I wrote about Team Trump’s surreal and specious legal arguments two weeks ago. They’re at it again. This time in an appeal of the New York financial records case:
[Manhattan District Attorney General Counsel Carrey ] Dunne brought up Trump’s famous statement when he caught fire during the 2016 Republican primary, saying, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”“If he did pull out a handgun and shoot someone on Fifth Ave,” Dunne asked, “would the local police be restrained?”
“Would we have to wait for impeachment?” he added.
But when Consovoy retook the podium with his booming voice and somewhat bilious affect, fielding more questions from the court, he doubled down on his argument that congressional, federal, and state bodies are forbidden from investigating a sitting President.
Judge Chin raised Dunne’s point. He asked Consovoy for his “view on the Fifth Avenue example.”“Local authorities couldn’t investigate, they couldn’t do anything about it?” he asked.
“No,” replied a visibly annoyed Consovoy amid stifled chortles.
“Nothing could be done? That’s your position?” Chin repeated.
“That is correct, that is correct,” Consovoy responded, before qualifying it by saying that a president could be prosecuted after leaving office. He also conceded that documents could be gathered in the course of such an investigation.
Boiled down to its less bilious essence, lawyer Consomme’s argument is that the president* is above the law; that’s some weak-n-watery broth. That argument was called “repugnant” by the trial judge and had courtroom observers laughing yesterday. The only reason it’s funny is that Team Trump’s attempt to take Manhattan is doomed to fail. Before going into details, a brief musical interlude:
The only question is whether the court will rule narrowly and bounce it back to the trial court or write a detailed and scathing opinion. Trump’s lawyers will appeal in either event but the Supremes are unlikely to grant cert on a narrow opinion. But if the Second Circuit is feeling expansive, it would be an excellent test of whether the current court is conservative or radical: only a rabid wingnut could buy Trump’s “l’etat est moi” argument.
It’s a pity that lawyer Consomme didn’t attack the “phony emoluments clause” as part of his case. I’d be interested to see how the SCOTUS originalists would react to that. Silent Clarence might even speak during an oral arguments on that point.
In other Trumper legal madness, a lawyer for one of Giuliani’s goons, Lev Parnas, claimed executive privilege. Rudy’s bagman was part of Trump’s legal team? This ridiculous argument won’t fly: it’s yet another ploy to buy time.
The most interesting thing about the Giuliani goon case is whether they’ll roll over on Rudy. That, in turn, would force Rudy to contemplate throwing Trump to the wolves. It’s possible. Their relationship has always been transactional as pointed out in a must read piece by Michael Kruse at Politico Magazine.
Trump’s legal strategy, such as it is, is to kick the can down the road. It’s unlikely that his lawyers believe their own argument. The president* is NOT above the law and if he were, such extreme power could not be based on Justice Department memos.
The Kaiser of Chaos *is* stupid enough to believe that he’s above the law after a lifetime of getting away with everything. The courts are unlikely to buy these specious and surreal arguments. If Trump is surprised by this, he’s truly the King of Fools. The last word goes to Dwight Yoakam:
Yeah, I know. The title led you to expect Tom Petty would get the last word. I hate to disappoint my readers: