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Discussion in 'Political Discourse' started by CdnGuy, Dec 15, 2015.
But no single analogy can capture every aspect of something as momentous as a presidential impeachment. There’s always a need for additional context and comparison. That’s where the question of an analogy to Capone comes in, as there are some clear differences between Trump and Nixon, and some equally powerful traits Trump shares with Capone.
One of the major disparities between Nixon and Trump is the personal character of the two men. Without in any way eulogizing Nixon, our 37th commander in chief was a model citizen compared to our 45th. Nixon was also a lawyer, highly educated and intellectually rigorous. In the end, when his crimes were exposed and his base of support had eroded, Nixon saw the handwriting on the wall and grudgingly bowed to the rule of law and resigned.
Trump won’t do that. For Trump, rules, including the rule of law, are meant to be broken. Defiance, fueled by a volatile mix of psychopathology, sociopathy and ignorance, is his brand.
In both style and to a certain degree substance, Trump is more mobster a la Capone than politician a la Nixon.
As far as we know, Trump has never gone full-Capone and actually ordered one of his capos to literally take out any of his business or political opponents. But lest we forget, during the 2016 campaign, Trump boasted he could “stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody” and not “lose any voters.”
And lest we think Trump was simply waxing hyperbolic, one of the president’s private attorneys told a three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in October that Trump could not be investigated or prosecuted until he leaves office, even if he really did shoot someone on 5th Avenue. The astounding assertion was advanced in support of Trump’s attempt to prevent Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance from obtaining Trump’s income tax returns. The circuit court ruled against Trump on Nov. 4.
The battle over Trump’s tax returns, and what they might reveal about his crooked financial dealings, is reminiscent of the painstaking federal effort to bring Capone to justice. When Capone was finally held to account, it wasn’t for masterminding the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929, in which seven of his gangland Chicago rivals were killed, or for the violent extortion and bootlegging empire he had built. The Feds never got Capone for his most heinous offenses. Instead, Capone was arrested, tried, convicted and sent to prison in 1931 for the mundane white-collar crime of income tax evasion.
To be sure, it is highly doubtful that Senate Republicans will follow the example of Capone’s jury and vote to convict Trump and remove him from office in an impeachment trial conducted in the upper chamber. But if the impeachment case against the president is skillfully prosecuted in the Senate, it will severely damage Trump’s reelection prospects and hasten the demise of his political career, much as the tax-evasion prosecution of Capone brought an end to the career of the most notorious mobster in American history.