This Wednesday is Joe Biden’s Inauguration. He will become the 46th President of the United States of America. Few people know more about the history of the nation’s Presidents than Jonathan Alter. The political journalist, producer, NBC News correspondent and bestselling author joined us last, in November, to discuss his excellently written and insightful biography about Jimmy Carter titled, His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life [see here].
This time around, Mr. Alter joined us for a conversation about this week’s Presidential Inauguration and the attempted coup d’état orchestrated by President Donald Trump, culminating in the insurrection and attack on the United States Capitol on January 6th. New information continues to come out daily about the failed attempt to overthrow America’s democracy.
Giving his thoughts on the insurrection of the January 6th, Jonathan Alter told us this:
“Since the election and since his [Trump] quite decisive loss to Joe Biden, he’s been in engaged in what should now and forever be called by three simple words, the big lie. And if the big lie doesn’t become part of our language, we’re in deep trouble. It needs to be teed up as the big lie that was told by Donald Trump and by the people who attacked the temple of our democracy versus those who live in the kingdom of fact and truth. You’re on one side or the other. You’re either part of the big lie or you’re a defender of democracy. There’s no middle ground.”
When Trump leaves office, Jonathan Alter does not believe the 45th President will face federal charges, unless he pardons himself while still President. However, Trump could face state charges in New York, Georgia or both. Speaking about the possible charges in New York City, Mr. Alter mentions that the District Attorney of New York County, Cyrus Vance Jr., is an old friend who he believes will bring an indictment against Trump.
“We don’t know what Vance has or what he’s gonna present and we don’t know for sure that he’ll bring an indictment, but if I was a betting man, I would bet that Trump will be indicted by Vance because we know the outlines of the crime, which is that he would inflate his assets to get loans. He’s very leveraged. He has a lot of loans. So, you want to have as much collateral as you can in order to get these loans. So, he would grossly inflate his assets to get loans. But then when it came time to pay in taxes, suddenly, no, he doesn’t have any assets, right. And, there are penalties for filing false financial statements.”
On what he expects from Joe Biden’s Presidential Inauguration, along with that of incoming Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday in Washington D.C., the esteemed political journalist shared this:
“The very small number of Biden supporters who will be, you know, ticket holders for the swearing in, they will be socially distanced. So you’ll see, you know, it’ll look like, sort of like a socially distanced college graduation maybe, you know, from a medium sized college. And the reviewing stand will be socially distanced. So, you’re not, it’s just gonna look very different.
And I would imagine that Biden will give a short and eloquent inaugural address that quotes from, you know, Lincoln’s first or second inaugural, you know, the first one, ‘We are not enemies. We are friends.’ When he was trying to prevent the Civil War. And the second, you know, ‘With malice toward none with charity for all.’ Because Biden has made a big deal about how he wants to be President of all the people and try to pull the country together. But he is, given the events of last week, he is gonna have to say you can’t have unity without accountability. So, I think he’ll say something like that in his Inaugural.”
Featured columnist Jay Bildstein hosts this compelling CYInterview.
You can listen to this CYInterview with Jonathan Alter, in its entirety, below:
Listen to the entire Jonathan Alter CYInterview: