Trump’s Surprise Witness: Rep. Waters Becomes A Possible Witness Against Her Own Lawsuit

With rioting continuing in Brooklyn Center, Minn. and around the country, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, went to Minnesota and told the protesters that they “gotta stay on the street” and “get more confrontational.”  The statement is ironic since Waters is one of the House members currently suing former President Donald Trump and others for inciting violence on January 6th with his words on the Mall.  Waters insists that Trump telling his supporters to go to the Capitol to make their voice heard and “fight” for their votes was actual criminal incitement. Conversely, Waters was speaking after multiple nights of rioting and looting and telling protesters to stay on the streets and get even more confrontational. There was violence after the remarks, including a shooting incident where two National Guard members were injured. Waters has now guaranteed that she could be called as a witness by Trump in his own defense against her own lawsuit.

Waters’ most recent words could well be cited in the ongoing litigation over the January 6th riot on Capitol Hill. As I have previously discussed, the lawsuit by House members and the NAACP may prove a colossal mistake. It is one of a number of lawsuits, including a lawsuit filed by Rep. Eric. Swalwell, D-Cal, that could ultimately vindicate Trump shortly before the next election. While it is possible that members could find a trial judge to rule in their favor, these lawsuits should fail on appeal, if they get that far. Moreover, they would fail under a lower standard of proof than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard in criminal law. Such a result would eviscerate the claim that Trump was guilty of criminal incitement in his speech.

After the riot, various legal experts appeared on news channels to proclaim that this was a strong if not conclusive case for criminal incitement. Trump was clearly guilty of criminal incitement. CNN legal analyst Elie Honig declared “As a prosecutor I’d gladly show a jury Trump’s own inflammatory statements and argue they cross the line to criminality.” Richard Ashby Wilson, associate law school dean at the University of Connecticut, said “Trump crossed the Rubicon and incited a mob to attack the U.S. Capitol as Congress was in the process of tallying the Electoral College vote results. He should be criminally indicted for inciting insurrection against our democracy.” District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine then thrilled many by declaring that he was investigating Trump for a possible incitement charge.

As I have previously written, these statements ignored both the elements of that crime and controlling case law. Notably, while these and other experts insisted that the crime of incitement was obvious and public on Jan. 6th, there has been no charge brought against Trump despite over four months. Why?

The reason is that an actual criminal case would lead to a rejection of not just the charge but the basis for the second Trump impeachment. Trump’s Jan. 6 speech would not satisfy the test in Brandenburg v. Ohio, where the Supreme Court stressed that even “advocacy of the use of force or of law violation” is protected unless it is imminent. Trump did not call for the use of force but actually told people to protest “peacefully” and to “cheer on” their allies in Congress. After violence erupted, Trump later told his supporters to respect and obey the Capitol Police.

Now Waters, Swalwell, and others are rushing in where wiser Democrats fear to tread. These civil lawsuits actually raise claims like the infliction of emotional distress that were directly and unequivocally rejected by the Supreme Court. In 2011, the court ruled 8-1 in favor of Westboro Baptist Church, an infamous group of zealots who engaged in homophobic protests at the funerals of slain American troops. In rejecting a suit against the church on constitutional grounds, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote: “Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and — as it did here — inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker.”

Yet, Waters is not more deterred by the actual case law in this area than the legal experts on CNN and MSNBC. Indeed, Waters has gone further and insisted that Trump should not only be charged with criminal incitement but actual “premeditated murder.” She stated, “For the President of the United States to sit and watch the invasion and the insurrection and not say a word because he knew he had absolutely initiated it – and as some of them said, ‘he invited us to come.”

That bring us back to Brooklyn Center this weekend. Violence and looting have been unfolding around the country, including the near the area where Waters was speaking. Yet, she called on people to stay in the streets and get more “confrontational.”  She added that there would be no acceptance of court decisions to the contrary in the Chauvin case: “We’re looking for a guilty verdict. If we don’t, we cannot go away.”  Protesters have not only been camped around the courthouse but the home of a witness in the Chauvin case was targeted. (It turned out to be his former home). Critics could charge that Waters’ statement and these protests are meant to intimidate witnesses or influence the trial — just as critics charged that Trump was attempting to intimidate or influence Congress.

After Waters remarks, protesters confronted reporters in a tense scene. Also protesters descended upon the home of the prosecutor responsible for the second degree manslaughter charge against the officer who killed Daunte Wright. Also the Minnesota National Guard was fired upon, injuring at least two Guardsman.  That is not to say that Water incited such actions but that the same claimed nexus could be raised in making such an allegation as was done in the Trump impeachment.

In my view, those words are political speech and should not be subject to criminal sanctions. However, I felt the same way about Trump’s speech (which I condemned as he was giving it on Jan. 6th as reckless). I also rejected prior claims against Waters like when she encouraged protesters to confront Trump officials in restaurants and “push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” It is all protected speech.

Yet, that standard cannot be selectively applied to some but not all riots or protests. Waters was encouraging protesters to continue to fight for what they believe in. Her over-heated rhetoric could easily be seen by some as an invitation or endorsement for rioting.  However, criminalizing such speech would shred the guarantees of free speech in our country.

Carl Jung once said that “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves”. That certainly seems to be the case with Waters and Trump. It is also why Waters could prove the only witness that Trump needs to call to defeat her own lawsuit.

201 thoughts on “Trump’s Surprise Witness: Rep. Waters Becomes A Possible Witness Against Her Own Lawsuit”

  1. Meyer,

    It is a cheap shot to accuse me of hating Trump or anyone for that matter. You don’t know my heart. Like you, I stand on principle, and I resent people for what they *do* and *say* which contravenes basic principles of decency and integrity- not for who they are! Are we clear?

    Secondly, I don’t have to repeatedly hear an argument after I have already concluded that it is bs. I can discriminate between good arguments and bad without being accused of having a closed mind. I watch Fox News 3 hours each day in order to know of what I speak (as well as MSNBC). I fully inform myself of both sides. I agree that the devil is in the detail and could readily defend my opinions if you wanted to be specific.

    Thirdly, I am not advocating that the government should censor Fox. I am merely giving my opinion that it is a disreputable network. That’s not just my opinion. If Fox looses these lawsuits for defamation (or settles out of court for an undisclosed sum), then my opinion becomes a matter of fact at least as far as an impartial jury is concerned after considering all the evidence and hearing both sides of the argument. I believe in the judicial system. I reject the conspiracy theory of the “Deep State.” And I don’t believe in Natural Law because I am not a person of blind faith. I believe in the Enlightenment and scientific evidence.

    Turley so agitates me because of his hypocrisy. He constantly laments our “age of rage” as he calls. And yet, Fox gives a platform to a talk radio host named Mark Levin who is the epitome of rage. He openly states that he “despises” liberals. That they are mentally ill. All are Marxists. And worse, they hate this country and all Republicans as well. Liberals are destroying America. He doesn’t explicitly call for a hot civil war (he would be taken off the air were he to do so), but he has said everything that would need to be said in order to trigger one!

    Fox profits off such hatred. It is unconscionable for anyone to work for such a network much less an academic who decries the polarization of our country. To his everlasting discredit, Turley will not point his finger at such a hate-monger. He does not want to be held accountable for making common cause with Mark Levin by working for the same network and ignoring his rage while at the same time lamenting our age of rage.

    1. Jeff forgive me for the misuse of a word that was not meant as a cheap shot. The vehemence of your words combined with the words of others created that invalid impression. It is much sweeter when hate seen in so many others is removed from the discussion and that you stand on principles that so many others lack. Those two things go a long way to making discussion easier whether or not one agrees with the other.

      “Secondly, I don’t have to repeatedly hear an argument after I have already concluded that it is bs. I can discriminate between good arguments and bad without being accused of having a closed mind.”

      What you conclude is BS is your opinion, not factual or at least not debated with all the facts on the table. To make it factual one would think that validated facts would be necessary. Don’t you agree? That makes things simple. If one concludes BS they should be able to defend the claim with facts. Right?

      “I watch Fox News 3 hours each day in order to know of what I speak”

      That is more television than I sometimes watch in a week so you know FOX much better than I. I watch only portions, specific things that interest me. I almost always watch from a recording.

      If you wish I will record 3 specific hour-long programs that you will be watching on FOX. Then you can guide me through the problems you saw. That shouldn’t be much problem for you because you are doing what most do not do, pay attention to both sides of the argument. Perhaps if that is done you can inject the basic principle of yours that leads you to whatever conclusions you make in a particular situation.

      “I reject the conspiracy theory of the “Deep State.”

      It just so happens that 2 days ago I read an article from The New York Sun “Deep State Turns On President Biden Over Afghanistan” This writer is a good writer who I have differences with but he provides another dimension to what the networks provide. You might find it interesting and worthwhile to comment on. I don’t think he is a strong supporter of Trump if he even supported his election in the first place. He may even have been a never Trumper. I don’t remember. There are a lot of interesting thoughts in the article that are pertinent to several things you have thought about.

      “And I don’t believe in Natural Law because I am not a person of blind faith.”

      I don’t know if are talking about Natural Law or Jefferson’s unalienable Rights, ” Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Do these unalienable rights exist? How or who has provided them.

      “Fox profits off such hatred.” Fox profits off such opinion, some of which might engage in too much hyperbole, but we see equal or worse coming from the MSM. Some of that from the MSM is documented on video by Project Veritas.

      “Turley will not point his finger at such a hate-monger.”

      There are many people considered hate mongers. That is not Turley’s job or expertise. Should he point his finger at Louis Farrakhan, Sharpton, Jackson, Omar Tlaib, etc., or any of the people that lie on the MSM? Where would he stop?

      1. Meyer,

        I read that article. I don’t know this man. He seems relatively fair-minded though he does buy into the so-called “Deep State.” To me, that name has a sinister insinuation which is unfounded. Civil servants are long serving experts in their fields who are there to advise politicians new to their positions. We owe the smooth continuity of our government to the civil servants who work no less hard and love this country no less than some of the very Republican politicians who vilify them as a group. I don’t like smearing an entire class of people as disloyal or suspect. We should be grateful to our civil servants who get paid less than what they could probably earn in the private sector.

        “Do these unalienable rights exist? How or who has provided them.”

        If by unalienable you mean god-given, I say no. Rights are granted by the consent of the governed (or the majority of the Founding Fathers in the case of the Declaration). Such rights are unalienable as long as the the majority of the people want it that way. After all, no right is sacrosanct. The Congress could change the Bill of Rights if it passed a Constitutional Amendment and was duly ratified by the States.

        I would not trust anything Project Veritas offers. Sadly, will never see eye to eye on the MSM vs FOX in terms which is more unethical and unfair unless we had several hours face to face to discuss the matter. Even then, I’m not sure we could reach an agreement. It seems that peoples’ views are often unbridgeable due to their opposite socializing, different levels of education and incompatible personality traits.

        Turley need only point his finger at those individuals who work at the same company he works- Fox. It is not required that he do so, but if he does not, he is a hypocrite. And a hypocrite has no moral standing to point his finger at anyone until they practice what they preach by condemning their own for wrongs they see in others. If only I had the opportunity to ask Turley whether he agrees with his Fox colleague, Mark Levin, that “Democrats are trying to destroy this country.” And if he did not agree, why he remains silent by not condemning such a hate-filled statement?

  2. Meyer,

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

    Of course, I am not 100% positive Turley is being compensated, but if he is not paid as a “ Fox contributor,” he is an idiot.

    I’m not claiming that other network legal analysts are different from Turley. They all are hired to support the narrative of their hosts. That is their function- to lend legal credibility to the network’s narrative. The fact that Turley and Dershowitz are putatively liberal adds to their value to Fox News because they are supporting the conservative narrative despite their liberalness!

    I more often than not agree with Turley’s legal assessments. What I resent is his appearing on a network which constantly broadcasts Trump’s lies. A reputable academic should not legitimate Fox News. I have no doubt that Turley would not even consider having his good name being associated with the likes of Alex Jones of Infowars or the conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck. While Fox is not so extreme, its narratives are well over the line in terms of intellectual honesty.

    I would like to watch Turley’s reaction upon listening to the opening monologues of Hannity, Carlson, Ingraham and Pirro. He would blush to hear their outright lies, the red herrings and straw man arguments. He could not and would not defend those viewpoints as reasonable. But no one is able to ask him what he thinks about these false narratives. No one has yet confronted him in public, and I suspect he goes to great lengths to avoid being subjected to such questions because he would be embarrassed by his inability to defend those narratives. He hopes that no one will hold him to account publicly for his legitimating Fox because it would seriously damage his academic reputation.

    Which more than likely explains his otherwise inexplicable decision not to comment on the billion dollar Free Speech lawsuits against Fox. Understandably, Turley would not relish the idea of acknowledging the allegations made by Smartmatic and Dominion that his network was complicit in Trump’s Big Lie. From his point of view, the less said about this lawsuit, the better. He undoubtedly hopes it is settled out of court so that he never is forced to take a side on the matter.

    I wish some journalist will confront Turley one day with such questions to know absolutely what kind of integrity he has. I am very skeptical at this point for the reasons I have stated. I would be re-assured if Turley would make the same criticism of a Fox colleague that he regularly levels at MSNBC and CNN. Unless and until he does so, he is nothing more than a hack.

    1. Jeff, I think what you are talking about depends on a lot of different things. I get paid for what I do. I will also do what I do without pay because there is a lot more to life than money. I have faced many costly decisions but those losses made me better, though not necessarily richer financially. How much money does one need? Self-respect is something lacking in a lot of people

      Reputation and scholarship are important as well so I can see Turley on a news show simply for those reasons, but I have no objection to him being paid. What he shouldn’t do is change the meaning of his words to fit the show’s narrative. He is not starving so the extra money isn’t worth it. I think he is one of the few that will not sell his self-respect as some people erroneously believe. Maybe I feel this way because of my naïveté

      The key is not to take the money if you have to compromise your integrity. Too many do not follow that advice. If they are professionals, instead of actors, then such compromise is wrong.

      “The fact that Turley and Dershowitz are putatively liberal adds to their value to Fox News because they are supporting the conservative narrative despite their liberalness! ”

      You know me as very conservative (classical liberal/libertarian). Why do I listen to Turley and Dershowitz? It certainly isn’t because of their Liberal ideologies. It is because despite their ideologies they try to protect the law, the rule of law. That is of supreme importance to me based on my background. It taught me to understand what it is like not to have the rule of law.

      They believe in principles something almost unheard of on this blog. People need to learn to deal with principles because when they can, the problems being faced can more easily be solved.

      ” A reputable academic should not legitimate Fox News.”

      Do you abhor freedom of speech? Do you abhor different ideas being discussed? You should be more worried about those that try to silence speech.

      Is Fox News doing anything illegal?

      Hating Trump doesn’t mean you should take the opposite view of what he believes. Instead, you should put away your hate and deal with resolving problems. You seem to have a lot of anger against a lot of different people who are not well known to you.

      You express the idea that you hate them because you consider them conspiracy theorists. We all are conspiracy theorists to some extent. Some things we believe to be conspiracies aren’t and represent reality. You don’t know which they are until you have heard all sides. Shutting yourself away from everything you don’t believe in means you are left only with what you believe. You are not left with the truth because you only know part of the story.

      I think it would do us both good if you picked a couple of shows by the people you mention, tape them and then discuss them. I feel quite differently than you. They have something to say and you should listen to them. I didn’t say you should agree with them, only listen and try to think of what they are trying to do. If you look deep enough you will find that many things you are searching for are no different than what they are searching for.

      I am not commenting on large portions of your response because I think you are walking down the wrong path. I would rather, for now, discuss things that we might have more agreement on.

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