RUSH: I want you to hear something. This is how bad this gets. Fox News has the eminently popular Judge Nap, Judge Andrew Napolitano. And he is paraded before the cameras as a judicial expert and analyst. And so he was on Fox last night, the Fox Business Network. He was on with Elizabeth MacDonald. And he made the point, well, I’m gonna let you listen to what he says.
He essentially gets something tremendously wrong here. But because he’s on Fox, ostensibly conservative, the Fox audience hears this and they think it’s a slam dunk. So the question that Judge Nap was asked, “Judge Nap, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen sentenced to three years in prison, what is your take on Cohen’s sentence to three years?”
NAPOLITANO: I don’t think this is good for the president. And I don’t think many people in the legal community take him seriously if he says I’m exonerated. I realize there are arguments on both sides, there are people who don’t think this is a crime, the president has argued it’s not a crime. But a federal judge found that it was. What’s the crime? The crime is taking corporate funds to confer a benefit on a campaign and not reporting it.
RUSH: Now, Judge Napolitano just said — and he’s not right — that a judge found that the president had committed a crime. The judge found no such thing. The judge accepted a plea! Just because Cohen says he did this does not mean Trump did it! Just because Cohen says he did it in a plea deal does not mean the case has been decided! A defendant pleading guilty still has to go before a jury and make the case. And so do the prosecutors.
The plea deal is not anything affirmative or final! And just because the judge accepts the plea deal doesn’t mean the judge is ruling on the criminal activity that the plea indicates, in this case Trump. Well, Andy McCarthy saw this, and he was very frustrated by pretty much by what I just told you. He was on Lou Dobbs on the Fox Business Channel a little later and said this.
MCCARTHY: I was quite surprised just a few minutes ago watching Judge Napolitano on the program right before yours say a federal judge had ruled that this was a campaign finance violation. That’s not what happened at all. What happened was the Southern District charged what is very dubiously alleged to be an in-kind campaign finance donation. And Cohen elected, I think for strategic reasons, to plead guilty to that charge without challenging the underlying question, which is a profound legal question about whether it actually is an in-kind contribution or not. The judge didn’t rule on that. Cohen’s concession on that point is not binding on the president in any way.
RUSH: Nor is it binding on the judge! Cohen could have plead guilty that Trump ordered him to send the porn star to Mars in order to get her out of the campaign! He could have said that and the judge would have accepted the plea. It doesn’t mean that’s what Trump did. My point is that talking about legalities is the same thing as talking about any other technicality. There are experts and there are plebes.
Experts have a way of speaking to make themselves sound authoritative and believable when they may not even know what they’re talking about, or they may know what they’re talking about and they can’t keep their bias out of things. You just never know. But this kind of stuff is allowed to happen and it does happen because the people that hire these people don’t know whether they know what they’re talking about. I mean, anybody could be on TV or radio now.
It doesn’t matter what kind of expertise you’ve got. It’s just, are you good TV? Do you sound like you know what you’re talking about? Do people want to watch you? That’s all it takes. Same with journalists. You don’t even do journalism anymore to be on TV. You’d better be a left-wing hack before anything else if you’re gonna be a journalist with the New York Times, CNN, Washington Post. Journalism is the last thing anybody’s looking for right now.
“That’s not the objective here. Journalism will only get in the way what we’re trying to do, which is get Donald Trump.” But it’s quite a serious thing to say that a judge acknowledged that Donald Trump committed a crime — a campaign finance violation — simply by accepting the plea of somebody who’s trying to say whatever it takes to get a reduced sentence — in this case, Cohen! It doesn’t matter what the defendant says or who he is.
It doesn’t matter what the plea is. A judge accepting it does not mean the judge is ruling on it and confirming it or affirming it. It is… This is a tough mountain to climb here in terms of the average, ordinary American trying to keep track of all this stuff — an you want to talk about built-in bias? The built-in bias for law enforcement cannot be denied.
Law enforcement’s just the same as the fire department, same as Santa Claus. They’re all decent, it’s all good, it’s all fair. Nobody would waste time on the innocent and so forth. You know what the federal prosecutor conviction rate is? It’s like 95%! That’s what Ted Stevens and his lawyers beat, a 95% conviction rate in federal court. If you find yourself in federal court, and they’re really lined up against you?
You’ve got a 5% chance of winning — while going broke, more than likely, in the process — if you choose to contest it, and who’s got the money to compete with the United States Treasury? They don’t. So here come the plea deals, and here come the process crimes, because prosecutors’ offices are into stats. They’re into convictions. Individual get bonused. They get hired with high-paying jobs in the private sector based on convictions and this kind of thing.
It’s just… I mean, it is what it is, and it’s always been this way. There’s nothing new about it. It’s just that in this particular case, they already… For two years, they’ve had their conclusion. For two years, they’ve had what they know they want — their guilty pleas — and what they’ve done is they’ve spent two years trying to get there. However they can get there is what they’re gonna do, because they know there isn’t anybody that’s gonna stop ’em. There isn’t anybody that can.