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President Trump's Bad Week
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In an ideal world, the president of the United States would succeed in negotiating a nuclear arms treaty with a foreign government — and do so with full congressional support; his lawyer would respect the attorney-client privilege and not reveal confidences publicly; Congress would abide the old adage that politics ends where the water’s edge begins and lie low when the president is overseas on a delicate mission; the president would not engage in a grievous constitutional overreach that provokes a congressional negation; no one in his administration would have a top-secret security clearance who failed to be truthful to the law enforcement and intelligence folks investigating him; and the president would not fear RICO.

But we do not live in an ideal world — and all of these issues and events came to our consciousness last week.

Here is the back story.

President Donald Trump traveled to Vietnam last week to engage in negotiations with Kim Jong Un, the dictator of North Korea. Normally, when the president of the United States meets with a foreign leader to consummate an agreement between the countries, the actual meeting is a formality and a public relations triumph.

That’s because normally, emissaries from the two countries have been meeting for months, hammering out the details of an agreement. It is in the private hammering-out that the real work of diplomacy is done, not in the public handshaking and backslapping.

But Trump’s foreign policy approach is anything but normal. Trump knew when he left Washington for Hanoi that there was no agreement between the countries, and he also knew that no agreement was likely. But he believed that the force of his towering personality could produce a meeting of the minds. Most of North Korea is economically desperate and physically starving and wants U.S. economic sanctions lifted. The U.S. is justly fearful of nuclear weapons in the hands of a madman that might be able to reach Los Angeles and wants the weapons gone.

It could be that neither side was willing to budge, or the war-thirsty John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser — whose views on the use of military force for diplomatic purposes Trump ran against in 2016 — may have prevailed upon his boss.

While the world watched the pseudo-negotiations in Hanoi, House Democrats were conducting a public hearing, over the objections of their Republicans colleagues, about Trump’s alleged unlawful behavior before and while he was president. The sole witness at the hearings was Michael Cohen, a convicted perjurer and Trump’s former lawyer. Cohen claimed personal knowledge of Trump’s alleged — and denied — criminal and fraudulent behavior.

Can a lawyer testify against his own client? What has become of the attorney-client privilege? These are sound questions that were not asked last week because of something called the crime-fraud exception.


Normally, all communications between a client and his lawyer are privileged from revelation. The exception comes when the lawyer can demonstrate that he and the client were together engaged in criminal or fraudulent acts. Cohen alleged as much, made out a basic case supported by documents, gave the Democrats a fertile field of alleged Trump misdeeds to harvest and was permitted to reveal under oath and on national television countless sordid communications he had with Trump, including in the White House.

Trump claimed that Cohen’s explosive allegations actually interfered with his negotiations in Hanoi and were the proximate cause of their failure.

While this was happening, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate were joining their House colleagues in opposition to the president’s expenditure of funds that Congress had expressly declined to authorize. The likely rebuke would come by way of a legal mechanism to negate the president’s emergency declaration, which he claims permits him to spend unused but unauthorized funds on his promised border wall. He would no doubt veto this negation.

While all this was going on, The New York Times revealed that the FBI and the CIA declined to authorize a top-secret security clearance for the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, because they claimed he was less than candid with them and that the president overruled them.

It was lawful for the president to do this, but it was extremely dangerous and profoundly unwise. It undermined the intelligence and law enforcement communities, demeaned those who obtained such clearances by hard work and merit, and has exposed the nation’s most carefully guarded secrets to a person who American intelligence believes is naive and susceptible to foreign inducements to reveal what he knows.

Hidden in the Cohen testimony was an oblique reference to alleged bank and tax fraud that Cohen claimed he helped Trump commit, contributed to Trump’s wealth and has the present interest of federal prosecutors in Manhattan. Many of these events took place more than five years ago and thus are not subject to federal prosecution, so why would prosecutors be interested in them?

Here is where RICO comes in. RICO is the acronym for a Nixon-era federal statute, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, originally enacted to target the mob. It permits federal prosecutors to reach back 10 years to find any two criminal acts, which need not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt; prosecutors need only demonstrate that they were more likely than not to have occurred. Then the feds can seize three times the wealth that the perpetrators of these schemes amassed. That could bankrupt Trump.

The president has serious and powerful tormentors whom he cannot overcome by mockery alone. He needs to do more than demean them with acerbic tweets, because many of those tormentors can legally cause him real harm. He needs to address these issues soberly, directly and maturely. Can President Trump survive all this? Yes — but not if he has another week like the last one.

Copyright 2019 Andrew P. Napolitano.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, North Korea, Robert Mueller 
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  1. We are so fucked.

    For the past 2000 years the Chinese has increasingly appointed its smartest (IQ 140+), most honest, most effective citizens to run the country. It hasn’t always worked perfectly but the Chinese are a patient people and they’ve been getting the kinks out and achieving a remarkable result.

    What was the poorest nation on earth when I was born will, by 2021, give every Chinese a home, a job, plenty of food, education, safe streets, health and old age care. 

    On that day there will be more drug addicts, suicides and executions, more homeless, poor, hungry and imprisoned people in America than in China and 500,000,000 urban Chinese will have more net worth and disposable income than the average American, their mothers and babies will be less likely to die in childbirth, their children will graduate from high school three years ahead of ours and outlive them.

    Rubbing salt in the wound, President Xi has promised that, by 2035, wealth and incomes will be beat Finland’s, currently the most equitable on earth.

  2. @Godfree Roberts

    Okay this is news to me as I was not aware of the fact that they were testing IQ 2000 years ago.

    And if your tragic scenario come to pass you can thank the lunatic Democrats, and their beloved cultural marxism, for it’s manifestation.

    Authenticjazzman “Mensa” qualified since 1973, airborne trained US army vet, and pro jazz musician.

    PS : The Chinese are not “supermen”, rather humans with the identical flaws inherent in all humans, and they fell for the marxist bullshit themselves, as readily as the Russians, Germans, etc.

  3. @Authenticjazzman

    I don’t see “supermen” anywhere in his comment.
    The difference with the “marxist bullshit” where it comes to the Chinese, is that there are many privately owned companies, some of which were privatized by the state. Something that didn’t happen in Russia. Only East Germany nationalized in the “marxist bullshit” manner to which you aver.
    “Germans, etc” nationalized very little. If it weren’t for the massive German patent theft at the end of WWII by the US, the US would still be in the wake, technologically speaking.
    By the way, Cuban babies have a lower mortality rate than US babies, thanks to “marxist bullshit”.

    Of course, it doesn’t take a MENSA level IQ to figure out that what is labeled as “socialism” in the US, isn’t socialism at all. No real socialist would promote mass immigration to create more unemployment, lower wages, and a decline in the living standard of the people of the nation.

    • Agree: Godfree Roberts
    • Replies: @Authenticjazzman
  4. @Curmudgeon

    I am not in the need of tutoring on the affairs of Germany : I lived there for forty years, and am more informed regarding german issues than you, in your wildest dreams.

    I am guessing that you are a german know-it-all, a so-called deutsche Besserwisser”, the people famous for their urge to teach everyone else the facts of life.

    “By the way Cuban babies have a lower mortality rate than US babies”

    Yeah sure they do : According to cuban propaganda.


  5. A123 says:

    “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” is a legal precedent that prevents illegally obtained material from being used in court.

    Those chasing Trump lied to a FISA court to obtain evidence. That evidence is inadmissible. Everything deriving from that evidence is inadmissible.

    Interfering with client lawyer confidentiality is illegal. All evidence from that illegal act is inadmissible. Everything that originated based on information from that search is also inadmissible.

    As those infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome reach further and further they spread the inadmissibility of those corrupt tactics to more and more ground. Functionally they are immunizing Trump, but their zealotry is so excessive they don’t know, don’t care, or don’t believe those rules apply to them.

    TRUMP’s popularity is going up with jobs. The opposition popularity is going down as they openly admit their extremism.



    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  6. @Authenticjazzman

    Okay this is news to me as I was not aware of the fact that they were testing IQ 2000 years ago.

    Would IQ tests be needed 2000 years ago for the point made to be true? No.

    I am not in the need of tutoring on the affairs of Germany : I lived there for forty years, and am more informed regarding german issues than you, in your wildest dreams.

    I am guessing that you are a german know-it-all, a so-called deutsche Besserwisser”, the people famous for their urge to teach everyone else the facts of life.

    I’m amused this

    Look at me with all my knowledge as I insult you.

    preceded this

    I’m guessing you’re a know it all, famous for their urge to teach everyone…

    Mensa indeed. Gute nacht, Herr Wichser.

  7. @A123

    But do you really expect the many, many Obama judges on the federal bench to exclude evidence against trump on those grounds? They are a majority or near a majority of active judges on many federal courts, even with the Trump people confirmed in the past two years.

  8. buckwheat says:

    One thing you can say about the Dickhead Napolitano is he doesn’t disappoint. He gets dumber by the column, you can count on it. I turn the channel whenever he comes on Fox News.

  9. @Godfree Roberts

    What was the poorest nation on earth when I was born…

    So after 2000 of of smart, honest rule, China was “the poorest nation on earth”?

    Or are you 2100 years old?

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  10. @Reg Cæsar

    After 100 years of our invasion and occupation.

  11. @Authenticjazzman

    Why do certain “Mensa” midwits
    Whose paratroop skill never fits
    What they’re trying to say
    (Like his saxophone play)
    Play the genius who cannot spell “its”?

    • Replies: @Authenticjazzman
  12. @Eustace Tilley (not)

    “Play the genius who cannot spell its”

    Apparently you are unaware of the fact that all grammar rules, all syntactical concepts, all linguistic theories are nothing but ARBITRARY viewpoints voiced by so-called experts, and I myself, am not obligated to comply with said “experts” if I so choose. There are no natural laws governing the rules of grammar.

    Perhaps you, as the low-IQ person you are, perhaps you choose to bow down to experts and authorities in true german fashion, myself I do not worship any authority figures, period.

    Regarding my musical skills : My last gig was yesterday evening, and quite well recieved, on Charlie Parker’s date of passing, and we gave a heart-felt salute to “Bird”,by playing several of his tunes : Yardbird Suite, Billies Bounce, etc.


    Oh yeah did you go through Benning yourself, if not you have nothing to say, period.

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