The Former President’s Spaghetti-Wall Assault on the Truth

Donald Trump’s team has submitted its reply briefs on motions to dismiss:

I reiterate the analysis I have made here and here: these motions (plus the Motion to Strike that Judge Chutkan already rejected), taken together, don’t so much attempt to argue about Trump’s conduct. Instead, they try to separate out the conspiracies alleged and the mob that was central to it from a claim that Trump has a right to lie, a right to repeat false claims about the 2020 election no matter how many times those false claims have been debunked in court.

Trump made no effort to address certain key claims. As one example, Trump didn’t mention prosecutors’ observation that Trump couldn’t have a Double Jeopardy claim from Impeachment given that this indictment does not charge him with what Congress did, incitement.

Perhaps recognizing what I pointed out here — that Trump had simply ignored the way in which he used the mob to obstruct the vote certification, he includes a new section in it. But it was lifted from his reply brief on the Motion to Strike that already failed.

January 6.

The prosecution next repeats its false claim that President Trump “directed a large crowd of supporters, whom he knew to be ‘angry’ based on his election fraud lies, to go to the Capitol and obstruct the proceeding.” Doc. 139, at 19. But the indictment does not charge President Trump with any responsibility for the events of January 6, and rightly so. As set forth in detail in Doc. 156, President Trump encouraged the crowd marching to the Capitol to “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard” and to “cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women.”6 President Trump made clear that he expected to watch the electoral certification proceedings take place as planned that day. Id. And President Trump repeatedly denounced destruction of monuments and other symbols of American democracy, and he reminded the crowd that criminal penalties he signed into law for such actions. Id.

As the indictment itself alleges, the crowd gathered at the Capitol before President Trump finished speaking. Doc. 1, ¶ 107. The crowd already at the Capitol “broke through barriers cordoning off the Capitol grounds and advanced on the building” while President Trump was speaking. See id. The indictment does not mention that the 1,200 people who entered the Capitol was less than 1% the size of the crowd gathered to listen to President Trump, and that at least 99% of the crowd gathered to listen to President Trump did not enter the Capitol. William M. Arkin, Exclusive: Classified Documents Reveal the Number of January 6 Protestors, NEWSWEEK (Dec 23, 2021), 7

And having belatedly attempted to address the mob, Trump nevertheless shamelessly claimed that the people he lied to were sophisticated enough to see through his lies.

President’s Trump’s listeners—including the sophisticated elected officials described in the indictment—were free to agree or disagree with President Trump’s views, and the prosecution does not allege otherwise.

Hundreds of January 6 defendants — conservatively — have explained that they pissed away their lives that day because they believed Trump’s lies. Trump’s reply briefs effectively amount to the argument that his First Amendment rights extend to being completely unmoored from any anchor to the truth, his First Amendment rights permit him to deliberately unmoor the truth to mobilize an attack on the country.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I came away from a quick read of these filings exhausted, the exhaustion deliberately cultivated by the gaslighter. I could — I still might — go back and unpack every one of the gimmicks his attorneys have thrown at Judge Chutkan, like spaghetti at a wall. But ultimately it amounts to a demand that Trump be treated not just as above the law that the hundreds of his mobsters have already been held accountable to, but also above the truth.

33 replies
  1. Legonaut says:

    Here in the U.S., I’m Thanksgiving this morning for Dr. Wheeler and all in the community here that enlighten us by reading the filings, parsing the lies and connecting the dots. Slogging through the raw sewage of Trump is a truly dirty job; it is not unappreciated.

  2. Mike Stone says:

    Trump portrays himself as our savior and implied that he was more popular than Jesus.

    Why would he think he is subject to any man-made laws?

    Happy Thanksgiving Marcy for all your great work.

    • Les Duncan says:

      That’s Maga Mike’s argument, man is fallible
      and not to be trusted or taken seriously, they are not ,God

      • Rayne says:

        Sure would be nice if MAGA Mike Johnson actually acted like the words he embraces — you know, 1 John 3:17-18, James 2:14-18, Matthew 12:33-37, Proverbs 14:23, all the deeds-not-words stuff.

        • Commander Ogg says:

          Not going to happen. Mike Johnson’s New Apostolic Reformation see their religion not as a way to bring “Peace on Earth” or “Joy to the Word” but as a weapon to controll people’s lives.
          Johnson smile’s pretty and presents a harmless image but as pointed out in this NPR interview the end goal is still a Theocracy based on their interpretation of the Bible. Scary.

  3. Critter7 says:

    On this Thanksgiving Day, I extend my thanks to Dr. Marcy, the moderators, and key contributors to this blog for helping to keep me half-sane – unlike the gaslighter-in-chief, who is doing all he can to make us all crazy.

    Recently, I came across the primary source for two early incidents that presage what we are experiencing now: After the Gold Rush, Vanity Fair, September 1990, written by Marie Brenner. Two quotes follow:

    1. “Ivana Trump told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that from time to time her husband reads a book of Hitler’s collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed.”

    During the interview, Marie Brenner asked Trump about it and he did not deny it, but then later in the interview came back to deny that he had actually read the speeches – which, we have now learned about bizarre man, probably means it is true.

    2. Brenner writes,
    “Donald is a believer in the big-lie theory,” his lawyer had told me. “If you say something again and again, people will believe you.”

  4. Sussex Trafalgar says:

    Indeed—Spaghetti Thrown at the Wall!

    And that’s not a surprise coming from a seventy-seven year old rich, spoiled brat, malignant narcissist and pathological liar like Trump.

    For Trump, it’s all about trying to delay all of his trials until after the 2024 Presidential election, i. e., throw spaghetti everywhere like a spoiled brat child and make the adults waste their time cleaning it up. That’s been his MO since he was born.

  5. rattlemullet says:

    Regarding his mob, I believe it was WC Fields who coined the phrase “Never give a sucker an even break” the title of his 1941 Movie. They deserve what is dealt to them for believing in such an obvious rube and con man.

    His attorneys court filings follow the same pattern of court abuse just like the voter fraud court filings. Proving the court system is highly tolerate of abusive behavior. At some point hopefully not before it too late the courts say enough is enough.

    The analogy of spaghetti on the wall is great it draws to mind the image of TFG tossing his plate of food on the wall during his failed insurrection, while doing nothing for several hours. This act alone, the dereliction of duty as commander and chief, during the mob attack on the capital should preclude him from ever running for president or holding any public office ever again .

    • gmokegmoke says:

      Reading a biography of WC Fields I distilled his system of ethics:
      You can’t cheat an honest man
      Never give a sucker an even break
      Don’t wise up a chump

      Someone is throwing spaghetti at the wall to mop up the ketchup staining it.

  6. oldoilfieldhand says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all who read and comment on this blog. Emptywheel remains my contact with sanity in these troubling times, from back in FireDogLake days. I am thankful for my civics and history teachers who might be school board targets for teaching the uncomfortable truth about American exceptionalism today. I am thankful for the guidance provided by the moderators and guest commenters, the intelligent and sanguine local and international followers (and the doomsayers); all who congregate here for similar reasons, and for the brilliant, articulate sleuth running the show. Thank you Marcy! Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the Rhubarb pie.

  7. Rayne says:

    This post made me think not of the overgrown toddler’s spaghetti-tossing tantrums, but a method for testing the doneness of cooked spaghetti — throwing it against the wall to see if it sticks.

    The man is cooked, he’s done. I just hope juries will see this as well.

    Happy Thanksgiving in Éire, Marcy!

    • emptywheel says:

      Thank you for keeping up the holiday content. We’re cooking turkey tomorrow, not today, so spouse can take a 3-day weekend. Thought about a walk in the park but realized pick-up at the school next door works as normal, which is near-lethal at its height.

    • dannyboy says:

      I like the jury record! Especially that a jury in Manhattan federal court found that Trump sexually abused Carroll during an encounter in a New York department store in the mid-1990s, and defamed her last fall.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Rayne, Marcy, and bmaz:

      Happy Thanksgiving to each and all of you. I’m grateful for all that you do. And Happy Thanksgiving to Eureka, wherever you are. I will always be grateful for what you shared.

    • 2Cats2Furious says:

      The spaghetti analogy works. I also think that – perhaps in anticipation of the DC appellate panel reinstating some version of Judge Chutkan’s limited gag order (which specifically excludes references to statements made in public court filings) – Trump’s attorneys are pushing the envelope to include as much “political content” as possible.

      These are not serious legal arguments, and I don’t think Trump’s attorneys honestly expect Judge Chutkan to grant their motions. Rather than persuading the judge, they are meant to amplify Trump’s message of persecution and waive away his culpability. I also tried reading the replies in detail, but they made my hair hurt, so I feel Marcy’s pain.

      BTW, Rayne – Any chance I can get off “auto-moderation”? I think my recent comments have shown I’ve learned my lesson not to poke the cactus, even if we may disagree.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. GSSH-FullyReduced says:

    Thanks to EW community for providing such insightful analysis of the forces of law and politics. I sometimes wonder if the other side reads, learns and synthesizes some of its arguments from here.

    • dannyboy says:

      I wholeheartedly agree about the uniqeness of emptywheel analyzing Law and Politics as one.

      This piqued my interest, as I have been recently concluded that the mutual influence of Politics and American Economy have ruined both systems.

      I wish you all a better outcome with The Law.

  9. Matt Foley says:

    I am so thankful for your tables.

    I’m sure your invitation to discuss this on Fox News got lost in the mail. Yeah, that’s it.

  10. David F. Snyder says:

    Hypothesis: Trump is. a turkey. Supporting evidence: we only hear gobble(dygook)s coming from his beak.

  11. Eichhörnchen says:

    “As one example, Trump didn’t mention prosecutors’ observation that Trump couldn’t have a Double Jeopardy claim from Impeachment given that this indictment does not charge him with what Congress did, incitement.”
    I would have thought that the fact that the US Congress is NOT a court of law would obviate any claim of double jeopardy. I guess I missed that day in civics class.

  12. harpie says:

    TRUMP’s Marching Band:

    […] But the indictment does not charge President Trump with any responsibility for the events of January 6, and rightly so. [LOL!] As set forth in detail in Doc. 156, President Trump encouraged the crowd marching to the Capitol to “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard” and to “cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women.”6

    That is the one time during the speech that TRUMP used the word “peaceful”.

    The ratio between TRUMP’s use of the word “PEACEFUL” and the word “FIGHT” is approximately 1:20.


    • harpie says:

      TRUMP began his RABBLE ROUSING at about NOON.

      12:15 PM

      TRUMP: […] Now, it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy.

      And after this, we’re going to walk [< First out of 6 mentions of the word WALK] down, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down, we’re going to walk down.

      Anyone you want, but I think right here, we’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them. Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated.

      I know that everyone here will soon be marching [< This is the ONLY mention of word MARCH] over to the Capitol building to peacefully [< This is the ONLY mention of the word PEACE] and patriotically make your voices heard. […]

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