo as part of a public (or fiduciary) duty to advance the public interests of the United States versus using governmental power as a quid pro quo to advance the private interests of Donald Trump or Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani, a private citizen, said in May that he was working to advance the interests of “my client.” There are many jail inmates and former executives who could not distinguish between public (or fiduciary) interests and their private interests.

Any public corruption prosecutor familiar with the federal bribery statute and self-dealing cases will recognize that firsthand witnesses, such as Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, Mulvaney, and Trump himself, have now offered evidence to all the elements of the offense. The bribery law—18 U.S.C. § 201(b)—is easy to understand. The elements, as they pertain here, are as follows:

  • Whoever, being a public official …
  • corruptly
  • directly or indirectly demands or seeks …
  • anything of value
  • for himself or some other person
  • in return for being influenced in the performance of any official act …

has committed the felony. I believe the federal bribery crime, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, also gets at the heart of the self-dealing issue more effectively than some alternative theories of criminal behavior, such as “honest services fraud” (which has some complex legal issues associated with it) or foreign campaign finance violations (which tend to involve monetary help apparently lacking here).

Anyone joining knowingly in the commission of the above could be liable as well, probably under the conspiracy statute (18 U.S.C. § 371). That might include Giuliani, who is not a public official.

‘This is no joke’: Destructive tornado touches down in Dallas:

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