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Trump's Lawsuit Looks Like a Breitbart Column Translated Into Legalese

·4 min read
Photo credit: James Devaney - Getty Images
Photo credit: James Devaney - Getty Images

It appears that El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago has looked upon his time as president of the United States as another one of his branding exercises. He now sees the Department of Justice and Congress as a couple of landscaping firms he can stiff out of their money and money-whip in the courts. Late Monday, the former president* filed a lawsuit against the special committee looking into the January 6 insurrection, as well as the National Archives. Recently, the current president announced that he would waive executive privilege so that the Archives could hand over documents and recordings that were placed there after the previous administration* went on the lam. This set off alarms down in Florida, and the call went out across the land.

GET ME JESSE BINNALL!!!!!

Binnall was the go-to lawyer in an number of episodes of Camp Runamuck shenanigans. He—and Sidney Powell, with an assist from Bill Barr’s Department of Justice—fought for Michael Flynn until the president* pardoned him. He also led the team seeking to sanctify the Big Lie about voter fraud in Nevada, until a Nevada court punted him off toward the Wasatch. From the Reno Daily Gazette:

“Contestants’ claims fail on the merits ... or under any other standard,” the judge said.

The Nevada Supreme Court agreed, albeit in a less pithy fashion.

“To prevail on this appeal, appellants must demonstrate error of law, findings of fact not supported by substantial evidence or an abuse of discretion in the admission or rejection of evidence by the district court,” the six justices said. “We are not convinced they have done so.”

I suggest a) that Mr. Binnell get paid upfront, and b) that he not cash the check with anyone he knows.

Anyway, the lawsuit is absurd on its face, and seems to have been first written for a Breitbart comment section and then repurposed into legalese. Even the header is nonsense.

DONALD J. TRUMP, in his capacity as the 45th President of the United States, The Mar-A-Lago Club

1100 S. Ocean Blvd.

Palm Beach, FL 33480.

He has no “capacity as the 45th President of the United States” because there is now a 46th President of the United States. He has a “capacity” as an ex-president who lives at a golf club. We continue.

In a political ploy to accommodate his partisan allies, President Biden has refused to assert executive privilege over numerous clearly privileged documents requested by the Committee. The Committee’s request amounts to nothing less than a vexatious, illegal fishing expedition openly endorsed by Biden and designed to unconstitutionally investigate President Trump and his administration. Our laws do not permit such an impulsive, egregious action against a former President and his close advisors.

That kind of rhetoric’ll get you on Hannity, but it won’t get you any closer to a decision in your favor.

Ultimately, the Committee is attempting to damage the republic itself, and the citizens of the United States, for executive privilege “safeguards the public interest in candid, confidential deliberations within the Executive Branch; it is ‘fundamental to the operation of Government.’”

So the former president is arguing that the committee is attempting to damage the republic. Not that the request might damage the republic, but that Rep. Bennie Thompson and his committee are trying to do so. That’s a bit of a flyer. And that last bit is taken from the decision of U.S. v. Nixon, which is really not a precedent you want to cite if you’re defending a president* against charges that he committed crimes in office. From that decision:

We recognize the importance of the need to protect the confidentiality of the communication of a President with his aides and advisors and we recognize the risk that publication of those communications may well have an adverse effect on the ability of a President to secure candid advice and the proposing views on important questions. However, no case of this Court has extended this high degree of deference to a President’s generalized need of confidentiality.

I think it’s a bit of a stretch to say that the republic would be endangered by finding out all it can as to whether its president sought to overthrow its processes by inciting a mob. The Congress is not a workman you can sue into oblivion. You had your shot at wrecking it. Now it’s the government’s turn at wrecking you.

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