Back in 1980 or 1981 I went down to D.C. on a business trip. Flew into National Airport (it hadn’t yet been renamed after Reagan), rented a car, and drove out to an appointment in Georgetown. 

So I’m sitting at a red light on Wisconsin Avenue, the main shopping drag that cuts through Georgetown up to the National Cathedral, and an elderly guy shuffles past my car carrying a quart of milk in one hand while his other hand holds a leash.

“Holy shit!’ I said to myself, ‘that’s John Mitchell.”  It really was.

Mitchell had gone to jail for 19 months in 1977 following his involvement in the Watergate affair. He came out of prison completely broke, discredited, disbarred and with no place to live. Some kindly, old widow rattling around in a Georgetown town house took him in, with the understanding that he would run daily errands and walk her dog.

So here was the guy who had been the chief law enforcement officer in the United States who now had to get up every morning, dust around the house and stand there in the street while the pooch took a shit. I remember this incident from forty years ago as if it happened today.

I would give anything to go back to D.C. in a few years and see the current chief law-enforcement officer shuffling around. I’m not talking about Bill Barr.  I’m talking about his boss, a guy named Donald Trump. Because the fact that Trump continues to go around both behaving and talking about the virus as if it’s not a threat to health, opens him up to both civil and possibly criminal liabilities which should be followed up.

We don’t have a virus which is once again moving towards 1,000 daily fatalities because the health threat is ‘under control.’ We don’t have an economy in tatters because we shouldn’t let worries about the virus ‘dominate’ our lives. And we certainly don’t need to wear masks because Trump knows for a fact, that masks are a  threat to public health.

An attorney who is a recognized expert on healthcare law put it this way: “it is established law that a person who knows (s)he has an infectious disease and deliberately or recklessly infects another can be civilly liable, even criminally so. HIV, AIDS, and HPV (the human papillomavirus) lawsuits quickly come to mind. A $1.5-million verdict awarded by an Iowa jury to an unsuspecting woman who claimed her boyfriend infected her with HPV stands out as but one example.”

When did Trump possibly infect others with Covid-19? Virtually every day since he checked out of Walter Reed and never bothered to go into quarantine. He now claims that he’s ‘immune’ to the disease so it doesn’t matter whether he gets near anyone else or not. And where does his knowledge about viral immunities come from? The same place he gets his ‘facts’ about everything else. From nowhere.

The courts have also held that the President cannot be charged for civil or even criminal offenses while in office, but there’s also the court of public opinion which will be convened if Trump shows up for tonight’s debate. And I hope that Joe spends as much time as possible reminding everyone that more than 200,000 Americans have died because Trump continues to spread malicious and ill-informed information about Covid-19.

As of today, the CNN poll for Pennsylvania shows Joe with a 10-point lead. The latest Fox poll for Pennsylvania has Joe up by 5, Siena says the gap is 7, Quinnipiac says it’s 13; in other words, the polls are all over the place. But we haven’t seen a single poll by any pollster for Pennsylvania that puts Trump close to the lead.

Meanwhile, Luzerne County, which went for Trump by almost two-thirds in 2016, just spiked with a 4% viral fatality rate, which happens to be twice the national rate, even though the infection in Luzerne County is below the national infection rate.

Should Joe talk about anything other than the virus tonight?