Trump is a ‘not very smart’ mafia boss, former solicitor general says

‘This is the way that people in organized crime rings talk, and you see it there’

Louise Hall
Tuesday 05 January 2021 10:03 GMT
Obama solicitor general likens Trump to 'not very smart' mafia boss

The former acting solicitor general under former President Obama has accused President Donald Trump of talking like a “mafia boss” during his shocking phone call to Georgia's election chief.

Speaking to MSNBC on Sunday, Neal Katyal said that based on the excerpts he had heard, “it sounds like Donald Trump is talking like a mafia boss, and not a particularly smart mafia boss at that.”

“This is the way that people in organised crime rings talk, and you see it there,” he added.

Prof Katyal, now a Georgetown Law professor, said he believed Trump's actions were "really, truly an impeachable offense."

"You know, maybe that works in the Soviet Union or something. It certainly hasn't been the way that America, the American government, has operated," he said.

He urged the Department of Justice to "at least has to open an investigation.”

The president has faced mounting backlash after a taped conversation was released by The Washington Post on Sunday with many critics calling for impeachment.

The audio revealed Mr Trump apparently asking Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes,” and help overturn the election loss.

"There’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated,” the president purportedly said in the call, telling Mr Raffensperger that he was taking “a big risk” in not pursuing his false claims.

Mr Raffensperger and his officials told the outgoing president that Joe Biden’s 11,779-vote victory in Georgia was fair and accurate.

"This is, you know, the heart of what the abuse of power that our founders worried about so much is,” Prof Katyal said.

“It's, you know, the idea that the government official can use the powers of his office to try and stay in office and try and browbeat other officials that disagree with them.”  

Other legal experts have expressed concern over the contents of the recording, including congressman Adam Schiff, a lawyer who led the impeachment proceedings against the president.

“Trump’s contempt for democracy is laid bare. Once again. On tape. Pressuring an election official to ‘find’ the votes so he can win is potentially criminal,” he tweeted.

“And another flagrant abuse of power by a corrupt man who would be a despot, if we allowed him. We will not.”

Democratic Rep Don Beyer echoed similar sentiments as Prof Katyal comparing Mr Trump to a “cheap gangster”.

“Trump is on tape threatening elected officials like a cheap gangster – trying to get them to commit massive, criminal election fraud – and Republicans in Congress want to keep him in power by overturning the vote of the American people,” he tweeted.

The backlash comes only weeks before Mr Trump’s term in office draws to a close, with the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden set to take place on 20 January.

The controversy also comes just one day before two run-off elections are scheduled to take place in Georgia in a contentious battle to decide which party takes control of the Senate.

The White House, the Trump campaign and Mr Raffensperger’s office did not respond to requests for comment on Monday regarding the recorded phone conversation.

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