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  • U.S. President Donald J. Trump departs the White House for his golf resort in Virginia. Washington, DC, USA. November 08, 2020.

    U.S. President Donald J. Trump departs the White House for his golf resort in Virginia. Washington, DC, USA. November 08, 2020. | Photo: EFE/EPA/Pool/Mike Theiler

Published 8 November 2020
Opinion

The outgoing president of the United States, Donald Trump, is not going to disappear in silence, according to experts, who predict that the next two months will be full of stratagems to dispute the results of the elections.

In this context, analysts are concerned about a latent possibility: that Trump will turn the transition into an exercise in abuse of power, personal enrichment, self-indulgence and purging.

On the one hand, the president's legal team, led by his advisor and former New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani, claims to have concrete cases in which Republican observers were prevented from entering the vote count rooms.

On the other hand, the authorities of the affected states themselves, some Republicans, categorically reject these statements and the first legal skirmishes have not had any effect.

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The results from all states have to be confirmed, with all possible appeals and litigation resolved, before December 8.

The urgency is due to the fact that Americans do not vote directly for their president, but for the people who will represent their state in the Electoral College. 

The Electoral College must meet on December 14 for the pledges from each state to cast their votes, which will be counted in a session of both houses of Congress on January 6.

In other aspects of the issue, there is the farewell and closing ceremony of Trump, both events full of uncertainties conditioned by the explosive character of the president, of whom "we will know more in these next two months than in the last four years," in the words of former advisor Miles Taylor to The Washington Post.

In addition to the persistent rumors of a new 'punishment purge' among his government team, it is possible that he will use his powers to grant pardons, with a purpose never seen before: to grant himself immunity from any future investigation of crimes, scholars say.

In this scenario, the transition process will take a back seat; from President-elect Joe Biden's team, neither support nor concession is expected.

According to sources in his campaign to the aforementioned media, the idea is to take advantage of the broad powers granted to them by the Presidential Transition Act to avoid the obstacles that the outgoing president's allies could prepare for them.

A report issued last August by the Transition Integrity Project (TIP) fears that Trump will set himself two simple goals in this scenario: destroying incriminating evidence and making the most money as possible.

"People of all political orientations and ideologies who participated in all of our drills are confident that Trump will prioritize self-preservation and self-interest rather than ensuring an orderly administrative transition to his successor," the document concluded, published last August on the Quartz news website.

The TIP contemplates, for example, the possibility that the president will multiply his stays at his residence and headquarters from Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, with the consequent monetary diversion to his private companies as those in charge of feeding the security entourage that would be forced to accompany him.

Until mid-September, these visits totaled 1.1 million dollars in federal funds, which went directly into the coffers of the president's organization, Trump Enterprises.

But more realistic is the option that the president could resort to amnesty to protect those consultants who violate presidential record protection laws if they destroy documents that compromise Trump himself.

That variant was highlighted by USA Today; however, these are uncharted waters because it is not very clear what can and cannot be forgiven.

For all intents and purposes, the result is the same: 'He is going to use this period strategically to try, basically, to protect himself, his family and his money,' the former prosecutor of the special investigation into the Trump campaign, Andrew Weissmann, told the Washington Post.

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