Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner said Friday that former President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, a former White House aide, share “criminal responsibility” for the deaths from COVID-19 after a recently released witness interview revealed their pandemic had behavior after Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.
Kirschner said during his Justice Matters video. posted on Twitter that the Trump administration was “criminally negligent” in its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic at a time when deaths from the virus were skyrocketing. The former prosecutor, who now works as a legal analyst for MSNBC, specifically discussed the period during which the Trump administration shared pandemic data with the incoming Biden administration after the 2020 election.
His comments were based on a recently released transcript of an April interview that the House Special Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riots conducted with Alyssa Farah Griffin, the former White House director of strategic communications. The interview was among dozens of witness transcripts the committee released shortly after it released its final report last week, which outlined efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election results.
In Farah Griffin’s interview with the committee, she testified that Kushner excluded the Biden administration from COVID-19 planning, according to the transcript. That move prevented a smooth and formal transition in which new Biden officials would be promptly updated by their then-Trump administration counterparts.
Griffin told the committee that Deborah Brix, who served as the White House COVID task force under Trump, asked days after the election whether or not Biden staffers should be kept up to date on pandemic-related plans. Kushner replied “absolutely not” and then proceeded with the meeting, according to Griffin.
“It was Jared Kushner who ensured that there would not be a smooth, safe and informed transition on an issue that is critical to the health and well-being of the American people,” Kirschner said Friday, adding that Trump, Kushner, and former Vice President Mike Pence are responsible for ‘preventable COVID deaths’
Kirschner claimed that Pence was also responsible because he headed the Coronavirus Task Force for some time and “allowed Donald Trump to lie to the American people and put us all at risk.” The legal analyst argued that the former president has repeatedly downplayed the risks of the virus.
Could Trump and Kushner be charged with causing COVID deaths?
Kirschner suggested that responsibility for COVID-related deaths could be prosecuted under DC laws as “involuntary manslaughter,” but that requires proof of three elements for the case to be treated as such.
He explained that prosecutors in DC courts would first have to prove that the person acted in “gross negligence,” which could possibly apply to Trump because he “had a duty to protect the American people and he failed and that failure a product of was. .. gross negligence.” According to Kirschner, Trump was also “grossly negligent” in the way he managed news related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Second element: Your grossly negligent behavior has led to a reasonable probability of the death or serious physical injury of another. In other words, Trump’s gross negligence has put people at risk,” Kirschner said.
He also said Kushner’s “grossly negligent” behavior was “much worse” than Trump’s, describing it as “beyond reckless” because it put people’s lives at risk. The former federal prosecutor pointed to a Business Insider article that reported that Kushner’s team believed the virus had hit democracies hardest and that governors could be blamed.
Third, the charge of “negligent manslaughter” requires proof that “a grossly negligent conduct caused the death of another”. This does not necessarily mean that an act of violence such as a stabbing or strangulation occurred, but according to Kirschner, one’s own behavior was a “significant” factor in the death of a victim.
“The law defines causality as behavior by one person that is a significant factor in the death of another person,” he explained. “You [Trump, Pence, and Kushner] grossly negligently caused the death of other people.”
How Does the Trump and Biden Administrations’ COVID Preparedness Compare?
Biden pushed hard to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, promising to protect Americans and roll out plans to fight the virus more vigorously. However, COVID-19 deaths under his administration in January exceeded those recorded under Trump as the virus continued to spread despite Biden’s mandates related to the pandemic.
Still, some experts believed the Trump administration could have avoided deaths from COVID-19 if it had responded differently to the virus.
In January 2021, when the more than 400,000 COVID-19 deaths were reported, Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, told the Associated Press that the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic has resulted in thousands of preventable deaths.
“Everything how it was administered was permeated with incompetence and dishonesty and we are paying a heavy price,” he said at the time. Meanwhile, Methodist Hospital of Southern California chief strategy officer Cliff Daniels shared a similar view, saying, “It’s so incredibly, unbelievably sad that so many people have died that could have been avoided.”
news week reached out to Trump’s media office, the White House and the National Center for Disaster Preparedness for comment.
https://www.newsweek.com/trump-kushner-share-criminal-responsibility-covid-deaths-kirschner-1770557 Trump, Kushner share ‘criminal responsibility’ for COVID deaths: Kirschner