As part of President John Pudner's recent radio tour across our Republic discussing the recent federal indictment of former President Trump, he traveled to Wheeling, West Virginia to not only continue analyzing the case for and against the indictment, but also about the history behind the case’s special prosecutor, Jack Smith, and how his involvement adds to the cost/benefit analysis federal prosecutors and a Miami, Florida jury must analyze.
Notably, Pudner highlights how, in a 2014 case against former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Jack Smith was not only overturned by the Supreme Court, but unanimously so as well - a historic rarity. In addition, even the liberal justices of the court raised serious concerns about his conduct, with former Justice Stephen Breyer penning, "To give that kind of power to a criminal prosecutor, who is virtually uncontrollable, is dangerous to the separation of powers”, in his opinion on the case.
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The following transcript from this interview is presented in its entirety with minor edits:
Trump, Biden, jurors, Supreme Court, unanimous support, threshold, jury pool.
Ron Potesta and TBORA President John Pudner.
Ron Potesta 00:00
"...classified documents, in order to underscore that the Justice Department's commitment to independence and accountability." What do you make of that?
John Pudner 00:10
Well, Jack Smith is a very unifying force. He's about the only guy who has gotten the US Supreme Court to unanimously vote on something, and that was to call him out on his abuse of prosecution, so, I mean, I don't see how you could take anyone further, obviously - I'm being facetious on his unifying - it's just by being wrong. You know, he's right over the border from you where he focused on getting jail time on former Virginia Republican Governor Bob McDonnell, and not only did the Supreme Court shoot him down nine to nothing, I mean, think of all the issues now it takes to get the Supreme Court unanimous on something, but it was Justice Breyer who said about Jack Smith, "To give that kind of power to a criminal prosecutor, who is virtually uncontrollable, is dangerous to the separation of powers." This is coming from a liberal judge and this is who they appointed. I think that's all you need to know about the case.
Ron Potesta 01:04
You brought up the fact that the Supreme Court unanimously voted on that, and considering today's culture where liberals and conservatives rarely agree on anything, I think that spoke volumes.
John Pudner 01:22
I agree. I think people have realized that what goes around comes around and that this is a new precedent. It goes to the cost-benefit analysis; What is the greater damage? Is there something in the indictment that's the greater damage? Some liberals argue that, but you're putting that up against the threat to the system, to trust in government, our institutions, so if that's the cost of this, is there anything in the indictment that's more dangerous than that? Obviously, some of the left would argue yes, but I think it's a very high bar.
Ron Potesta 02:04
John, I think that, in a lot of ways, this is a really risky chance the Democrats are taking here. First of all, it's no secret that former President Trump is still quite popular with his own base and with the Republican Party. He's currently the front-runner in the 2024 Republican primary, and if they miss, and he's found innocence, not only is it a huge blight on the justice system, you've, in a lot of ways, you being the Democrat Party, have just given the Republicans the White House in 2024, where I would assume, if Donald Trump is the president in 2024, he immediately goes after the DOJ.
John Pudner 03:00
That's right, and I think you just have to look at where his polling went after the impeachment failed and his numbers shot up, and to think that a jury decision finding him not guilty at some point next year before the election, you assume the same kind of surge is there, that, "Okay, this does confirm that this was just political." I mean, right now, there are people that will say, "Well, it's political, but he probably did something wrong", but you come back with a not guilty, and I think you're right on, what does that do to his numbers heading into an election, maybe months before an election? I mean, the timing could be that tight.
Ron Potesta 03:43
Now, on the flip side, let's assume, for a second, that these felony counts actually stick, and that Donald Trump is found guilty. The Republican Party is going to have to scramble to find someone to to be their nominee for president, but how much damage would this bring not only to former President Trump, but to the Republican Party.
John Pudner 04:12
That would be serious, because getting a grand jury indictment, you don't realize, you just need some of the grand jurors, I mean, a number, to sign off on that, that threshold is pretty low to get where they are now. To get 12 Jurors, as divided as a country we are, in Florida, to say he's guilty...You know, if that happens, I think a lot of who say there must be something to do that, so I agree. If you had 12 say he is guilty, after all of this, yes, that that would definitely hurt the party if they can hit that threshold. Seems like a high one to reach, but that's how the system set up.
Ron Potesta 04:59
And let's be honest, John, of those 12 jurors, you know there are going to be some that are Republicans, and in all likelihood, Trump fans.
John Pudner 05:10
That's right. I mean, obviously, in jury selection, both sides will try to get rid of the ones they perceive as strongly pro or anti-Trump, so you get somewhat the middle on that, but still, to think you go through a whole jury pool, and not end up with, as you said, at least a few who are strongly supporting him and would be very predisposed not to believe he's guilty...again, if the prosecutors have such a strong case that they can win those over, but they better realize, you're gonna have to win over people who like Trump because you need unanimous support, so you're gonna have to win over a few Trump supporters, who say, "Yeah, wow, this was so compelling. He is guilty." If he can do that, yeah, that is a milestone.
Ron Potesta 05:55
It's going to be fascinating to say the least, John, thanks for the insight, certainly do appreciate it.
John Pudner 06:00