Tweet Storm: Trump Attacks Position Of His Own Lawyers on Twitter On The Eve Of Supreme Court Decision

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedThis weekend I discussed how President Donald Trump’s own words had been the primary problem for lawyers seeking to advance his agenda.  Trump’s comment and tweets have routinely undermined defenses and alienated allies.  The column was prompted by Trump’s London tweets. While discussed for their triggering outrage across the political spectrum in Great Britain, one of the most controversial tweets also contained references to the immigration order as a “travel ban.”  It was a remarkably ill-considered tweet. However, on Monday morning, President Trump doubled down and actually attacked his own lawyers at the Justice Department and directly contradicted their position in court.  As I mentioned earlier, government counsel must feel like they have a daily Perry Mason moment with their client jumping up in court screaming incriminating things. The only logical conclusion that can be reached is that Trump really does not care if he wins the case.  The problem is that there is a large and talented team at the Justice Department that is still laboring under the assumption that the President does want to prevail before the Supreme Court.

Trump blamed his attorneys advancing  a “watered down” version of the controversial order. It is particularly weird since Trump signed the second version.  It makes him look like something of an empty suit if he did not agree with the second version.

Just as the national security staff says that Trump blindsided them with his NATO speech, this appears to be case where the legal team was caught utterly unprepared.

The worst aspect of the tweet is that it plays directly into the hands of those challenging his order.  During the recent litigation, the opposing counsel pointed out to the judges that the Trump campaign was still posting his pledge to impose a Muslim ban (a remarkably idiotic failure that was then embarrassingly taken down). That was less than a month ago.  In trying to get a fifth vote on the Court, it is added baggage that government counsel simply does not need.  Ironically, it makes more difficult the very thing that Trump was demanding: the reinstatement of his immigration order. It must be incredibly frustrating for his counsel who have insisted that his references to a “Muslim ban” during the campaign are immaterial to the executive order.  It does not alter the core of the legal arguments, which I have long stated favor Trump.  However, his reference to a ban (which the order is not) undermines the thrust of the arguments raised in courts across the country.

Now they have to wake up this morning to tweets that could have been written by their opposing counsel: “People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!” Trump wrote in the first of four tweets. “The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C. The Justice Dept. should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down Travel Ban before the Supreme Court – & seek much tougher version!”

 

What is particularly odd is that the President waited for just before the Supreme Court would decide on the difficult question of an emergency order to unleash on his lawyers and deny that the order (and arguments) reflect his true thinking.  We have never seen anything like this in an Administration where the president is routinely undermining his own lawyers and Administration through public remarks.  There remains the question of what the White House Counsel is doing in this increasingly bizarre situation.  It is the role of White House Counsel to help maintain the litigation posture for the White House and discipline in public statements. There is no evidence of any discipline whatsoever as the Trump Administration, again, appears the primary witness against itself.

136 thoughts on “Tweet Storm: Trump Attacks Position Of His Own Lawyers on Twitter On The Eve Of Supreme Court Decision

  1. Appropriate song:

    The eastern world it is explodin’, violence flarin’, bullets loadin’

    You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’

    You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’?

    And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’

    But you tell me over and over and over again my friend

    Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction

    Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?

    Can’t you feel the fears that I’m feeling today?

    If the button is pushed, there’s no running away

    There’ll be none to save with the world in a grave

    Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy

    And you tell me over and over and over again, my friend

    Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction

    Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’

    I’m sittin’ here just contemplatin’

    I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation

    Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation

    And marches alone can’t bring integration

    When human respect is disintegratin’

    This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’

    And you tell me over and over and over again my friend

    Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction

    Think of all the hate there is in Red China

    Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama

    Ah, you may leave here for four days in space

    But when you return it’s the same old place

    The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace

    You can bury your dead but don’t leave a trace

    Hate your next door neighbor but don’t forget to say grace

    And tell me over and over and over and over again my friend

    You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction

    No, no

    You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction

    Barry McGuire – Eve of Destruction

    • The “destruction” threat comes from foreign countries. Trump has attempted to address that threat with travel restrictions on suspect countries identified by the Obama administration. When one of these “believers” sets off a “suitcase nuke” in America, the guilty party will be unknown, generating the only possible response, Mutual Assured Destruction. America will have to decide instantly to respond to no adversaries or respond to all adversaries.

      It might be a good idea to do everything we can to preclude that initial nuclear event because the result will be global annihilation.

      It might be a good idea to enhance and implement travel restrictions on potential terrorists because

      “…we’re on the eve of destruction.”

  2. Pres. Trump’s ability to articulate his policies is hampered by the fact that he doesn’t have any and because nuance is impossible without a working vocabulary exceeding 250 words.

    • Mike Appleton – doesn’t he have a degree from Wharton or something. He would need more than 250 words to take the GRE

        • Jay S – I would love to see the high-ranked grad school that can be bought. Do you have others? Cause Chelsea got two MAs, and I am suspicious.

          • Trump actually did his first two years at Fordham, and transferred to Wharton in his junior year. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and did not attend graduate school.

          • Chelsea graduated from Stanford with highest honors. High honors at Stanford will get you into any program you want.

            • anon – after listening to Chelsea, it appears she graduated from a third-ranked school. I think the liberal fix was in for her. The skids were greased. Frankly, she does not appear bright enough to graduate from Stanford with any honors.

      • If you listen to clips of him from 20 or 30 years ago, you can hear that he had a large and appropriate vocabulary. Comparing that to the way he speaks now makes it clear that there’s been cognitive decline.

    • Mike A.,

      “nuance is impossible without a working vocabulary exceeding 250 words.”

      I suspect he is not speaking to the well-educated (who largely did not vote for him). The vocabulary (or lack thereof) is directed at a particular audience.

      Underestimate him at your peril. He is one to be wary of.

      “Trump’s margin among whites without a college degree is the largest among any candidate in exit polls since 1980.”

      http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/09/behind-trumps-victory-divisions-by-race-gender-education/

      This is an interesting take on Trump, linguistics, and persuasion:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2016/03/21/donald-trump-will-win-in-a-landslide-the-mind-behind-dilbert-explains-why/?utm_term=.2358e03d2724

      • “Trump’s margin among whites without a college degree is the largest among any candidate in exit polls since 1980.”

        Do you find the college degree material?

        Did Harry Truman of historic atomic bomb fame, “Crazy Abe” Lincoln of nullify and void the Constitution fame and George Washington, the Father of the country, have college degrees?

        Many multiple, huuugely successful people don’t have and may not be capable of earning a college degree.

        I find that reference a bit odd in a country defined by freedom.

        • Did you read the post I was responding to? A poster was commenting on Trump’s inability to articulate (and probably think about) nuance due to his apparent limited vocabulary.

          College degrees imply a broader vocabulary. Many people think Trump is unintelligent because of his “limited” vocabulary. His vocabulary is not limited and he is intelligent enough to be plain-spoken to those whose vocabulary is not expansive.

          I have family members who do not have college degrees who are more sensible and are better thinkers than many professors.

          Of course people can be successful without college degrees. That was not the point of my comment.

    • Why don’t you challenge President Trump to a duel.

      You bring your IQ.

      Trump brings his net worth.

      I’d buy tickets.

  3. People around trump spend their time trying to figure out how to deal with his randomness. It must be an incredibly frustrating. A lot of carefully planned and executed work, and then he destroys it with a tweet. We are in trouble.

  4. My impression is that Donald Trump bought the ticket to the Presidency but he never expected to get to the destination. Now he is doing his best to move out as soon as possible of the destination. Too much work to do, he enjoyed much more his prior life.

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