Are Trump’s Lawyers Dumber Than Him?

I do not understand why Trump’s lawyers have spent so much energy in the last couple of days provoking coverage of whether he would testify to the Mueller probe. They have based this on their own predictions that they will be asked, without any assertion or reporting that they have been asked. So why talk about it? All they accomplished was forcing their client to be asked about it at least twice yesterday in media encounters. It seems, whenever this probe recedes to the background where it is better off for the president his own lawyers bring it back to the forefront.

And what makes them think they have any leverage in this anyway? The Nixon tapes case, broadly and unanimously decided by the Supreme Court, established that executive privilege does not override the needs of judicial process or a criminal investigation unless national security is somehow demonstrably at stake. That precedent is one reason Bill Clinton’s legal team did not fight a subpoena to testify.

Bob Mueller has no reason to concede anything. He can get Trump’s testimony in any way, shape or form he wants it. The president’s only choices are to re-litigate the Nixon case (he’ll lose), take the Fifth (politically disastrous), or answer the questions.

Trump’s “no collusion” mantra will be irrelevant if he takes questions under threat of perjury. The real questions will be about financial crimes, election fraud and obstruction of justice.

I can think of nothing more important about this entire fiasco than finally putting Donald Trump under oath in a setting where lying is ultimately consequential. Only Bob Mueller has the power, the right and the responsibility to get that done.


Author: craigcrawford

Trail Mix Host

46 thoughts on “Are Trump’s Lawyers Dumber Than Him?”

  1. PooBah, I’ve seen so many stupid statements and ridiculous posturing by SFP’s attorneys that I can’t even begin to make a list of the idiotic moves that I’ve seen and heard. And these are lawyers whose names I know. I knew the names John Dowd, Jay Sekulow and Ty Cobb before they became SFB’s lawyers and before they started putting their faces out in the media on behalf of SFB.  And the hits just keep on coming. Such as pressing a defamation suit while questioning the defamation laws, which are state laws rather than federal laws, as shams. I don’t get it. Looking at WaPo comments to articles that implicate legal issues, I’m not alone in failing to see how SFB benefits by the bluster and false statements by his counsel- they aren’t fooling anyone but the most faithful idiots  in his base.

    You are right. It’s time for Mueller to put his fat ass under oath and let the legal system take control.

  2. are they dumber?

    he.  hired.  them.

    he’s the one that goes to jail, loses his office, forfeits profits, has property confiscated or is tarred feathered and rode out on a rail…..not them.  they may lose a few clients though and go down in what not to do in case history lessons.

  3. now, for dumb and dumber, how ’bout the critterville scum who are unpatriotically trying to obstruct justice?

    thanks, bbronc for pointing out to us the obvious [and should be easy enough to prove with a little research by hard working journalists….hint hint]:

    To find out why critters are trying to kill the investigation is to look at their supporters money flow.  Stupid from South Carolina who was absolutly against SFB suddenly changed his attitude.  There seems to be a Russian money flow to a supporter and to him.  Nunes and Rorhobacher are deep into debt with the russkies.  Of interest is Issa giving up.  Perhaps he thinks by dropping out he will not be looked at. Hehehe

  4. To have SFB in the hot seat is such a great idea.  And, from the previous times he was put in the chair, and he was settled down, he gave honest testimony.  But, he had to be controlled to get to that point.  That was years ago.  With his apparent mental collapse he may not be controllable now and he may be living in his own universe, unable to recognize truth versus his version of reality.

    In other words, he is off his rocker with only momentary glimpses of reality. Not stable enough to be interrogated.

  5. Yes…  his lawyers are dumb.  But not only because they are defending the indefensible…  but do they assume that they will actually get paid.  trump’s track record in paying people who work for him isn’t exactly stellar.

    Can’t wait for that subpoena to happen…  popcorn on the ready!

  6. These lawyers hear their names on tv, radio, get written about in various forums & get face time, either live or through print. Celebrity & all the trappings, a most potent drug. This amount of free advertising is priceless & secures them ( for better or worse ) a permanent place in American history. They won’t be resigning or going to jail, their client may … & if they manage to help said client beat the rap they will obtain a cult status in certain circles, no matter how guilty said client may be (hi OJ.)

    Give ’em the old razzle dazzle

    Razzle dazzle ’em.

    Show them the first rate sorcerer you are ….


  7. Conservatives are bringing back their call of “work requirements” for some medicaid recipients. Just thought I’d mention that.

    The bleak black hole of eternal winter.




  8. sj, the “work for your Medicaid” talk is just this year’s model of the welfare Cadillac.  I believe that most folks receiving Medicaid are worthy recipients, and those who do not work – most do – are unable to work for myriad different reasons.  Assuming without demonstrating that there is some significant number of folks who are healthy enough to earn income above the Medicaid thresholds in this and that state (in WV you’d need to earn over $16/hr working full time as a single earner in a family of 4) but are expert enough to game the system and receive Medicaid money when they really shouldn’t qualify, and there certainly are some, I think the decision tree on who should/should not be required to seek work if they receive Medicaid funds would throw Watson for a loop.  I think we could all agree, even the republican bloodsuckers in congress, that the elderly who receive Medicaid should not be required to work, being that they are often in nursing homes or have chronic conditions that are treated on an outpatient basis – at least I hope that is a working assumption.  Let’s assume there exists some magical way of separating the “younger” recipients into work/no work categories.  For those in the “work” category, what would they be required to do?  Unemployment is at a very low level, so the economy is at full employment for all intents and purposes. Oh, there are jobs out there, and McDonald’s is always hiring, but the majority of unfilled jobs are not unfilled for want of a larger unskilled work force.  And assuming that the jobs exist where the “work” recipients live is a stretch at best. Frankly, I believe the “work for your medicaid” crowd doesn’t think their own yammering is serious, but think they need to float it out there to get their base solidified for November.

  9. So back to defamation for a bit.

    28 U.S. Code § 4101 – Definitions
    (1)Defamation.—The term “defamation” means any action or other proceeding for defamation, libel, slander, or similar claim alleging that forms of speech are false, have caused damage to reputation or emotional distress, have presented any person in a false light, or have resulted in criticism, dishonor, or condemnation of any person.

    OK, defamation is defined in the U.S. Code.  But that doesn’t mean that SFB has any path to “looking at” it with any purpose.  Kelly/Warner has a page on their website that does a pretty good job of discussing defamation.  The two driving legal forces are the First Amendment (particularly with respect ot federal defamation cases) and state law.

    In New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, a 1964 case out of Alabama, SCOTUS held that “the First Amendment protects the publication of all statements, even false ones, about the conduct of public officials except when statements are made with actual malice (with knowledge that they are false or in reckless disregard of their truth or falsity). Under this new standard, Sullivan’s case collapsed.” (Source – Oyez)

    In Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, a 1987 case that pretty much defines the current state of defamation law that SFB wants to take a serious look at, SCOTUS “In a unanimous opinion the Court held that public figures, such as Jerry Falwell, may not recover for the intentional infliction of emotional distress without showing that the offending publication contained a false statement of fact which was made with “actual malice.” The Court added that the interest of protecting free speech, under the First Amendment, surpassed the state’s interest in protecting public figures from patently offensive speech, so long as such speech could not reasonably be construed to state actual facts about its subject.” (Source, Oyez)

    SFB and his crack legal team thinks this state of the law is essentially a joke.  Well, too bad – the Hustler case was a unanimous decision that came from the Rehnquist Court, upon which sat Scalia and Kennedy.  It doesn’t get much more conservative than that.

    Trump’s request to kick the Zervos suit because he’s immune to suit as a president is ridiculous in light of Clinton v. Jones (1997) as Oyez notes, “In a unanimous opinion, the Court held that the Constitution does not grant a sitting President immunity from civil litigation except under highly unusual circumstances. After noting the great respect and dignity owed to the Executive office, the Court held that neither separation of powers nor the need for confidentiality of high-level information can justify an unqualified Presidential immunity from judicial process. While the independence of our government’s branches must be protected under the doctrine of separation of powers, the Constitution does not prohibit these branches from exercising any control over one another. This, the Court added, is true despite the procedural burdens which Article III jurisdiction may impose on the time, attention, and resources of the Chief Executive.”

    And since this latest round of insanity is supposedly about false statements made by people who were quoted in the vaunted dossier, precedent from Sullivan aside, it seems that they have not heard of the (central) rule of evidence called hearsay.  I n this case it would be like this – dossier says that “Mr. X” said that SFB did or said something. If the truth of what SFB is alleged to have done or said is at issue, it is hearsay and excluded from evidence absent an applicable exception (there are a shitload of them, but most of the time they don’t apply).

    When I say his lawyers are making stupid comments, that statement is is based on the above precedent.  As in all things in SFB world, up is down, black is white, and alternative facts are not lies.

  10. Poobah, thanks for the Kaiser study – it confirms what I see around me and what I suspected occurs elsewhere.  The facts don’t support the RW election year rhetoric.  Imagine.

  11. I was just making a comment about how certain groups have found degradation of decency acceptable, not numbers or wedge issues. Being mean is cool.

  12. Pogo, the problem with relying on the Paula Jones decision in the Zervos case is that the ruling was limited to allowing suit in federal court. Justices made it clear they were not addressing the viability of a state court suit, left that an open question. For that reason I can’t understand why Gloria Allred filed that case in state court. The state judge hasn’t ruled yet but expressed doubt in the motion to dismiss hearing she has the power to let the case go forward. And if she denies the motion Trump lawyers will certainly appeal, so this case is paralzyed. They’d be in discovery by now, and Trump would be facing a deposition, if it was in federal court. Maybe Allred thought NY defamation law more favorable than federal, I don’t know why she chose that path and I have not seen anyone ask her.

  13. such an old gooper theme but one that works for them…..people to take government cheese or money just don’t work enough (or have rich enough ancestors)

    who can forget Newtie’s attack on food stamp recipients
    For social security recipients who receive the minimum the average food stamp benefit is $16.00 a month.

  14. All this lawyerly stuff has my head spinning…  🙂  It’s great to have the both of you, Craig & Pogo, explain it to us non-lawyers.

    And just supposing that SFB did get libel and slander laws relaxed… wouldn’t they also apply to him.  You know…  like…  asking to see Obama’s birth certificate because you believe he’s a foreigner or that’s he’s actually a Muslim.  Not to mention all his name calling.

  15. RR

    He’s being sued right now and a relaxed legal standard would not be his friend

  16. So far SFB has not suffered any consequences for his appalling performance as president.  The only thing he cares about is that his election not be delegitimized  It is the one thing he did do on his own.

    Because of this he refuses to face the threat from the Russians.

  17. The condom just proved she has no contact with SFB  she said no one at the WH ever talks about Clinton

  18. “Maybe Allred thought NY defamation law more favorable than federal, I don’t know why she chose that path….”

    craig, maybe she’s never been admitted to practice in the particular federal court district favorable to her case. 

  19. Poobah, your point about the limitations of the C v. J ruling to federal court actions is well taken. I don’t necessarily rely on it other than for the reason that it’s all there is as precedent that I’m aware of. The practical bases for the opinion – undue burden on his time, etc. -that might be applicable to Zervos seem to provide a valid analysis framework for state court judges faced with such an issue, although the separation of powers analysis isn’t applicable. But I ain’t no Judge and don’t have to face the prospect of SFB retaliation upon ruling against him.

  20. twit driving his critters crazy this a.m.

    the guardian: “Trump reverses stance on surveillance law in series of contradicting tweets “

    In a confusing series of tweets, Donald Trump on Thursday pushed the House to renew a critical national security program that allows spy agencies to collect intelligence on foreign targets abroad, after having earlier attacked the legislation.

    A White House official said staffers had consulted with Trump after his initial tweet opposing the administration’s stance.

    The House passed a bill this morning to reauthorize the key foreign intelligence collection program with an important tweak. It requires the FBI to get a warrant if it wants to view the contents of Americans’ communications swept up in the process.

    The House passed what is known as Section 702 of a program that allows spy agencies to collect information on foreign targets abroad. The bill passed 256-164. The Senate must still pass the bill before it is sent to the White House for the president’s signature.

    Earlier, the House rejected a measure to impose stiffer restrictions on the FBI. It would have required the FBI to get a warrant to continue even querying the database when Americans are involved.

    “This vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land,” Trump said in a morning tweet a few hours before the votes. “We need it! Get smart!”

    But before that he had sent out a contradictory tweet suggesting that the program was used to collect information that might have been used to taint his campaign.

    “‘House votes on controversial FISA ACT today,’” Trump wrote, citing a Fox News headline. “This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?”

    Representative Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said Trump’s tweets were “inaccurate, conflicting and confusing”.

    He suggested that a vote on the bill should be delayed until the White House’s position can be ascertained. But Republicans said the vote should be held.

    The program allows US spy agencies to collect information on foreign targets outside the United States. Americans’ communications are inadvertently swept up in the process and privacy advocates and some lawmakers want to require the FBI to get a warrant if it wants to query and view the content of Americans’ communications that are in the database to build domestic crime cases.

    Trump’s initial tweet linking the Fisa program that his White House supports to the dossier that alleges his campaign had ties to Russia seemed to be in opposition to his administration’s position, potentially putting the reauthorization vote in doubt.

    His tweets came shortly after a Fox & Friends segment that highlighted the Fisa program, calling it “controversial”. Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has also made the television rounds in recent days, has pushed for less invasive spying measures.

    The tweets sent White House aides scrambling to explain the apparent about-face. The president’s reversal was yet another example of him seemingly taking cues from television, particularly the morning Fox News show, while also personalizing an issue, in this case the dossier, over a policy position.


  21. kgc, whaddya make of this…. will the switcheroo work for him?  more Benghazi all over again

    the hill: Exclusive: Issa mulls running in neighboring district
    GOP Rep. Darrell Issa who said Wednesday he is not seeking reelection in California’s 49th district, has been discussing with colleagues the possibility of running in a neighboring San Diego district if embattled Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan Duane HunterPelosi blasts California Republicans for supporting tax billGOP lawmaker gives profane tribute to TrumpCourt upholds Obama rule banning vaping on airplanesMORE (R-Calif.) resigns, multiple sources told The Hill.
    Some of these discussions happened as recently as Wednesday, the day Issa announced he would not be running for reelection in his coastal Southern California district after 15 years in the House.
    Most of Washington took that to mean Issa, the former Oversight Committee chairman and Congress’s wealthiest member, was leaving Capitol Hill for good.
    But in his statement, Issa never specifically said he was retiring from Congress.

  22. Well,  can Donny prevent his accusers from being present at the SOTU?  The women have, apparently, been invited by Dems.


    BB – I think you are right about Rohrbacker.   Drunk on Russian money; he doesn’t care about Americans, America, or anything except the money.

  23. sj – Didn’t Bill Clinton put that “work to/for welfare” rule in play?  Yes, he did & it hurt folks who then lost benefits but didn’t make enough to survive.

    The robot  army is growing at Amazon.  They’ll need tech support for the robotic pickers, but fewer and fewer folks to pick orders.  As the middle class slides down and the working poor slide down even further, who will place the orders for the robots to pick?

    Too many people, too many people, too many people…

  24. Conspiracy theory of the day:  Maybe the flu shots are designed to shorten lifespans by some means, as well as, oops…it’s not a good match this year & the flu will take out some folks now?   I’m not an anti-Baxter; I had mine, but my doc says the only thing that will fix the downward slide is another plague.  Yep, an actual MD thinks we need a die-off to fix the world.

  25. Pat

    I don’t think Issa can win in any district but he might have a better chance in Hunter’s district he has almost no chance in his own

  26. A side point I learned in today’s FISA debate is just how much those courts demand extensive corroboration of witnesses or documents used to request warrants. In other words, if the Steele dossier was successfully used for FISA warrants then it was corroborated. Trumpsters might find they shouldn’t have brought this up.

  27. Hah, poobah! the law of unintended consequences may yet bite SFBco in the butt.  I can only hope so. Of course SF tweeted support for and opposition to renewal of the act this morning.  Such a ducking fumbass.

  28. Perhaps Allred filed in NY for the convenience of her client, who might be somewhat low on funds. The Allred Law Factories are all over the US, and she only shows up at the case sites that will help to market her services.

  29. Before I read the Kaiser report, I figured that the work requirement would only affect about 10 – 20% of 2 – 3% of the Medicaid recipients. Iow, a savings of .2% at least and .6% at most. Anywhat, whether it is calculated from Kaiser numbers or mine, the savings are worth a bucket of warm pee.
    All Show & No Go.

  30. XR, the question is why she filed in state court rather than in federal court. Why she filed in state court is easy- SF is a NY resident and there’s a state law to sue under so jurisdiction is a lock. I’m guessing she couldn’t show diversity jurisdiction to bring the case in fed court. And for myriad reasons most litigators would prefer being in stae court eight out of seven days of the week. In Zervos’ case, based on what little I know about it, a federal judge would have little difficulty booting it.

  31. Does the issa news suggest that the corrupt old fart will be trying to unseat the corrupt young fart duncan hunter ?

  32. Thank you, Mr Pogo. I don’t know what gave me the idea that the suit was filed in Federal court.

  33. This week’s series of Trump not even understanding his own policies confirms Wolff book premise that he’s too dumb to be there.

  34. If the courts can protect dreamers for now why should Democrats make a deal for Trump’s stupid wall? Take it to the midterms, then fix it when they take over Congress.

  35. Republicans holding dreamers hostage for Trump’s stupid wall is a fine issue for Dems in the midterms, if courts protect these kids for now.

  36. sounds like the twit’s wall is crumbling into “border security” vagueness… heard Kelly anne and goper critters today talking the 2400 miles would not entirely be actual concrete wall but segments here and there where possible, fencing, drones and hi-tech surveillance etc segments otherwise.
    one goper said trump uses the term “wall” so it’s easier for the public to understand/visualize the security needed. so it’s one of those “depends on what is is” thingies.

  37. another story on that politico page fearless leader linked was

    I Blew the Whistle on Russian Meddling. Now I’m Running for Congress.
    Here are three things we need to do right now to secure our democracy.

    January 11, 2018

    A year ago, in the final days of the Obama presidency, my colleagues and I in his administration were racing against time. The intelligence community had already concluded that Russia interfered in our 2016 election. We were determined to use our remaining time to discover how Russia had done so—since we had no idea then whether Congress or the FBI would mount a proper inquiry—and to ensure that our still limited knowledge would survive any attempts by the Trump administration and its allies in Congress to bury what had already been discovered.

    One day last January, I hand-carried to key U.S. Senate offices a set of unclassified serial numbers of intelligence reports on Russian interference, hoping senators would request the full reports and be inspired to investigate further.


  38. One reason to go state is the federal courts are backed up, probably years of clog due to the greedy old perverts going slow on Obama noms.

    It has been a very long week. Do you remember:

    Saturday – “stable genius”. Sunday – “Stephen Miller destroyed Tapper”. Monday – “enormously consensual”, Tuesday – “clean DACA fix”. Wednesday – “Hillary”. Thursday – “so badly surveil”

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