Trump Dusts Off the Nixon Playbook: If the President Does it, it’s Legal
His first tendency is not to deny that he incited violence at a rally during the campaign but as the President he can’t stand for civil suits.
“Donald Trump’s lawyers in a Friday afternoon federal court filing argued that he cannot be sued for inciting his supporters to hurt protesters because, as the president, he is immune from civil lawsuits.”
“The immunity claim is a new one in this case, but it follows other efforts by Trump’s lawyers to invoke the argument against separate civil cases stemming from allegations against Trump dating from before he was sworn in as president.”
“Mr. Trump is immune from suit because he is President of the United States,” the lawyers wrote in the filing, which requests a jury trial.
It recalls Nixon ‘If the President does it, it’s legal.’ Nixon saw just about anything the POTUS does as legal-maybe even murder.
But the claim that the President can’t stand for civil suits seems willfully ignorant of the name Paula Jones. Which is ironic as Trump had her out with him at the debate after the breaking of the Hollywood Access video.
But this is his first tendency-not to deny that he incited violence but to claim that as President he can incite violence if he wants to-even if this was before he was President.
This argument is kind of the corollary to the argument Trump used with the Muslim ban. There they just said no court could review the Muslim ban as the President could do whatever he wanted on this question of immigration if he says the reason if national security.
That didn’t work then either.
“The lawsuit was brought by three protesters who allege they were roughed up and ejected by Trump supporters from a March 2016 campaign rally in Louisville, Kentucky, after Trump barked from the stage “get ’em out of here!”
“The lawsuit seeks damages from two Trump supporters who confronted the protesters, as well as Trump’s presidential campaign and the president himself, since the protesters argue the Trump supporters were acting at his direction.”
So the supporters-and not Trump-were sued. Now the supporters are arguing that Trump should pay it not them.
In Friday’s filing, the president’s lawyers contend that Trump was not ordering his supporters to rough up the protesters — or to do anything. “The Trump Defendants deny that Mr. Trump directed his statement to the crowd,” the lawyers wrote.
So Trump is throwing his supporters under the bus. Presumably he’s lost their votes. And let’s face it, he can afford to pay this much more easily than they can-he’s doubled the cost of Margo Lago since becoming President.
“But their claim was undermined by a separate Friday filing from one of the Trump supporters, Alvin Bamberger, a member of the Korean War Veterans Association who was captured on video pushing the lead plaintiff, a young African-American woman named Kashiya Nwanguma.”
“While Bamberger’s lawyers in their filing said their client “admits only that he touched a woman,” he “denies that he assaulted that woman.”
“But, Bamberger’s lawyers stressed that “to the extent that Bamberger acted, he did so in response to — and inspired by — Trump and/or the Trump Campaign’s urging to remove the protesters.”
They added that Bamberger “had no prior intention to act as he did” and “would not have acted as he did without Trump and/or the Trump Campaign’s specific urging and inspiration.”
“As such, Bamberger’s lawyers argue, if there is a monetary judgment against Bamberger, Trump or his campaign should be forced to bear the cost of it.”
“Bamberger’s argument seems to buttress the protesters’ claim that Trump was whipping up his supporters to act against the protesters.”
The argument that Trump can’t be sued is doing about as well as they argument his immigration policies are unreviewable:
“But the federal judge hearing the case in a ruling late last month rejected the Trump team’s argument that the candidate’s constitutional free speech rights protected him from the lawsuit and that he didn’t intend for his supporters to use force.”
“Trump’s “get ‘em out of here” comment, the judge ruled, was “stated in the imperative; it was an order, an instruction, a command.”
The judge also rejected requests to toss out the case because the protesters assumed the risk of injury by going to the rally to protest. “The doctrine of assumption of the risk was abolished in Kentucky decades ago,” he wrote.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
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