Republicans are warning that the prosecution of Donald Trump could lead to prosecutions of other politicians – especially Democrats – in the future. But is that such a bad thing? Also, Bernie Sanders hammered former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in a hearing last week – and Sanders may have gotten Schultz to actually lie under oath about how his company is violating labor laws. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: Republicans are warning that the prosecution of Donald Trump could lead to prosecutions of other politicians, like Joe Biden, especially all Democrats in the future. But is that such a bad thing? Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins joins me to talk about this. He has, I love your take on this. I love your, explain what your thought is because it’s easy to go to corner here and not really analyze this issue.

Farron Cousins: Um, I love that idea. Like, don’t threaten me with a good time Republicans. Like, oh no, we’re gonna prosecute everybody. Bring it on. We have sat here, you and I, and talked about crime after crime committed by members of Congress, by Democrats, by Republicans, and nobody ever faces any accountability. And one of the big things, obviously, is the insider trading that we have seen Congress do. We’ve got over a hundred members in the last three years alone that have been busted selling and trading stocks based solely on information they get as members of committee before it’s public. You do that, I do that, we’re going to jail.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: Members of Congress do it, they pay a $200 fine, but they pocket about a hundred grand from these stock sales.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. There’s no, if you take a look at the history, you go into Congress, you’re worth a hundred thousand dollars. You come out and you’re worth $10 million. Okay. Now, the way it happens is there’s a lot of ways they do this, that if we did say, okay, everybody’s fair game, we would be looking at that congress, that congressperson who was on a committee, and all of a sudden the committee’s talking about, well, we need to do something with oil and gas. That guy, person, goes out and buys oil and gas and they make a lot of money. There’s tons of things like this. I think the first target really is gonna be Biden’s, I think it’s gonna center around Hunter Biden and they’re gonna tie Hunter Biden’s money into Joe Biden.

You’re already seeing Republicans try to do that. Whether it goes anywhere. I don’t know. I mean, I think the attitude is going to be, well, the Republicans don’t think that there’s anything to what they’re accusing Trump about. And they’re gonna say, well, we’re gonna do the same thing. We don’t know if the Hunter money actually went to Joe Biden and his family, but they’re gonna take a shot at it. We start looking like a Banana Republic when that happens. I mean, we really do. And I just think that’s where this is headed.

Farron Cousins: Well, and the thing is too, we’ll look like a Banana Republic once all these get rolling, but at the end of it all, what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna weed out all of the bad actors. Doesn’t matter to me if it’s a Democrat, doesn’t matter if it’s a Republican. If we have people in office, which we clearly do, who are breaking the same laws that would land us in prison, I mean, the campaign finance laws that these people routinely break, and then the FEC comes back and says, oh, don’t worry about it. Just fix this.

Mike Papantonio: Well, explain that. Explain that.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. There was a big issue recently. George Santos accepted a donation from a man well in excess of the legal amount. So the FEC says, hey, this is an illegal donation, but what you can do, because this is actually a joint account with his wife, is you can just say that half of it came from the wife on your form and then you’re legal. And so he just changed, so the FEC that’s supposed to.

Mike Papantonio: The regulator.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. The regulator, instead of saying, I’m gonna prosecute you, says, listen, just change a couple names here and you’re good to go. And it’s crap like that, that let’s lower the bar for prosecution and get these folks out.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. I agree with you, Farron. I think we lower the bar. Everybody’s fair game. It’ll look ugly for awhile. But then it might actually require that things like we’re the DOJ when we’re not even talking about politicians, but we’re talking about people who have big influence, the CEOs of large corporations, the people who have all the money, the affluence. Maybe we’ll start doing what we’re supposed to do and that is throw them in prison when they kill 2000 people with a dangerous product. You know, maybe that’ll happen. Maybe the DOJ will finally wake up and go after Wall Street when they steal mom and pop’s pension programs. Maybe.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. I mean, if we lower the bar enough, we can get all these folks on conflict of interest, failure to recuse, you know, investigating the company that you used to represent in court. All of these things, it’s a good slippery slope.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. We’ve talked about, we have an upside down justice system right now. If you’re a child in a hoodie selling 10 ounces of marijuana on the street corner, you’re gonna be prosecuted. If you’re dressed up in an Armani suit and you have killed 10,000 people with a dangerous product, you’re gonna walk free. How about the opioid crisis? Who was prosecuted there? Zero. None of those folks went, killed 150 people a day. Maybe this opens the door to that.

Mike Papantonio: Bernie Sanders hammered former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at a hearing last week and Sanders may have gotten Schultz to actually lie under oath about how his company is violating labor laws. You know, here’s the way I looked at this story. It is that either Schultz was delusional and he didn’t realize he was lying, or, you know, he was disconnected from the truth. Nobody told him, hey, you might wanna know you’ve already been prosecuted a hundred times for violations, or he just is lying. He just is lying as if nobody’s gonna find out. This is a troubling story because had it not been for Bernie Sanders, this guy would never have been put on the spot, but he was put on the spot. Right?

Farron Cousins: Yeah. And this is all credit to Bernie Sanders on this particular story.

Mike Papantonio: Totally.

Farron Cousins: Because he was the head of the committee. He is the one who wanted this to happen. Because, I mean, look, Starbucks is one of the biggest companies in this country today, and just in the last few years, there’s 1400 violations that have been reported. A hundred, like you said, that have actually resulted in judgements against Starbucks. There is no way this man that was CEO of the company didn’t realize that on average they’re getting hit with a complaint every single day of the week.

Mike Papantonio: How can he not know? He’s a CEO of the company? He’s sworn under oath to where Bernie Sanders has to say, listen, Mr, do you understand you’re committing perjury if you lie under oath in front of this committee? Oh, I’m not lying, but as he’s speaking these words, you’ve got NLRB judges saying that there’s a reign of ugly coercion taking place in the labor movement with Starbucks. And oh, by the way, right now there’s 70 cases pending against your company for things like coercion, spying on organizers, creating, taking away benefits for organizers, threatening organizers. I mean, that’s the story here. And he’s, yeah, I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Farron Cousins: Right. I mean, Bernie ended up citing this specific law 18 US code section 1001. So Sanders knew this man was lying. And, you know, of course, look, nothing’s gonna happen to the guy. They could easily hit him with perjury.

Mike Papantonio: Why is that, man? It was like those, it was like the dwarfs, the little 12 dwarfs, the CEOs of the tobacco company.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: Remember that? No sir, we have no information that shows that at all, that nicotine causes any physical problem. Do you remember that?

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: They clearly lying. One of them even admitted, yeah, he knew. But, you know, he was told to do that by his lawyer. Nobody prosecuted because they have a tie on. They have a white shirt and an Armani suit. So we don’t do anything to these people. And it’s killing democracy because anybody goes and lies in the courthouse is going to trial, they’re going to, they’re going to jail for perjury. But not this guy because he’s a billionaire. Right?

Farron Cousins: Exactly. Let’s not forget too, you know, this is the guy that was on the top of Hillary Clinton’s list to be Labor Secretary.

Mike Papantonio: Oh, I know.

Farron Cousins: Had she won in 2016.

Mike Papantonio: Oh, love affair with Hillary Clinton. Love affair. My God. You wanted to tell, I saw pictures where you wanna say check into a room, Hillary with him.

Farron Cousins: And so that’s, you know, that’s the difference I wanna point out. Bernie Sanders pulls this guy into the Senate, basically gets him to lie under oath. Hammers the hell out of him. But Hillary Clinton would’ve had him in charge of labor policy for the US.

Mike Papantonio: Corporate Democrat. Corporate Democrat. That’s what this is. They’re their own little animal out there. And all the folks watching this, anything that’s Democrat by God I’m for, and they never differentiate between the, those corporate Democrats are great on social issues. Where it comes to gay rights or it comes to any kind of rights that we’re concerned about, whether it’s gender rights, whatever it may be. They’re good on those issues, but they’re awful, terrible where it comes to protecting consumers against Wall Street. They are part of Wall Street and everybody watching this program, anything we say about the Democrats, oh my God, how dare you say about the Democrats. They’re killing us. Corporate Democrats are killing us.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.