The NY Times, Sekulow and Dowd’s Sophistry and Trump’s King Like Viewpoint

I have obligations that I seriously must run out the door for, but this need to be posted so that it can be dissected. The inestimable crew of Haberman, Schmidt et. al have posted a rather amazing letter 20 page letter issued on behalf of Trump by his attorneys at the time, Jay Sekulow and John Dowd. There is a minimum of mockery of the effort, which I will attribute to the contributions of Charlie Savage and Matt Apuzzo, who have the curious, too often for the Times, habit of actually appropriately reading legal things with an eye to what they really represent.

This “letter” is one of the most ridiculous pieces of legal sophistry I have ever seen in my life. It, without an iota of shame or self reflection, brazenly place Trump as not just a King, but a God like entity that far outstrips the importance of the rule of law or separation of powers the Founders intended.

So, I am leaving this here until either Marcy or I come back to it later. Read the damn thing. Weep for your country and the shreds of its Constitution before Trump and his lackeys burn what’s left.

34 replies
  1. Trip says:

    Under Marcy’s Twitter feed (this tickled me)

    Sean‏ @Somniferously 1

    Replying to @TheViewFromLL2

    “how stupid does the president’s legal team have to be” Paraphrasing Paul Krugman: They’re stupider than you can imagine, even taking into account that they’re stupider than you can imagine.

  2. harpie says:

    Marcy 12:19 PM – 2 Jun 2018:

    One nice thing abt Trump’s letter becoming public is you can see where the conspiracy theory transcribers were getting their language from. Literally cutting and pasting.

  3. Bobby Gladd says:

    I saw this. Came right over here, and you are already on it. I’d tweeted,

    “Well, at least Dowd & Sekulow have now made it explicit: Trump cannot be “ABOVE the Law” because he “IS the Law.” “Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the US” with plenary power. He’s counting on sufficient ongoing @GOP support on the Hill plus 5 at #SCOTUS to affirm that.”

    So, POTUS cannot “obstruct himself.” LOL

    • orionATL says:

      the assertion that the president is above any law that might control his actions was effectively furthered by opinions of the president’s department of justice office of legal counsel (baybee/woo) under the bush administration.

      further, again in the bush administration, the spontaneous, politically motivated unclassification of supersecret cia agent valery plame was a second such example.

      president bush’s authorization to the nsa for the stellar wind domestic surveillance program was another authoritarian step which was, in time, amazingly and tellingly, “legalized” by the congress

      the theft of documents by the cia under president obama’s command from the senate committee overseeing the use of torture, and the president’s subsequent refusal to discipline the cia or, later, to support public release of the senate committee’s report is another example of how far down the road toward a unitary authoritarianism, rather than the originally enacted tripartite governance structure, the u. s. had travelled before donald trump was ever nominated for the presidency.

      • orionATL says:

        i neglected to mention the expansion of executive orders under obama (and other presidents as well).

        the capability to issue an executive order (and keep it secret if necessary) turns the presidency into a unicameral, uni-person legislature which can enact for the executive branch.

        there is no prohibition i am aware of on this bastardization of the fundamental constitutional concept of seperation of powers.

        the general point is that the american presidency has acquired too much power and at just this point in history a charasmatic authoritarian personality shows up to mesmerize a sizeable segment of the citizenry.

    • Bri2k says:

      From TPM (I think) Trump tweeted about it prior to the article coming out so it looks like Team Trump leaked it.

      • harpie says:

        Do they mean this one

        10:43 AM – 2 Jun 2018 There was No Collusion with Russia (except by the Democrats). When will this very expensive Witch Hunt Hoax ever end? So bad for our Country. Is the Special Counsel/Justice Department leaking my lawyers letters to the Fake News Media? Should be looking at Dems corruption instead?

         …accusing the OSC/DoJ of leaking the letters to ie: NYT? LOL!

    • Bobby Gladd says:

      Dowd and Sekulow, probably. Why? Dunno. Prelude to the SCO shutdown by Trump? Maybe during his June 12th trip to Singapore and subsequent June 13th trip to Oslo?

      • TGuerrant says:

        1 – DOJ IG report expected out very soon.

        2 – Mueller let it be known he wants to issue a report this summer explicitly about obstruction.

        3 – Mmmmm… has somebody been told they’ll be indicted? Stone, we know, but the GJ witnesses seem to know when they’ve got a cleaver over their heads.

    • greengiant says:

      Which is more damning, the contents or the White House leak? Quite the circus if they were not so evil.

  4. Palli says:

    “On January 27, 2017, at Mr. McGahn’s request, Ms. Yates and Mr. McGahn had another meeting. Importantly, DOJ leadership declined to confirm to the White House that Lt. Gen. Flynn was under any type of investigation. According to Mr. McGahn’s memo: …”
    But on Jan 27, 2017, Trump was preassuring Comey saying: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”.

    What did Trump mean by “letting [Flynn] go?”, go from what?

  5. orionATL says:



    the american political system and enough of its voters have finally delivered the presidency into the hands of a shameless, ruthless, authoritarian who has had no previous experience in governing at any level.

    president trump has made the claim “i alone can fix it.” twice in recent years, once when considering running for the presidency in 2011 and again at the republican convention in july 2016.


    –  “… ROBERT HENDIN CBS NEWS April 16, 2011, 8:17 PM

    Trump says only he can fix a broken America… ”


    – “The Atlantic


    ‘I Alone Can Fix It’

    JONI APPLEBAUM July 21, 2016.

    Breaking with two centuries of political tradition, Donald Trump didn’t ask Americans to place their trust in each other or in God, but rather, in Trump… ”



  6. joejoejoe says:

    Fill in the blank:

    Q: ____ has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers

    A: King George of England

    B: Donald J. Trump

  7. Avattoir says:

    According to a retweet from Marcy, for years attorney Dowd has sent, in his professional capacity, written messages to others in purple-colored Comic Sans font:

    ‘As I pose before you while appearing to have one finger jammed up my nose & my pants down around my ankles …’

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This Republican Party would accept any argument in favor of Trump so long as it enables he and it to remain in power.  Away from Trump’s tweetstorm, they are neutering government and emptying its shelves in the bargain.

    Rudy 9/11’s entire defense is political rhetoric.  It would not merit a pass in a law school debate.  His arguments and the rain of leaks coming from the White House are meant to inflame the base, to get out the vote, and to negate – in the manner of jury nullification – any legal or political consequences the law or Congress might seek to impose on Der Leader.  Because only the Don can save the Base from the catastrophe of rule by “Democrats,” Wall Street, and the oligarchs.

    Worked for the Brexit vote. And it makes clear that Trump spent a career selling aluminum siding, used cars, or real estate.

    • joejoejoe says:

      Democrats better get some kind of effective independent message out there this summer that isn’t just a response or reaction to Trump.  Bill Clinton buried Bob Dole in 1996 with a summer message.  You have to blow your own horn.

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        Doesn’t matter what message the Dems have if the media can’t be bothered sharing it, and that’s starting to become a factor. King Idiot fills the room.

  9. pseudonymous in nc says:

    I think an originalist view of Article II powers would situate the presidency as an elected limited 18th-century monarchy, with the additional limitations of federalism and its petty kingdoms. The transformation of the presidency over the past 80ish years and the development of the capacity to, y’know, blow up the planet in minutes has pushed things towards absolute monarchy (Louis XIV was not like George III and also not like Henri IV.)

    Strong presidencies are dumb.

  10. Mitch Neher says:

    In the interest of remaining naïve, isn’t the pardon power supposed to be used to serve the interests of justice? As in, to correct an injustice? How, then, could the pardon power bolster the notion that The POTUS cannot obstruct justice? If anything else, the pardon power ought to follow from, and be exercised consistently with, the President’s Oath of Office. Why else would The POTUS be the only constitutional officer whose Oath of Office is inscribed in the Constitution?

  11. M. Sneft says:

    Don’t just blame Donald for this. His party made it possible and now allows it. And all of this has been enabled by a venal corporate media.

  12. Trip says:

    Excellent argument for why this was leaked by Team Trump:
    Susan Hennessey‏Verified account @Susan_Hennessey
    This really is a huge admission. Among other things, the fact that this was a leak timed for Saturday afternoon would suggest it’s Trump’s team trying to get a damning tidbit out on its own terms.

  13. Gamboler says:

    Does anyone know the DOJ rules pertaining to the timing of indictments or referrals to Congress once the investigation is complete? Can Rosenstein sit on a referral assuming there might be a friendlier reception to it in Congress after the midterms?

  14. Webstir says:

    Why is Trump saying this even remotely surprising? So long as Congress continues to abdicate power to the executive branch … it’s pragmatically correct. What? Mitch gonna DO something about it? That’s what I thought …

  15. HanTran says:

    It appears to me that this “letter” was created not for any legal purpose but to rally Team Trump supporters, fire up the base. Which would mean the wrong statute was referred to deliberately .

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