WTF is He Doing? [with Today's Quiz]

When do we decide that Trump's contempt for the law has crossed the line?

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Yesterday, on the opening day of Paul Manafort's criminal trial, our President—the chief law enforcement officer of the United States—publicly described the investigation that led to Manafort's indictment as "a TOTAL HOAX" and a "witch hunt"; described the head of the prosecutorial team as "totally conflicted" and "a disgrace to USA"; and called the defendant a "Reagan/Dole darling" who "worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders."

The grotesque inappropriateness of these comments by our Chief Executive concerning an ongoing criminal trial should be obvious to all. It's never happened before.* I cannot even imagine what the outcry, and the scandal, would have been had any prior president tried it. It violates some of the deepest and most fundamental principles of due process, and of separation of powers, principles that are held dear by everyone reading this post, whatever their position on immigration, or the Wall, or tariffs, or tax cuts, or EPA regulation: the judiciary has the case, and it will be decided based entirely on the evidence and the arguments presented in the courtroom, weighed by a jury who are not to be cajoled or influenced or threatened by events taking place outside the courtroom. Least of all by comments from the capo di tutti capi, from the very top of the federal law enforcement pyramid, suggesting that even though (his) prosecutors think that Manafort is guilty, the capo doesn't, and would be very pleased if the charges went away. Why doesn't he just offer the jurors a personally-guided tour of the West Wing if they acquit Manafort—that oughta do the trick, no?

*At least, I am not aware of any prior president commenting, in public, about a criminal trial then underway, let alone publicly praising the defendant and disparaging his own prosecutorial team. But perhaps I am overlooking something. So that's today's quiz: if you can come up with a prior historical example of such a thing, I'd be interested to hear about it.

Part Two of the quiz (extra credit) is: can you come up with any plausible, reasonable, justification for these tweets? Any reason to think it is not what it appears to be: an attack on the federal criminal justice system?

Sarah Sanders, coming to Trump's defense, said "He's only expressing his opinion." I'm sorry, Ms. Sanders; there are some things the President does not get to express his opinion about, on account of the role he plays in the constitutional scheme, and the progress of an ongoing criminal trial is one of them.

I know, I know—"It's just Trump being Trump. No need for hysterics. It's no big deal, we've seen it all before, etc. etc."

The tweets are worth reproducing in full:

"This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!"

"Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders. He worked for me for a very short time. Why didn't government tell me that he was under investigation. These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion—a Hoax!"

"Russian Collusion with the Trump Campaign, one of the most successful in history, is a TOTAL HOAX. The Democrats paid for the phony and discredited Dossier which was, along with Comey, McCabe, Strzok and his lover, the lovely Lisa Page, used to begin the Witch Hunt. Disgraceful!"

Put aside the vulgarity ("the lovely Lisa Page"). Put aside the eighth grade syntax and Capitalization (do we really have a president who does not know how to use capital letters?). Those are just distractions—possibly placed there intentionally just to distract us, possibly not. But no matter. How have we reached a place where we can shrug off comments like this by our president? I understand that he has demonstrated his contempt for the judicial system many times before; he is, after all, the "Lock Her Up" (without an indictment, let alone a trial) president, and the "a Mexican-American judge shouldn't hear the case against my fraudulent Trump University" president.

But isn't there a line? And hasn't he crossed it? And what should we do about that?

NEXT: The White House Is Moving Forward on Prison Reform Despite Justice Department Resistance

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  1. I wasn’t aware that being elected President strips a citizen of their right to express their opinion.

    He did not order anything, just expressed the reality that this is all nothing more than an attempted coup by the Deep State, and the farce needs to stop.

    He has the full Constitutional authority to stop it if he choose to, but hasn’t. So all these screams of obstructing justice are completely partisan BS.

    1. “…just expressed the reality that this is all nothing more than an attempted coup by the Deep State, and the farce needs to stop.”

      I thought it was the Reptilians from Alpha Draconis?

    2. “…just expressed the reality that this is all nothing more than an attempted coup by the Deep State, and the farce needs to stop.”

      I thought it was the Reptilians from Alpha Draconis?

    3. Reality.

      Something you need to get back in touch with.

      1. You’re right, somebody needs to get back in touch with reality. Now tell me exactly why the russians at the trump tower meeting met with DNC agents Fusion GPS before and after that meeting.

        1. Because you have an active imagination?

        2. They didn’t, and they weren’t.

    4. I wasn’t aware that being elected President strips a citizen of their right to express their opinion.

      There’s apparently a lot of things you’re not aware of. Like context, reality, and sanity.

      I can say, “I hate Vladimir Putin and I hope someone puts a bullet in his head.” The president of the United States cannot.

      Hint: it isn’t a question of “rights.”

      1. “I can say, “I hate Vladimir Putin and I hope someone puts a bullet in his head.” The president of the United States cannot.”

        That’s a terrible example. The legality of the President actually ordering the assignation of a foreign head of state is far from clear. Much less simply “hoping” for such an event.

      2. NORRRRRMS

      3. “The president of the United States cannot.”

        Why not?

        Inadvisable does not mean “cannot”.

    5. /q “Just expressed the reality that this is nothing more than an attempted coup by the Deep State” */q

      It’s interesting to me that you consistantly get this kind of tinfoil hat conspiracy insanity at a publication that prides itself on its ability to Reason.

      1. The Volokh Conspiracy is a movement conservative blog, not a reason-based or libertarian forum. Its carefully cultivated audience mostly ranges from faux libertarians to Trump-supporting right-wingers.

    6. He has the full Constitutional authority to stop it if he choose to, but hasn’t. So all these screams of obstructing justice are completely partisan BS.

      Is that level of legal analysis a Regent or Ave Maria law degree talking, or is it something you remember your mother reciting from an off-brand homeschooling outline?

      1. The President has the full Constitutional authority to dismiss, or order dismissed, anyone in the Executive Branch, including Sessions, Rosenstein or Mueller. That is established law.

        Politically the consequences would be bad (re: Nixon/Saturday Night Massacre), but legally he is fully allowed.

        Go study and educate yourself.

        1. Not to mention the pardon power.

          1. So…
            your argument is that he could fire OR pardon Mr. Mueller?

            Deep.
            This requires more thought.

            1. Pardoning the defendant would stop the trial.

              1. Until one (or more) of the states picked it up. If Mr. Manafort was filing fraudulent federal tax returns, there’s a pretty strong chance he was filing fraudulent state tax returns, too. Trump can’t pardon defendants charged in state courts, and dual sovereignty doctrine would apply.

        2. The President has the full Constitutional authority to dismiss, or order dismissed, anyone in the Executive Branch, including Sessions, Rosenstein or Mueller. That is established law.

          You figure that observation supports your unqualified assertion concerning obstruction of justice?

        3. “The President has the full Constitutional authority to dismiss, or order dismissed, anyone in the Executive Branch, including Sessions, Rosenstein or Mueller. That is established law.”

          This is only true of political appointees, and not even quite all of them. You might want to examine Civil Service law.

  2. We’ll know if Trump ever does anything unlawful because David Bernstein will call him out. That hasn’t happened yet, so Trump must be OK.

  3. ” suggesting that even though (his) prosecutors think that Manafort is guilty, the capo doesn’t,”

    See , therein lies the problem. These prosecutors are certainly not *his*. They are the *independent* prosecutor’s, and they are clearly looking for evidence against the President.

    SO , yeah. Trump’s tweets are unprecedented. But so is the FBI’s and Justice Department’s behavior.

    PS: I seem to recall a first lady complaining about a vast right wing conspiracy( i.e witch hunt) when we had the last independent prosecutor.

    1. Unprecedented only that Trump is using Twitter.

      Remember when Obama gave public statements interfering with the Gates case, the Zimmerman case, the Brown case, the Bergdahl case, Citizen’s United, or King?

      It’s almost as if the President has opinions, and can make public statements expressing those opinions. Trump uses Twitter, Obama gave speeches. No significant difference…. except for TrumpLaw ™.

      1. Obama gave informed public statements. Trump gives uninformed public statements. It’s almost like the two are being held to completely different standards.

        Oh, wait – that’s exactly what’s happening.

        1. Those aren’t real Scotsmen, anyways.

        2. Shorter regexp:

          “Waaaaahhhh, but TRUMP!!! Reeeeeee!!!!”

        3. Kinda sad that you claim Obama gave informed public statements especially when he obviously wasn’t informed with the Gates case, nor the Zimmerman case, nor the Bergdahl case, on and on. Not to mention Obama constantly claiming he was informed by the press.

          1. “Not to mention Obama constantly claiming he was informed by the press.”

            What, exactly, is your complaint here? The press’s job is to inform. The President’s job is to make decisions, based on the best information available. So… you’re complaining that Obama confessed to doing his job?

            1. When Obama says he relies on the Media to inform him, he’s lying.

              1. Just because the CURRENT guy doesn’t read the papers…

      2. When someone compares statements made by a politician about a case (or possible case) versus a politician making statements where he or she is a possible suspect–or merely a possible witness–I wonder if that person is being intentionally obtuse or is really so blinded that s/he can’t see the huge difference. When Trump makes a big deal about some crime where the accused is an undocumented alien with brown skin; people note this, and comment about this. But no one head’s explodes, since Trump offering his opinion will have zero impact on that case.

        If you cannot see how we all should agree that: If you’re the subject of an investigation and you have Any ability to control that investigation, it’s best if you sit down and shut up.

        When Trump whined about his investigation after he scammed and stole from thousands of people (re Trump University), that did not bother me. Someone accused of bad behavior defending himself. But there, Trump had no ability to squelch the investigation.

        Do you REALLY not see the difference here? That would be astounding.

        1. “When someone compares statements made by a politician about a case (or possible case) versus a politician making statements where he or she is a possible suspect–or merely a possible witness–I wonder if that person is being intentionally obtuse or is really so blinded that s/he can’t see the huge difference. ”

          I suspect that in this case it’s option 3: that person is addressing an argument about what comments a President should make in ongoing cases, and the argument that that person is addressing has nothing to do with whether or not the President is a possible suspect or witness.

          Sure, Trump sucks, but nothing Post has commented on calls for a remedy other than electing someone else in 2020. The president criticizing his own prosecutors certainly isn’t impeachable or criminal.

      3. You seem to have an awfully comprehensive list of instances in which Obama commented on judicial proceedings for someone arguing that it’s actually not a big deal to do so. Why is that?

      4. Remember when Obama gave public statements interfering with the Gates case, the Zimmerman case, the Brown case, the Bergdahl case, Citizen’s United, or King?

        No. In fact, I don’t even remember most of those being cases. (Not sure what ‘King’ is.)

        1. “King” is the Obamacare subsidy case. Obama criticized the court for granting cert, while it was considering the case. Nothing wrong with that, IMO.

        2. ” The Police acted stupidly” , “If I had a son he would be like Trayvon”. Your dissimulation while the ‘Friends of the Democratic Party’ are attempting a soft coup against the duly elected President; is duly noted. The only Russian Collusion was by Hillary and James ‘Bag man’ Comey with Uranium One. $141 Million worth. Maybe you like Putin controlling the democrats but, I don’t.

          1. “Hey, quick! Look over there!”

      5. I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re referring to. Were these criminal cases? And did Obama make statements expressing his opinion while the cases were pending? If your answer is “No” to either of those questions, then that surely constitutes a “significant difference.” But perhaps the answer is “Yes,” and I’m just unaware of the statements you’re referring to.

      6. And holy crap you went hog wild when he did.

    2. PS: I seem to recall a first lady complaining about a vast right wing conspiracy( i.e witch hunt) when we had the last independent prosecutor.

      You’re confused. Starr was indeed an independent prosecutor. Mueller is not.

    3. “I seem to recall a first lady complaining about a vast right wing conspiracy( i.e witch hunt) when we had the last independent prosecutor.”

      I THOUGHT YOU SAID THIS WAS UNPRECEDENTED.

  4. There are now twelve Russian nationals who have been indicted for criminal conspiracy to interfere with federal elections by hacking and otherwise, as well as several other Russians and Russian companies who have been indicted for something having to do with Facebook pages. All are entitled to the presumption of innocence. They are the only Russians who have been specifically accused of the crimes. Yet President Trump is continuously interrogated about whether he believes these Russians are responsible for interfering with the election, and is castigated when he fails to voice total belief in the accuracy of the indictments. Meanwhile, the chorus from politicians Dem. and Rep., all major media outlets, and characters like John Brennan and James Clapper, still aver that these Russians “did it”. So is David Post’s reasoning that if Trump or other public figures say that the defendants under indictment are guilty, that’s OK…in fact, that’s what Trump is being urged to do. But neither he nor the rest of them can’t question their guilt, because that would be “grotesquely inappropriate”.

    1. Has Trump been “interrogated?” I thought he had not, since he’s been too afraid to submit to formal questioning. And he’s dodged even reporters’ questions on the subject. Can you give a link to any of these interrogations? . . . I think you have a scoop on your hands.

      1. Wait, are you serious? Since before the election, and up to and including Helsinki, Trump has been endlessly asked…interrogated…by innumerable press flacks as to whether he “believes” the “Russians” are behind the electronic hacking of the DNC, and has been viciously mocked and castigated…called, inter alia, “treasonous” and a “Russian agent” by sitting Senators, major editorial pages, and former top intelligence officials….for failing to articulate his full, unwavering, dead-certain “belief” that these Russians are guilty as sin. He was was pressed on the matter in Helsinki, AFTER the indictments had been handed down and publicized, when the accused Russians were in the criminal justice system (notionally), and when the presumption of innocence thereby attached to them. His failure to state that the accused were guilty drew comparisons to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor, among other wild accusations. What does D. Post think he should have said, in keeping with “legal and ethical norms”?

        1. Can’t tell if you’re lying or dumb, but nobody asked Trump whether any specific defendant was guilty of anything.

        2. His failure to state that the accused were guilty drew comparisons to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor, among other wild accusations. What does D. Post think he should have said, in keeping with “legal and ethical norms”?

          That’s an easy one. Nobody asked Trump about whether the individuals who were indicted were guilty. They asked him if he believed his intelligence agencies in their unanimous assessment that the Russians had interfered in Trump’s behalf. The intelligence agencies did not include, in their various reports, any declaration that anyone was or was not guilty of a crime – it would have been inappropriate for them to do so. So as to what I would think he should have said: if he had been asked “Are the indicted Russians guilty as charged?” he should have said: I will not comment on ongoing criminal proceedings. If he had been asked (as he was asked) “Do you believe your intelligence agencies that the Russians interfered in the election on your behalf” he should have said” Yes, I do.”

          1. I thought the accusation hanging over Donald Trump’s head was that the Trump Campaign knowingly and willfully colluded (conspired) with the Russians to throw the election and deny the Clinton Administration the third (and maybe fourth) term that was their political birthright. Collusion;
            collusion (n)
            1.A secret agreement for an illegal purpose; conspiracy.

            So far, the Russians have been proven of meddling, but the investigation has shown no “links and/or coordination between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government” THE ORIGINAL GOAL POST. I think Trump is well aware that if he says yes, the Russians meddled, it will be reported as him admitting, yes I and my campaign were linked and coordinated with the Russian government.

      2. Steeltown,
        Okay, fair enough. You were using “interrogate” in the casual sense, and I was using it in the legal sense. Your usage is also correct, and I was just misunderstanding what you were suggesting. (I would disagree with your position that Trump has been interrogated, since–to me–that would mean he was sat down and asked a series of tough questions, where he had to answer, and then had to answer all the follow-up questions. A few questions yelled at him at a press briefing, etc don’t rise to that level, IMO…but I can understand why others might agree with you and not with me.)

  5. My disdain for the line-crossing was so animated, I almost dropped my monocle. These modern Presidents are so unseemly! What will the Ambassador from Luxembourg think?!!

  6. What a bizarre post. Personally, I’d be happy if Presidents criticized prosecutors and the justice system more, not less. And in less potentially self-serving cases.

    And of course, if the President believes that “his” prosecutors are not faithfully executing the law in the Manafort case, he arguably has a duty to go beyond criticizing them, and order them to drop the charges.

    1. Check the byline. Post is to VC as Shikha is to H&R

      1. If you mean Post is not a bigot-appeasing right-winger, you are correct.

        1. Correct, just bigoted Leftist.

    2. And of course, if the President believes that “his” prosecutors are not faithfully executing the law in the Manafort case, he arguably has a duty to go beyond criticizing them, and order them to drop the charges.

      I’m sure the President believes that as truly as he believes that there were millions of illegals voting in the election, or he had the largest inauguration crowd in history, or those reports about him planning for fire Tillerson were fake news….

      On the other hand, if he knows the prosecutors are performing their duties faithfully, and they are investigating a real crime, then he’s obstructing justice.

      In which case he should be impeached, charged, put on trial, convicted, and thrown in prison.

      1. “On the other hand, if he knows the prosecutors are performing their duties faithfully, and they are investigating a real crime, then he’s obstructing justice.”

        By exercising his authority as president? Nope. Maybe if he bribes witnesses to lie or something.

        1. By exercising his authority as president? Nope. Maybe if he bribes witnesses to lie or something.

          Bribing a witness would be witness tampering and obstruction of justice. Offering pardons to witnesses with criminal liability might actually qualify as such.

          But he can also obstruct justice by abusing his authority as President to shut down the investigation.

          Having the authority to do something doesn’t mean you’re now allowed to use that authority to commit a crime.

          1. You’re trying to reason with half-educated, uninformed, diffusely intolerant, backward, gullible yahoos, aluchko. I admire the optimism but doubt the effectiveness.

          2. Are you talks about when President Obama effectively shut down the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email server for conducting official business as Secretary of State, including the transmission and storage of classified information? And apparently did so because he had used an alias to communicate with her through that private server?

            1. WTF are you talking about?

              1. Tinfoil-hattery du jour.

          3. The question, of course, is how to distinguish between abusing his authority as President to shut down a righteous investigation, and righteously using his authority as President to shut down an abusive investigation.

            Because both sorts of acts are possible.

            1. Clearly the best way to distinguish is to examine the partisan label attached.

              1. Actually, you could just ask Brett. He knows everything about the Mueller investigation.

                1. No, but I know enough to strongly suspect the investigation is on the abusive end of the spectrum.

                  1. It’s abusive because we already know they did it, so dragging it out is just like making a naughty kid sit outside the principal’s office?

          4. “Having the authority to do something doesn’t mean you’re now allowed to use that authority to commit a crime.”

            I’m not sure what that means. Generally if the president were to attempt to use his authority to commit a crime (say, order the army to rob a bank), such use would be ultra vires. I haven’t seen any such arguments here. If Trump attempts to fire Mueller (assuming he has the authority to do so directly) than Mueller is fired. If he doesn’t have the authority, than Mueller is not fired. But the claim that he has the authority, but it is a crime for him to use it, strikes me as untenable.

          5. But he can also obstruct justice by abusing his authority as President to shut down the investigation.

            So pardoning Marc Rich obstructed justice?

            1. What are you talking about?

              1. President Clinton certainly had the authority to pardon Marc Rich

                1. The New York Times editorial board thought it was a “shocking” abuse of presidential power.

                  1. That was the old NYT editorial board, nowadays they hire racists.

            2. “So pardoning Marc Rich obstructed justice?”

              No, that was just plain ordinary abuse of power.
              Like, say, pardoning Sheriff Joe.

          6. “But he can also obstruct justice by abusing his authority as President to shut down the investigation.”

            Yes, the “Let’s Prosecute Rick Perry Theory”.

            You have a case that says that a president exercising his constitutional authority can be criminally convicted of obstruction?

            [Impeachment I concede, its a political act by Congress.]

            1. “You have a case that says that a president exercising his constitutional authority can be criminally convicted of obstruction?”

              There’s only two cases of Presidents even impeached, and neither case ended in conviction.
              But after he wasn’t President any more, Clinton voluntarily surrendered his law license because they were going to take it, and he wasn’t planning to use it anyway. Nixon, also after he wasn’t President any more, got a pardon while they were still sorting out what to charge him with.

      2. IIUC you are also accusing Mueller and his team of obstructing justice as they gave Manafort’s partner Tony Podesta immunity for the same crimes as Manafort. You know Tony, the brother of John, HRC’s right hand man during her campaign. The one that helped with illegally laundering campaign funds with the DNC as well as law firms including one that paid for foreign nationals to interfere in our election.

        1. Setting aside that Tucker Carlson got the story wrong and Podesta wasn’t granted immunity, I applaud how you managed to work an irrelevant Hillary reference into your rant.

    3. ” Personally, I’d be happy if Presidents criticized prosecutors and the justice system more, not less.”

      As that is an employment matter, it should be done privately, not publicly. Like when the new kid leaves the fries in the fryer too long, and they come out burnt.

  7. Nixon said that Charles Manson, then on trial, “was guilty, directly or indirectly, of eight murders without reason.”

    Of course, unlike the shameless cretin now besmirching the Oval Office, he at least realized he had violated all ethical and legal norms by saying this, and immediately began walking back his comments.

    When Dick Nixon is making you look good as President, you are off-the-charts bad at being President.

    Google “Nixon Calls Manson Guilty, Later Withdraws Remark” site:nytimes.com (since i apparently can’t add a link to a comment here).

    1. Robert B. Semple, “Nixon Calls Manson Guilty, Later Withdraws Remark”, The New York Times, August 4, 1970, page 1

    2. Nixon should never have withdrawn his factually accurate comment.

  8. I mean, there’s an election in 2020. You could consider not voting for him.

    1. America tried that last time. Doesn’t seem to work.

      1. Progressives tried rigging the election last time. Doesn’t seem to work.
        FIFY

        1. Well, you did it wrong.

  9. What you should do is take a deep breath and count to 1,000 while holding it.

    1. Easy. 0000, 0001, 0010, 0011, 0100, 0101, 0110, 0111, 1000.

  10. “Put aside the vulgarity (“the lovely Lisa Page”). Put aside the eighth grade syntax and Capitalization (do we really have a president who does not know how to use capital letters?).”

    I’m shocked that there were people who thought that “FBI layer Lisa Page” was a typo.

    “But isn’t there a line? And hasn’t he crossed it? And what should we do about that?”

    For all the criticisms in this post, what we should do about it is vote against him in the next election.

    1. I expect Republicans to stick with Trump. At first, most of them held their noses and reluctantly appeased the bigotry, the backwardness, the boorishness, and the corruption. But they appear to be warming to the intolerance and ignorance, perhaps recognizing that Trump is the Republican-conservative electoral coalition’s last gasp after a century of losing the culture war. They can’t stand all of this damned progress, reason, science, education, and tolerance. Fortunately for America, our electorate improves — less rural, less white, less religious, less intolerant, less backward — every day.

      Carry on, clingers. So long as your betters permit, anyway.

      1. As long as Artie is one of our “betters”, we have no need for your permission.

        Carry on, bigot.

  11. I realized i had not answered part two of your quiz of the day:

    What should be done about Trump’s total incompetence in even the most basic tasks he is called upon to perform as President, his utter contempt for law and justice, his decades of personal financial corruption and current cashing-in on his elected office, and the fact that it is daily clearer he is deeply compromised by, and in the pocket of, a hostile foreign dictator?

    I would have thought that was rather obvious: vote for every Democrat on the ballot in November, and pray that, for the sake of our Union, that they promptly impeach this treasonous weasel.

    Then, never vote for another Republican again in your life, since that party has demonstrated it will put power over patriotism in support of Trumps’ treason.

    1. I apologize to all concerned for the mortifying repetition of “that”, and the misplaced apostrophe.

      Back when this was an independent blog ,you could edit posts and include links (just sayin’).

      1. You can’t edit, but you certainly can include links.

      2. You can [preview] what you have typed in the comments box, then go back to the comments box and edit, before hitting [submit].

        The html for links is

        < a href="big_long_link_string.html"> your description < /a>

        dropping the space after the < lesser symbol.

  12. “But isn’t there a line?”

    Of course there is. It’s the line of established political norms.

    “And hasn’t he crossed it?”

    Of course he has. But, to be fair, the left completely ignored the line established by political norms when it weaponized the national intelligence community in order to commence a completely fabricated investigation for partisan political purposes.

    “And what should we do about that?”

    Well, we could start by reestablishing the political norms by commencing a legitimate and unbiased criminal investigation into the abuse of the FISA process and misuse of the national security intelligence structure for corrupt political advantage by Barack Obama, James Clapper, John Brennan, James Comey, et al. Just a suggestion.

    1. You re getting into Bellmore territory here.

      1. Bellmore territory is still here on Earth, Terra Incognito for you, Bernard.

        1. I’d say for you and Brett.

          “weaponized the national intelligence community,”

          “completely fabricated investigation”

          “abuse of the FISA process and misuse of the national security intelligence structure”

          Paranoia run rampant.

    2. Well, we could start by reestablishing the political norms by commencing a legitimate and unbiased criminal investigation into the abuse of the FISA process and misuse of the national security intelligence structure for corrupt political advantage by Barack Obama, James Clapper, John Brennan, James Comey, et al. Just a suggestion.


      From a judicial appointee of George H.W. Bush
      :

      Regardless, the claim that Rosenstein or anyone else involved in the FISA application did something inappropriate is wrong. Having served for 13 years as a federal judge, I can say with confidence that any judge who reviewed the FISA applications would have granted them and that there is no basis to assert that anyone attempted to mislead the court.

      1. So the court is functioning properly when it is nothing more than a rubber stamp. Not all that surprising, particularly from a conservative.

        1. Actually, based on its prior record, the FISA court IS normally just a rubber stamp.

          I find it impressive, though, that they actually had to spread the FISA applications for the Trump campaign surveillance across four different judges. They clearly knew they were pushing the limits even a rubber stamp process would permit.

          1. “Actually, based on its prior record, the FISA court IS normally just a rubber stamp.”

            There’s a possibility that the reason the court approved nearly all the warrants requested from it is that the agencies submitting requests really did their homework and didn’t want to waste the court’s time with borderline cases.

            Since I don’t have access to see the applications, I can’t tell which it is.

    3. the left completely ignored the line established by political norms when it weaponized the national intelligence community

      By “the left,” you mean Mueller, Comey, Rosenstein, McCabe, Wray, and a handful of other Republicans, you poorly educated, uninformed loser?

    4. Of course he has. But, to be fair, the left

      And thus, by exclusively looking leftward, some are able to allow Trump to do anything and everything.

      the abuse of the FISA process and misuse of the national security intelligence structure

      Of course, a bit of tin foil never hurt such rationalizations.

      1. Trump isn’t unprecedented for no reason. He is a culmination and hopefully a turning point.

        1. Yes. A substantial number of American voters WANT a buffoon. What, exactly, are they culminating?

          1. White supremacy. So, reculminating.

    5. To be fair, I would replace with . While I disagree with Liberals quite often, they are not Progressives. The Progressives are using the same playbook they used in the early to mid 1900s when they segregated the federal government, instituted Jim Crow laws, interred Japanese, denied MLK and other POC their Constitutional Rights, etc.

      1. Yes, it was MLK and the rest of the progressives who denied the black folks their Constitutional rights.

        That sounds about right.

  13. “At least, I am not aware of any prior president commenting, in public, about a criminal trial then underway, let alone publicly praising the defendant and disparaging his own prosecutorial team. But perhaps I am overlooking something. So that’s today’s quiz: if you can come up with a prior historical example of such a thing, I’d be interested to hear about it.”

    Thomas Jefferson’s Message to Congress on the Burr Conspiracy (Burr is “the principal actor, whose guilt is placed beyond question”)

    1. That was my first thought, but technically the trial hadn’t started yet.

      1. Ah, Prof. Post did well to phrase the question so narrowly.

        1. Aren’t lawyers never supposed to ask a question that they don’t already know the answer?

  14. Trump was right. His base will defend him of even murder, so we should never believe a word they say. He was testing them. Could Trump call them human vermin,.totally devoid of morals or conscience, publicly, and STILL enjoy their adoration?.

    YES! The very core of his base.

    We can almost predict when and where they will appear, scurrying like cockroaches to defend the beloved blowhard who shares their voice

    The Authoritarian Right = The Authoritarian Left.
    Now competing for the shrinking number of zealots, fanatic and haters they hold, combined..

    That’s why God created libertarians. He grimly recalls this level of satanic evil years ago. But earth’s population is now too large to again flood the planet.

    Organizing libertarians is like herding cats, so He gave them a test. They’d have to first see the same rot, lies and raging hatred in their own tribe. And …. praise God … they DID! 91% of them refuse to be called libertarians, so they can more easily spread their values across the land. over 60% and growing, but still searching for a common voice and identity … because they draw BOTH left and right.

    As originally, God’s waiting to send His Savior. But for the shrinking number of haters and blowhards in both major tribes, their End of Times draws nigh.

    THIS time, there will be no flood. This time, humans will save themselves. And He is pleased.. The final battle is between two assholes, both bellowing loudly.

    The Donald and The Bernie.

    1. Your chart is interesting, not so much your comments.

      1. Thanks. But that’s what my chart means. Part of my conviction that both left and right must be rejected.. Libertarians are neither — or only the best part of each. The non-government parts. The pro-people parts.

        Conservatives want government out of your wallet but into the bedroom.
        Liberals want government out of your bedroom but into your wallet.
        Libertarians want government out of your entire life.

        For all of human existence, governments have been created for one of two purposes. To defend individual liberty. Or to impose one set of values on everyone, by force. We must choose of of those two first, then the details.

        1. Wikipedia says a libertarian of the same name died in 2010.

          1. I knew him well. At times I post to honor what all he achieved — and continue his journey — a small part of which I described. There are at least a dozen of us, following the same mission on different sites.

            He founded the Libertarian Party, after creating the Nolan Chart in the late 1960s. The Chart, shows how left and right alone are now obsolete as identifiers. Across that entire line, there are libertarian and authoritarian factions. So we need the standard horizontal line, plus a vertical scale for the degree of libertarian or authoritarian. Pro-liberty is anywhere above the horizontal. Authoritarian anywhere below.

            That “Nolan Chart” was later incorporated into “The Quiz,” taken by several million Americans, to see where they sit — how far right or left — how far above and below.
            https://www.theadvocates.org/quiz/

            From a different perspective, he described us as both fiscally conservative and socially liberal, and we’re now over 60% of Americans, who would describe themselves that way. Clearly, we have no home in either major party, nor do we fit a left/right (only) spectrum.

            Thanks for bringing it up.

    2. In the words of that great philosopher, Forrest Gump:
      Progressive is as Progressive does.

      The Progressives have infested every political party; controlling the Democratic Party, Republican Party establishment, and even elements of the Libertarian Party establishment.

      1. Yes. THEY walk among us. Watch the skies!

  15. In answer to your quiz:
    Part 1. On August 3, during the trial of Charles Manson on charges of multiple murder, President Nixon expressed the view that Manson was guilty of the charged crimes. He later withdrew the remark.
    I will not try for the extra credit, because it is impossible to come up with a plausible justification for the tweets.

  16. Uh Obama saying Hillary had no criminal intent with her email server?

    1. Was she on trial. I don’t recall.

      1. Must have been. That’s why she’s locked up.

  17. When Mr. Trump doesn’t get what he wants (whether or not he DESERVES to get what he wants), he whines like a 3-year-old. This is not a recent development. Presumably, whining like a 3-year-old is what a substantial number of American voters want their President to do, because it’s not like Mr. Dignified suddenly turned into Mr. Trump AFTER the election.

    1. I’d suggest he’s exactly his roots. Owners of family businesses are EXTREMES at either authoritarianism or liberation/delegation. I worked with at least a hundred of them over several decades. I helped the latter create performance-based pay plans, mostly on profits.

      Thar’s why Trump is so incompetent as a BUSINESSman. (He’s an investor and all his actual businesses failed) For his entire life, he’s simply fired anyone who did not either or obey or worship him. To hm, such absolute power is normal. Why he admires authoritarians like Putin.

      He ridicules Obama, and others, as pussies because they negotiate win-win deals.
      To him, win-lose is … manlier … which means oppression is his purpose. Let me know if he ever stops failing at every deal he’s attempted as President.

      1. “To him, win-lose is … manlie”

        But to him, lose-lose is… likelier.

        1. Bankrupting a casino is a rather special form of losing.

          1. Indeed. It takes genius to be that incompetent.

          2. I’m not sure why people consider a casino going bankrupt such a big deal. It happens regularly. Caesar’s, Hooters, and the Palms are among other prominent casino operations that have gone bankrupt in recent years.

            1. Given how things were going in the casino business at the time, it would have been impressive if Trump’s casino hadn’t gone bankrupt. It happened in the context of a real crash in the casino business.

            2. “But TRUMP!!1!”
              It’s their answer to everything.

              1. “‘But TRUMP!!1!’
                It’s their answer to everything.”

                Yet. It’s only in YOUR comment.

                A casino’s business plan is that people will travel to your business with money, leave the money behind, and go home and tell their friends what a great vacation they had. It is amazing that any of them are able to operate continuously, until you take Barnum’s principle into account.

                Barnum explains Trump fans, too..

                1. This is as dumb as the take that casinos should be impervious to bankruptcy. You pretend that people leave their money behind without getting anything in return instead of voluntarily exchanging it for entertainment.

                  1. Heck, no. The casinos all have shows to draw in the people who aren’t “entertained” by handing over their money. But they aren’t actually acting as casinos when they put on shows. You don’t gamble on whether the tiger will eat Siegfried or Roy. I mean, unless you did; I don’t spend a lot of time in casinos.
                    The business plan of a casino is 1. People come with money, and 2. People leave without money. 3. The house always wins.

                    1. Congratulations. You’ve managed to make it an even dumber take. I wasn’t sure it was possible, but you sure showed me. Well done.

                    2. So, if I make it one step dumber, you’ll be able to follow?

                      Casinos make money from people who can’t (or don’t) do math but who do have money. There’s a limited supply, and they’re in high demand from other types of businesses eager to separate the poor-at-math from their money.

                      If a casino runs short of people-who-can[t-or-don’t-do-math who have money, it can suffer cashflow problems, which can lead to bankruptcy. There might not be enough of the math-inhibited who have money, or other types of businesses may be getting to them before the casinos can, and either way, the casinos have no product to sell or borrow against.

                      A well-funded casino can survive a downturn. A poorly-run casino can’t.
                      Which kind did the Trump organization, have? Oh, the bankrupt kind.

                      ALL of the President’s businesses are built on the Barnum Principle. As long as there’s a ready supply of suckers, those businesses will be fine.

                    3. This is truly impressive. Each post is dumber than the last. Do you do it intentionally, do you just start with a little chime of dumb knowing that you will soon build it to a crescendo of idiocy, or does it just happen that way naturally?

    2. Projection is a serious issue James. I suggest professional assistance before you become delusional.

      1. I’ll give your diagnosis all the consideration it is due, Mr. Lame.

  18. I wish Trump would become the monster you liberals think he (and we) are. I wish he’d do things like order the military to fire on the DNC and to drop a nuke on San Francisco.

    1. Yeah, yeah. Remember when Obama wasn’t going to leave office at the end of his term? The King was going to just decree that he was still President?

      Wasn’t it funny when he put that Predator drone, just circiling around and around Rush Limbaugh’s house?

  19. We haven’t had a President before, at least not one in peacetime, who thought a republican form of government with separation of powers and individual rights a terrible idea that prevents Great Leaders from Getting Things Done.

    We also haven’t had one who conceives of criminal prosecutions as simply politics by other means, with the relevant story (what is quaintly called “evidence”) manufacturable to suit the need.

    It’s not in the least surprising such a Great Leader would chafe at the rediculous and absurd straightjackets the Framers imposed.

    1. “We haven’t had a President before, at least not one in peacetime, who thought a republican form of government with separation of powers and individual rights a terrible idea that prevents Great Leaders from Getting Things Done.”

      Does Woodrow Wilson count?

      “Wilson was enamored of the British parliamentary system of unified party government in which the legislative and executive were combined under a single leader.”

      1. Do you know how the British system works? There is separation, just differently.

        Ours is better, but I worked a few years under theirs (in Canada). Parliament elects the Prime Minister (in effect), so they have a common leader, but it’s dishonest to say they are combined.

        The Prime Minister is subservient to Parliament, as the leader of the majority party (or coalition). And Parliament can replace him or her (not easily but can). He cannot touch any of them

        In Canada, as a political junky, I watched their Parliament closely. In England, Theresa May is/was under severe pressure from her own party for Brexit.

        A permanent resident Canada, from the US, described it to me as a form of checks and balances. Parliament can call an election whenever, then elect a new leader if they keep their majority. But the PM is lobbying voters to elect personal supporters from their party, So, in that event, the people have more power than we do,

        1. Some of the features of the Canadian system you describe seem fairly modern.

          The British system which captured Wilson’s heart in the 19th century, had Great Leaders like Gladstone and Disraeli whose power was limited only by the electorate’s decision to take away their Parliamentary majorities (eg., Gladstone and the Irish Question).

          I wasn’t equating Wilson’s idealized version of the British system with actual Commonwealth systems over a century on.

    2. You’ve somehow missed the fact that Trump actually complies with the court orders he complains about? Which is a nice contrast from Obama, who’d just go ahead and violate them. (Remember his Gulf drilling moratorium?)

      For a Literally Hitler, Trump sure does a terrible job of dictatoring. Why, his foes aren’t even being subject to continual tax audits. There aren’t any mysterious leaks of embarrassing information on them in violation of privacy laws. The guy doesn’t even reach normal Presidential levels of Hitlerosity, let alone Literally Hitler levels.

      Criminal prosecutions aren’t “simply” politics by other means, but that is not to say we are obligated to pretend that they sometime are exactly that. The past several decades have seen a number of such prosecutions, commenced before an election, and abandoned/collapsed after the target had lost their election.

      Remember Laurence Walsh bringing an indictment a week before the Presidential election, mentioning the President as an unindicted co-conspirator, and the case being dismissed shortly after the election because the statute of limitations had long been exceeded? Are we supposed to believe Walsh didn’t have a calendar?

      1. Ted Stevens, again prosecuted before an election, loses, and then the case collapses? The prosecutors even illegally concealed exculpatory evidence. Likely, they knew he was innocent when they convicted him.

        I could give more examples, there’s no shortage. Sometimes prosecutions of politicians ARE exactly politically motivated witch hunts, and nothing more. We shouldn’t pretend this doesn’t happen.

        1. The old “it happened once, so it’s happening this time” evidence?

        2. The prosecution of Stevens was a traveshamockery, but “politically motivated”? Bush was president at the time. Seems more likely it was just motivated by ambitious prosecutors who wanted to collect prominent scalps for their trophy cases (I’m mixing metaphors).

      2. “For a Literally Hitler, Trump sure does a terrible job of dictatoring.”

        Yes, he’s bad at it. He hasn’t been really good at anything except self-promotion before, so this surprises you why?

        1. Dumbest post of the day. If Trump were as bad as you say he was, he’d just ignore the rulings, or he’d use the power of the federal government to damage his enemies. Instead, he just mouths off on Twitter, unlike your savior Barack Hussein Obama who was a corrupt leftist who had no qualms about lying and cheating.

          1. “unlike your savior Barack Hussein Obama “”

            Why must we choose between only Obama and Trump?
            On what basis do you presume that Obama is his “savior”
            Do you seriously believe only an Obama “worshipper” would oppose Trump?
            What if they’re both nightmares? Which they are.
            Left and right have been obsolete for 50 years as being our only choice. They are now a minority in America, both combined.

            You would restrict us even further. Two individuals is all you’d allow me to choose from.
            And this is RightWingPatriotism for you, apparently. Reagan would disagree, quite sharply, as would the far more military Goldwater.

            Trump is far worse than Pollock says. Add vicious, as in bullying. He’s restricted to tweets, not from any noble honor, but because our Constitution constrains him. Those very tweets show, almost daily, that he would most obviously use “the power of the federal government to …. more than merely “damage” his enemies … if the Constitution allowed him to.

            As a family business owner. he’s been an absolute ruler almost his entire life. You must submit to him on the job, and admire him personally, or he’d fire you, as he has done repeatedly here, or demand that someone else fire them All his habits and instincts were formed under absolute power. That’s all he knows, why he admires the dictators that he envies.

          2. “Dumbest post of the day. If Trump were as bad as you say he was, he’d just ignore the rulings, or he’d use the power of the federal government to damage his enemies. Instead, he just mouths off on Twitter,”

            That’s what I said. He’s bad at dictatoring. He can’t figure out how to do it, so all he does is whine when he doesn’t get what he wants.

            Thanks for backing me up.

            Obama actually put in the effort to learn how the government works before he took the top job. That’s what’s different between the two. He wasn’t very good at it, either, when HE started. Bush Sr. spent a lifetime in government service, so he knew how to run things, but he let them raise taxes, so he had to go. Clinton knew how to run things, too, but back then Republicans were still pretending to care about how married men acted with women who were not their wife, so they wasted a bunch of time on that.

    3. How soon they forget the actions of President Obama as well as his “pen and phone”.

      1. We remember the shit you squealed about then you elected Trump.

  20. “I’m sorry, Ms. Sanders; there are some things the President does not get to express his opinion about”

    It’s curious how much of the Left’s outrage is over things Trump “ought to” or “ought not to” be saying. In this regard, Trump is the complete opposite of his predecessor; while Obama talked a lot but did precious little (remind me, how did the Obama administration respond to Russia’s invasion and annexation of its neighbor’s territory?), Trump has taken a particularly hard line against Russia in everything but his rhetoric – that is to say, in every way that actually matters.

    In the meantime, the rest of us can sit back and watch David Post utterly collapse over the noises emanating from Trump’s vocal cords.

    1. >It’s curious how much of the Left’s outrage is over things Trump “ought to” or “ought not to” be saying.

      I think a lot of the “left’s” outrage is over his style, not his actual positions. Two examples I can think of are immigration and NATO.

      ?Obama deported more immigrants than Trump has in the same time, and they went to the same crappy living situations as they are going to now. Trump is bearing the brunt of this because he seems callous to the situation and the public’s view has shifted.

      ?Trump is absolutely correct that American’s subsidize Europe defenses without most of them chipping in an appropriate share of the cost. Instead of encouraging them to keep to the defense increases that Obama secured, he unjustly bitches at because those changes aren’t immediate. That makes us a bad actor in the international realm.

      >”Trump has taken a particularly hard line against Russia in everything but his rhetoric – that is to say, in every way that actually matters.”

      The “hard line” is driven by Trump’s political appointees, not the man himself. Whenever we punish Russia, Trump doesn’t announce it. This is different from how he acts with every other country in the world. Canada? He tweeted about that. Turkey? Shocked his own Secretary of State with that tweet.

      >”In the meantime, the rest of us can sit back and watch David Post utterly collapse over the noises emanating from Trump’s vocal cords.”

      You forgot his tweets.

      1. Trump is absolutely correct that American’s subsidize Europe defenses without most of them chipping in an appropriate share of the cost.

        The exact opposite, The math is simple.

        He wants them to spend — defending Europe — what we spend — world wide as a super power.

        It’s a myth that we subsidize their defenses. There is no NATO defense budget. The numbers they compare are percentage of GDP for all military.spending … where our “all”is (a) the entire world, as (b) a super power.

        1. I don’t see why this is relevant. Why should the rich countries in Europe not help us defend the whole world?

          1. Because they don’t want to?

          2. ” Why should the rich countries in Europe not help us defend the whole world?”

            Two reasons:
            1) We should not be.
            2) They are sovereign nations

            1. Except that if we didn’t, they would be forced to, lest things fall apart. They are mooching off us, and you know it.

              1. They are mooching off us by … defending their own territory.
                They are mooching off us, unless they support our worldwide military presence.

                Things would fall apart in Europe because they … defend Europe,

                If we compare our global presence with Europe’s … on anything — land area, population, GDP — their total military spending would be 1/3 to 1/7 of ours. The math is undeniable. Consider Africa, Asia, South America and Australia

                Why will Europe fall apart if they fail to defend all those other continents? Who will invade and conquer one or more other continents, on their way to invading and conquering Europe?

                1. >”Who will invade and conquer one or more other continents, on their way to invading and conquering Europe?”

                  The other world superpowers you are being nonchalant about: China and Russia. They have the ability to provide protection and modern resources (ex. electricity) to sh*thole countries in exchange for the host nations’ resources and use of military bases. This is exactly what the Soviets did with Cuba?find a politically isolated country with an excellent strategic location to take on the west away from the European homeland. The Soviets new that they couldn’t match NATO’s forces or its resources. They had to instigate fighting in the periphery to force the United States to spread it’s resources thin fighting locals while the rest of NATO concentrated on protecting Europe. Even then, Soviet archives indicate they thought taking on the remaining NATO members gave them a 3:2 advantage if nuclear weapons weren’t used by either side.

              2. “Except that if we didn’t, they would be forced to, lest things fall apart”

                Well, sure. Why, if it weren’t for the US propping up a unified Europe, countries would be dropping out left and right. Germany is the strongest economy in Europe, because they aren’t wasting a big pile of their money protecting Europe from Germany.

        2. >”The exact opposite, The math is simple. He wants them to spend — defending Europe — what we spend — world wide as a super power.”

          Obama?not Trump?is the one who started the 2% of GDP nonsense. Trump is the one going off the rails about it not happening fast enough. The point, however, is they could contribute more than they have.

          >”It’s a myth that we subsidize their defenses. There is no NATO defense budget.”

          Correct. I also used the plural pronoun “they” instead of the singular “it” when referencing money or troops levels. Each nation “pays” for, equips, and deploys its own military at it’s own discretion. (I put “pays” in quotations because we finance several foreign military budgets worldwide, including a few from NATO states.)

          >(b) a super power.

          Thank you for supporting my point. We do more because of who we are. The only time the alliance invoked Article V?the mandatory collective defense obligations?was in the aftermath of 9/11. At the height of Enduring Freedom, Portugal (randomly selected example) contributed less than 2% of it’s troops and they weren’t even allowed to leave the bases, doing support functions so other countries could get casualties. They sent in just enough to tell the allies “we participated” while being able to tell their citizens “we weren’t really there that much” to prevent domestic problems.

          1. >>>(b) a super power.

            Thank you for supporting my point.

            I oppose it with every fiber of my being.
            Thank you for trashing mine.
            .

            1. My pleasure.

      2. The public’s view has not shifted. Most Americans oppose the uncontrolled open borders the left desires.

        1. I wasn’t talking about borders, was I? Please pay attention.

        2. “Most Americans oppose the uncontrolled open borders the left desires.”

          What, exactly, do you mean by “the left” as used in this sentence?

          If you mean citizens/voters, then you’re contradicting yourself. If you mean the political representation, then you just don’t know what you’re talking about.

          (Fact: President Obama asked a Republican Congress for authority to hold more deportation hearings so that more people could be deported faster. The R’s in Congress didn’t even bother to consider the request.)

          (Fact: One way of making illegal immigration virtually disappear would be to allow pretty much anyone who can get here to stay. Say, aren’t YOU in favor of cutting back illegal immigration?)

          1. What, exactly, do you mean by “the left” as used in this sentence?

            Get real. And you were doing so well. “The left” are Satan’s minions
            And the sky is indeed falling. Wise up.
            /sarc

    2. Or (remind me, how did the Obama administration respond to Russia’s interference with our election in 2016)…

      1. You’re right. Obama was a tacit supporter of Putin’s interference to destroy his own (Obama’s) party.
        We know this because his midde name is Hussein.

      2. How did they respond? By placing economic sanctions, which Trump’s transition team assured the Russkies would be lifted as soon as the new guy took over.

        Then he went home, because he wasn’t President any more.

  21. The POTUS before this one pronounced his former SecState and presumed successor Not Guilty of any crime, even as she and her team were destroying evidence

    1. Why don’t you mention that guy’s greatest crime?

      Being black.

      1. Stop projecting Artie. We know that you hate black people, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who merely disagrees with Obama does.

        Carry on, racist.

        1. Are all liberals as racist as Artie?

  22. It’s not that bad. Sasha Volokh actually wrote a well received law review article on the topic:

    http://www2.law.ucla.edu/volokh/guilty.htm

  23. You can’t recall a President commenting on a criminal matter? Like obamas’s comments on Hillary emails (washingtonexaminer.com/news/fbi-doj-officials. -upset-obamas-comments- hillary-clinton-email-use-ig-finds) or Obama’s comments on the Trayvon incident (cnn.com/2013/07/15/opinion/thernstrom-trayvon- martin-obama/index.html). Apparently you have a highly selective memory. How about Obama’s comments on Cambridge police incident where he “didn’t know the facts, but felt free to chastise the “stupidly” acting police. Your selective outrage is so typical of an unhinged liberal. Note, links separated because they were too long.

    1. ME2R
      I have a feeling you didn’t actually read the OP.
      “…At least, I am not aware of any prior president commenting, in public, about a criminal trial then underway, let alone publicly praising the defendant and disparaging his own prosecutorial team….”

      Do you know what a strawman argument is? That is what you are doing. No one . . . NO ONE has said that no president before Trump had commented on a criminal matter. That would have been insane. But you did not like that actual comment and just made up your own premise, which you then blamed on the OP.

      If you are gonna lie, at least show us enough respect to lie about what someone said in a different earlier post. Then, it’s a bit of a challenge to find the original post, create a link to it, etc. . . it takes all the sport out of it when we merely have to scroll up on the same post to call BS on you.

      1. Do you know what a strawman argument is? That is what you are doing. No one . . . NO ONE has said that no president before Trump had commented on a criminal matter. That would have been insane. But you did not like that actual comment and just made up your own premise, which you then blamed on the OP.

        Maybe ME2R was referring to previous presidents who publically opposed or supported the prosecution of a particular defendant. This would not be a strawman, in that this is what Trump is accused of here, right?

  24. How about Obama’s comments on Cambridge police incident where he “didn’t know the facts, but felt free to chastise the “stupidly” acting police.

    Are you denying that falsely arresting a 60 year old person in his own home for a fake crime is acting stupidly? Obama chose a very kind word for the cop.

    But how about Obama’s comments? There was no ongoing case when Obama made those comments. (And the only facts he said didn’t know were what role race played in the incident.)

    1. Gates was arrested for trying to break into a house alongside his driver, having no key and providing no identification, after the neighbors called the police.

      The police were not acting “stupidly” there; Gates acted “stupidly” for being rude and aggressive to the police officer, rather than explaining the situation. Obama demonstrated the same knee-jerk racial prejudice in regards to Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.

      As for the ongoing case, you are technically correct; charges had been dropped the day before Obama spoke.

      1. Gates was arrested for trying to break into a house alongside his driver, having no key and providing no identification, after the neighbors called the police.

        That is false in ways both small and large.

        Gates was arrested for the essentially fake crime of disorderly conduct,? not “trying to break into a house.” A passerby did call the police, but she actually told them that it might have just been them having trouble with their key. Still, that call justified the police showing up. Which the cop did, and asked Gates for his ID. Gates in fact presented it, contrary to what you claimed. At that point, the cop knew he wasn’t guilty of anything. But instead of leaving, he arrested Gates because Gates pissed him off. (Not only is the charge bullshit in general, but even on paper Gates wasn’t guilty of it; his conduct didn’t meet the statutory requirements.)

        ?It’s part of a triumvirate with disturbing the peace and resisting arrest; when a person is charged only with one of those offenses and not a substantive crime, it’s code for contempt of cop.

        1. The charge he was arrested on, and the reason the police were called, are frequently not the same.
          The neighbor called and reported two men trying to break into a house. This is why the police came in the first place.

          Gates refused to present ID several times, instead yelling at the cop and threatening to have him fired. This is why I said he provided no ID – because HE REFUSED to. He later provided a university ID – one of the most easily faked and unofficial ‘ID’ documents that exist.
          Of course, you seem to be taking Gates’s public statements as the 100% accurate version, and completely ignoring the recording that show him yelling at the cop and threatening him. If you take the word of the arrested person, you’ll often find that any accusations are “false in ways both large and small”.

          The final charge is almost certainly a result of ‘contempt of cop’, but the original confrontation was not unjustified and there was no racial factor in it. Obama immediately turned it into a race issue, based on the fact that Gates was a friend, despite the case against Gates having been dropped only the day before and there being an ongoing investigation into the cop.

          1. What you say is either wrong or irrelevant.

            1) My comment acknowledged that the police came because of a report of a b&e, and that there was nothing wrong with that. In fact, nobody criticized the police for that. But that has nothing to do with your claim that he was arrested for trying to break into a house. He wasn’t. He was arrested for — as you acknowledge contempt of cop. And thus the cop “acted stupidly,” although I find that far too kind a description for what the cop did.

            2) I did not take Gates’ statement as the 100% accurate version. I don’t think there was a single thing I said that picked Gates’ version of a disputed fact. (You, on the other hand, appear to accept Crowley’s version that Gates “refused” to provide ID at first.)

            3) Your claim that a university ID is “one of the most easily faked and unofficial ‘ID’ documents that exist” is not only unsupported, but ludicrous in this context. I suppose that some 18-year old high school seniors might have fake university IDs to buy alcohol or get into college parties or something? but do you think a lot of 58 year old men carry around fake university IDs in case they get caught breaking into professors’ houses? And, in any case, Crowley was satisfied that Gates was not a burglar, so it’s all moot.

            4) Obama did NOT turn it into a race issue; while saying that Crowley acted stupidly, he said that he did NOT know of facts to show whether race played a role.

  25. >”But isn’t there a line? And hasn’t he crossed it? And what should we do about that?”

    The right question to ask is “how will his diehard supporters will respond?” Of the six possibilities (resignation, death, incapacitation, impeachment, voted out, or reaching the term limit), only one option seems peaceful.

    Trump is an idiot savant when it comes to branding. Throughout 2016, he successfully convinced people that the Clinton and the government were working together to rig the election against him. At the time, several supporters said a civil war was possible if Trump didn’t win. When the leaks started in 2017, he decried them as members of the former administration and the “deep state” that wasn’t working towards his policy goals. The problems compounded because of things that have the appearance of bias against him: the “Angry Democrats” on the special counsel’s team, the messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the comparative enthusiasm difference between the Clinton investigation and the 2016 election investigation, the use of unverified research suspected from a rival candidate being used by the FBI to obtain a FISA warrant, and the list goes on. All of that creates a powder keg primed to explode unless Trump reaches 2024 intact.

    Despite the damage he is causing in office, he may create more chaos out of office.

  26. As a Trump supporter, I am profoundly convinced that the Robert Mueller Special Counsel investigation rather uniquely combines all the nasty attributes of history’s most extreme investigators and shameless political witch hunters.

    Mueller is, in sum, even worse than J. Edgar Hoover, Joe McCarthy, Torquemada, Laventrii Beria, and the fictional Gibert of Les Miserables. Mueller’s team of 17 Democrats. is a screaming insult to the concept of how a fair and impartial investigation of anything at such a high and sensitive level should be instituted. The premise justifying the Russia probe was a Clinton campaign-paid-for gimmick given legs by a small cadre of high level bureaucrats within the FBI, DOJ, and CIA who had earned their bones during the Obama administration by actually aiding and abetting successful and massive Russian lobbying and meddling during the Uranium One and Iran Nuclear Deal issues.

    Backed by the hair-on-fire Trump Derangement Syndrome totally Democrat Media Monopoly in America, these arrogant insiders thought they could excuse anything by Obama or Hillary, or spin anything by Trump or Republican associates into a crime against America.

    To be ungrammatical and crude: No. We stop you. We stop you with truth, we stop you with fists, we stop you in the streets with popular power and rage you never seen before. We stop you. Big Time

    1. Does anyone still doubt that Trump rode to office as a large part of the country flipping the middle finger at politics in general? You ought to be able to understand that even if it isn’t rational.

      1. Trump rode to office on a mere 39,000 voters, in three states combined. The Electoral vote.

    2. Poe’s law strikes again!

    3. “To be ungrammatical and crude: No. We stop you. We stop you with truth”

      “Truth” is a code word here meaning “something we very much desire to be true, even though it isn’t”.

    4. If you are comparing Trump to Javert?not Gibert?then you have missed the point of Les Miserables. He was doggedly determined to captured a wanted felon.

      1. Correction: comparing Mueller to Javert (or for that matter, Trump to Valjean).

        1. How about Trump to Th?nardier?

          1. A mix between them and Ebenezer Scrooge.

  27. Quiz entry: At Anne Royall’s trial for being a common scold (1829 D.D.C. or its predecessor, Judge Cranch presiding), one of the President Jackson’s ‘s cabinet officers testified in favor of the defense. I’ve read that he tried to offer the opinion that the President was of the opinion that the prosecution was unjustified, but that proffered testimony evidence was rejected as inadmissible. I’ve also read that the prosecutor, knowing that Jackson was against the prosecution, hurriedly scheduled the trial when it learned that Jackson was bedridden with an illness. The defense attorneys, IIRC, were close allies of Jackson.

    When the defendant was convicted and fined (Judge Cranch having written, to the disappointment of some locals, that the traditional common-law punishment of ducking was no longer appropriate), members of the President’s cabinet passed the hat to pay the fine, but they were beaten to the punch by the mainstream media, a local anti-Jackson newspaper, which paid the fine for Royall first.

    There was no love lost between Jackson and the U.S. Attorney, a close friend of whom had been killed by Jackson in a duel. However, none of Jackson’s tweets on the subject have survived.

    1. How quickly we forget what ought be remembered. Also humor is good for perspective. Thanks for posting.

  28. A big part of the problem here is Post’s premise is wrong. Trump is not commenting as to Manafort’s guilt or innocence.

    Trump is not defending Manafort — he is defending himself.

    He is making 4 points:

    1) Manafort had been hired before by mainstream Republicans (i.e. there was nothing wrong with the initial decision to hire him.)

    2) He only worked for Trump for a short time. (I guess he was just a low-level campaign manager…)

    3) Somebody should have told Trump that Manafort was under investigation.

    4) The charges against Manafort have nothing to do with his work for Trump or Collusion with the Russkies. (That seems true)

    So he is not saying Manafort is innocent, he is saying that Manafort has nothing to do with him.

    1. “3) Somebody should have told Trump that Manafort was under investigation.”

      Just, no.
      Rather, Trump should have done enough background checking to know he should have been under investigation, before hiring him to an important post.

      “4) The charges against Manafort have nothing to do with his work for Trump or Collusion with the Russkies.”
      This is true depending on what you mean by “the charges”. This trial involves only some of the charges against Mr. Manafort, and some of the charges (which will be examined in a separate trial) do involve work for Trump and collusion with the Russkies.

      1. I am just translating Trump-ese into normal English. The stuff in parens is my gloss

        You can definitely disagree with the substance of what he tweeted, but Post was simply misinterpreting it.

  29. “I am not aware of any prior president commenting, in public, about a criminal trial then underway, let alone publicly praising the defendant and disparaging his own prosecutorial team. ”

    First time for everything.

    Trump is the destroyer of norms. You should be used to it by now.

    Anyway, we do not have a “command influence” doctrine in civil law. Trump is free to say what he wants, you are free to criticize him.

  30. Uh, what? The only thing grotesque here is the Democrat Party totally embracing a ludicrous conspiracy theory on part with birtherism — not only that, but creating the conspiracy theory from its inception, by accusing Trump of doing the very thing that HRC’s political operatives were doing in the course of ginning up that very theory!

    And not only that — they utilized and abused the national security apparatus in the process, spying on political opponents (like Watergate) and leaking information for political purposes.

    Grotesque is putting it mildly.

    Anyway, as usual Post is blatantly incorrect in his derangement — for instance, nowhere does Trump say he doesn’t think Manafort is “guilty” contrary to Post. He simply pointed out the double standard, and that Manafort is being targeted as the result of the ludicrous political farce described above, and his brief stint with the Trump campaign which has nothing to do with the charges.

    This strikes me as an entirely justified and apt observation. Meanwhile, Manafort’s illicit activities were done in connection with the Podesta Group. Can someone tell me, is it really true that Muller gave the much bigger crook Tony Podesta immunity? Or was that fake news? I hope it’s fake news.

    1. Your interpretation of reality strays a touch from objectivity.

  31. When he says he doesn’t like losers who get themselves captured and tortured in Vietnam, then, loser-like, refuse to leave early on a release unless all the other men are, too.

    Oh, wait. That’s not when you realized he crossed the line in contempt for law. That was when you realized he crossed the line in shooting his mouth off without thinking, and posessed no internal editing ability.

    1. I don’t think it’s a lack of editing ability.
      Rather, I think it’s a lack of consistency. Mr. Trump’s critics expect him to take a position, stick to it, and defend it with facts, and Mr. Trump refuses to do any of those things.

  32. Thanks to quiz respondents – Buford Puser (Nixon/Manson), Eddy (Jefferson/Burr), and Brian Kennedy (Jackson-Royall). All very interesting (though I’d note that only Nixon’s falls squarely into the category of public presidential comments during an ongoing criminal trial).

    Several of you pointed to Obama – reader ME2R on Obamas’s comments on Hillary emails and the Trayvon Martin and Skip Gates incidents, reader Toranth on “the Zimmerman case [?], the Brown case {?], the Bergdahl case, Citizen’s United, or King [?].” Again, I don’t think any of those involved ongoing criminal trials.

    That distinction is a crucial one. Presidents are entitled to, and should, express their opinions on the issues of the day. But once a trial has begun, they have to shut up.

    And finally, as to the suggestion that I should stop focusing on what the president says and instead look at what he does, I disagree. What the president says matters, a lot. Among other things, his tweets – including the ones I’m focused on in the OP – are poisoning our politics. They induce hate, and fear, and anger – on BOTH the Right (the tweets help them to hate Mueller, and Rosenstein, and Hillary, and Comey, and illegal immigrants, etc.) and the Left (the tweets help them hate Trump). They are targeted at weakening institutions that we will need, going forward, if we are to remain a civilized country.

    1. As I mentioned in an earlier post, you are misreading the Manafort tweet. Trump is not commenting on Manafort’s guilt or innocence; he is defending himself and griping that he is being treated unfairly. Here is how it parses in more “conventional” English:

      1) Manafort had been hired before by mainstream Republicans, so there was nothing special or controversial about the initial decision to hire him.

      2) He only worked for Trump for a short time.

      3) Trump thinks somebody “in the government” should have told him [Trump] that Manafort was under investigation.

      4) The charges against Manafort have nothing to do with his work for Trump or any collusion between the Russkies and the Trump campaign.

      5) People are misinterpreting the indictment.

      1. You seem uninformed of Mansfort’s second trial, in September, which will deal with Russians issues and his connections to Trump. This current trial is likely an attempt to flip him. Seems he’s quite the spoiled rich guy. Would he flip if facing the rest of his life in jail?

        His “short time” was five months, three of which as campaign chairman..

        Manafort’s denial of any contact with the Russian government was exposed as a lie this week, by newly discovered documents.

        If you believe this trial has nothing to do with Trump,why would he expect to be notified, especially when Trump is a likely accomplice.

        1. I don’t know what you are talking about. The Sept trial, AFAIK, is about money laundering and failing to register as a foreign lobbyist for periods well before there was a Trump campaign,

          Seriously, I am only trying to parse Trump’s words into intelligible English. Post couldn’t do so.

          I was not offering editorial comment on the veracity or convincing-ness of Trump’s words..

          But a fair reading of his “tweet” makes it pretty clear that he was not defending Manafort’s innocence — he was just proclaiming his own.

    2. “That distinction is a crucial one. Presidents are entitled to, and should, express their opinions on the issues of the day. But once a trial has begun, they have to shut up.”

      So he can express his opinion before the trial starts, but once the jury is impaneled, he has to shut up?

      The main problem with this rule is that, as far as I can tell, you just made it up. You can argue that he ought to shut up. But there is absolutely no case that he has to shut up.

      1. Also — I don’t see a big difference between Bill Clinton’s amanuenses going on every talk show in America to denounce the Starr investigation, and Trump’s doing it himself re Mueller via Twitter. At least Trump’s outbursts are limited to 140 characters. Lanny Davis and Sid Blumenthal would go on forever….

  33. The grotesque inappropriateness of these comments by our Chief Executive concerning an ongoing criminal trial should be obvious to all. It’s never happened before.* I cannot even imagine what the outcry, and the scandal, would have been had any prior president tried it. It violates some of the deepest and most fundamental principles of due process, and of separation of powers, principles that are held dear by everyone reading this post

    And this collective freakout over some tweets is one example of why Trump won. Trump said something you disagree with. It’s not the end of the world, and not the end of due process.

  34. Is David Post really this ignorant?
    Or is this just normal for a Progressive serf?

    Seriously, the Manafort indictment has nothing to do with the election, Russian collusion, obstruction of justice, etc. It is about his actions from 2004 and Ukraine, not to mention his partner Tony Podesta, the brother of John Podesta. We all remember John from his position with HRC and his ignorance with email.

    1. You’re confusing two separate trials. Manafort’s second trial, in September, deals with the election related activity.

      Do you know that Nixon’s Articles of Impeachment included obstruction — telling falsehoods to deceive the American people about his being investigated.

  35. Can a President say publically that he opposes or supports the prosecution of a particular defendant? Is every President who has done this as blamable as Trump is here?

    1. The ones up to now have had the good sense not to push that particular envelope much, if at all.

      First rule of whataboutism:
      The fact that someone else is doing or has done something wrong does not excuse wrongdoing. Once you remember this, most whataboutism is just noise.

      1. The fact that someone else is doing or has done something wrong does not excuse wrongdoing.

        True, but if a person condemns person A for a given act but not person B who committed the same act, it might be inferred that the act in question was not the principal reason for the condemnation. In fact, if the act is quite common among otherwise upright and decent presidents, this might draw into question whether the act is even wrong.

  36. ===Put aside the vulgarity (“the lovely Lisa Page”).===

    You don’t think she’s lovely?

    1. Does she have lovely lady lumps?

  37. The problem with dismissing public anger as whataboutism is that it ignores this fast track to getting the rule of law chucked out altogether (or at least suspended for a bloody revolutionary period.)

    For example, suppose members of both parties had extensive contact with certain foreign entities and were feeling their lobbying efforts. But then, when it comes time to investigate same, 17 lawyers leaning hard to one party affiliation should be hired to look ONLY at members of the other party and investigate them with the most strong arm, nasty techniques available.

    The immune party would have a Blind Eye turned to everything. If their names crop up (like Tony Podesta or any other person with Clinton connections) they will quickly be granted immunity.

    How could a SPECIAL COUNSEL investigation get off on such a skewed start? Well, we don’t know. because what we need to look at has been redacted or people have not been sufficiently pressured to testify.

    Perfect conditions to ignite a revolutionary, blow it all up and start over approach to the rule of law in my opinion.

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