The Post-Civil War Precedent for the Trump Trials

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Donald Trump may be the first former President to be indicted for a crime, but he is not the first to lead an insurrection and then attempt to dodge the consequences. More than a hundred and fifty years ago, the U.S. government set out to try Jefferson Davis, the former President of the Confederacy, for treason. Those efforts failed. In this week’s New Yorker, Jill Lepore, a staff writer at the magazine and a historian at Harvard, writes an essay about the lasting consequences of that failure. There are many parallels between our current moment and the post-Civil War reunification era: the thorniness of prosecuting politicians, the fear of inciting more political violence, and questions about how best to move a bitterly divided country forward. Lepore joins Tyler Foggatt to discuss the historical lessons of Jefferson Davis and the legal efforts to kick Trump off the ballot using the disqualification clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

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