Jan 052018
 


by Thomas L. Knapp…..

Two days before Donald Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States, a former contestant on his reality TV Show, The Apprentice, sued him for defamation. At issue was his public response to her allegations of unwanted kisses and forceful gropes. He had caller her a “liar” and claimed she was motivated by greed and/or politics.

Now the shoe’s on the other foot: Trump is threatening to sue publisher Henry Holt and Co. if they release a new book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, by Michael Wolff. He claims that the book contains falsehoods that “give rise to claims for libel” and demands that Holt “immediately cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination of the book, the article, or any excerpts or summaries of either of them [and] … issue a full and complete retraction and apology …”

Go pound sand, the publisher replied, and moved the release date up from January 9 to January 5.

While I’m sure that the juicy details of both cases are very interesting, it’s not those details that I’m concerned with.  What’s bothering me is a noticeable shift in Trump’s priorities.

In early December, Trump’s lawyers argued in court that he was just too busy and that his job was just too important for him to be dragged into court by a mere reality show contestant. He was arguably immune while in office, they said. The case should be put off until (hopefully) 2025.

“The president is the person who runs the executive branch,” his attorney, Marc Kasowitz, claimed. “He needs to be available 24/7.”

Zervos’s attorney, Gloria Allred, countered that “we can take a deposition down to Mar-a-Lago in between him going to play golf.” Then everyone had a good laugh and I don’t recall hearing about it since.

OK, so maybe Donald Trump is too busy and too important to be sued. Maybe he needs to be available to be president 24/7. And maybe we should even cut him some slack on the golf outings and other escapes from the White House on the assumption that they are “working vacations.”

But inquiring minds want to know: If he’s too busy and important to be sued, how can it be that he has the free time, the undiverted attention span, and the scratchable itch to to go around threatening to sue others?

No sues for the goose, no sues for the gander, I say.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

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Thomas L. Knapp
Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.
 January 5, 2018  Posted by at 12:06 am Thomas L. Knapp  Add comments

  20 Responses to “Fire and Fury: A Tale of Two Trump Lawsuits”

  1. “No sues for the goose, no sues for the gander, I say.”

    I agree with you on that point, but at the same time a President of the United States threatening a lawsuit against someone to defend his and his family’s honor, is at least much better than, for example, taking a dictator’s or a Nazi regime’s possible actions of dealing with a creep like Michael Wolff and/or his book publisher, Henry Holt Co.

    Best case scenario would be for Michael Wolff to be ostracized from society for no other reasons than “some people will do anything for money” and also for intentionally creating a distraction and damper or downer to combat President Trump’s and his team’s many successes. So far from what I have heard, Wolff’s book combined with his past efforts would put him in a category of being the Harvey Weinstein of writing, in my opinion. Although there undoubtedly are some truths in Wolff’s book, if it ever makes it into public libraries it will have to be placed in the fiction section.

    It’s really way past time to give up on the 24/7 Trump bashing, and maybe for his part time friends and foes alike to realize and seriously consider this:

    President Trump is no teddy bear, he is a strong, rough & tough leader with the guts and ideas to tackle the many complex problems that were dropped in his lap by his predecessors. And this is something that America and the world has needed and wanted for a very long time.

    • Ben,

      Not having read the book (at least yet), I decided to limit this column solely to the litigation issue. Trump’s approach is exactly the same as that of a dictator or Nazi regime in substance. It differs in form not by virtue of his expressed attitude toward it, but rather by what he can get away with (and he constantly whines about not being able to get away with more).

      • “I decided to limit this column solely to the litigation issue.”

        Thomas, Yes, I know, but I took the liberty to expand your topic as you opened up an opportunity for me to speak my mind about the overall President Trump bashing situation. Hope you don’t mind too much…..as your topic was not sweeping enough for me to elaborate on what I and others are thinking.

        I might also add that with some news outlets putting out a reported 90% to 95% negative news about President Trump and his team, the affect of this is that many are being incorrectly and dishonestly swayed, indoctrinated, against him and his agenda. This, even though most of his philosophy has been proven to be successful so far and beneficial to America.

        • I try to give Trump credit where it’s due; in particular the “Russiagate investigation” has so far proven to be almost completely hot air.

          On the other hand, his philosophy and its resultant policy moves have been a train wreck of epic proportions. They’re about as beneficial to America as a cancer cluster.

  2. Thomas, Here are a few things off the top-of-my-head about the Trump administration’s actions. I didn’t use a “cheat sheet” to compile this quick list so I’m sure there are more positive things to add. Don’t know why most of these items would be considered a “train wreck.”

    1) With new rules of engagement crushed ISIS taking back 98% of their territory

    2) First president to seriously combat in earnest criminal MS-13 gang

    3) Got out of money grab Paris Climate Accords and wants private American companies to lead the way instead

    4) Stock Market at 25,000

    5) Unemployment low, consumer confidence up

    6) Hit 3.2% GDP two quarters in a row

    7) Black unemployment at 45 year or all-time low

    8) Trying to get school voucher program going strong – despite opposition, 70% of Blacks say they want this

    9) First major Tax Bill in 31 years – lowering tax rates with companies giving bonuses to employees, possibly raising wages

    10) Cutting business strangling regulations – 16 eliminated for every one added

    11) Vowing to get immigration under control (watch videos of Presidents Clinton and Obama saying same things as Trump)

    12) Travel ban for Middle East countries that are in turmoil

    13) After Trump’s/Tillerson’s trip to Saudi Arabia, they are now saying they will strive to be like a normal country

    14) Instilling pride of country again for Americans

    15) Officially recognized Jerusalem as capital of Israel, possibly eliminating an ongoing sticking point in Israeli/Palestinian negotiations

    16) After President Trump said U.N. nations weren’t paying their “fair share” to the organization, they have contributed $12 billion

    17) Changed the conversation about world trade – to be more fair without America getting hammered

    18) Claimed but not yet confirmed, Trump’s recent Asian trip obtained $250-$350 billion in business for American companies

    19) Establishing good relations with police depts., giving them great credit for a tough job

    20) Addressing the opioid crisis

    21) More…………………

    • > 1) With new rules of engagement crushed ISIS taking back 98% of their territory

      He escalated a war the US shouldn’t be involved in, and the Russians came in and saved his ass.

      > 2) First president to seriously combat in earnest criminal MS-13 gang

      I guess you’re right, if by “seriously combat” you mean “send 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants back into their clutches.”

      > 3) Got out of money grab Paris Climate Accords and wants private American companies to lead the way instead

      No problem getting out of the Paris Accord from me. But in fact, it required absolutely nothing of any party to it. That, not a mythical “money grab,” was the reason to abandon it. It was entirely hype and nothing else.

      > 4) Stock Market at 25,000

      Presidents take credit and blame for the economy. They don’t really deserve either, but Trump is no less entitled than any other president, I guess.

      > 5) Unemployment low, consumer confidence up

      As was the trend before he was elected.

      > 6) Hit 3.2% GDP two quarters in a row

      “The US economy expanded an annualized 3.2 percent on quarter in the third quarter of 2017, slightly below a second estimate of 3.3 percent and lower than market expectations of 3.3 percent, the final reading from the BEA showed.”

      > 7) Black unemployment at 45 year or all-time low

      Seventeen year low, actually. But not bad.

      > 8) Trying to get school voucher program going strong – despite opposition, 70% of Blacks say they want this

      Vouchers are terrible. They extend government involvement further into private schools, with all kinds of strings attached. What’s needed is separation of school and state.

      > 9) First major Tax Bill in 31 years – lowering tax rates with companies giving bonuses to employees, possibly raising wages

      I’m of mixed opinion on the tax bill, but I consider the standard deduction one indicator of its quality. The tax bill doubles the standard deduction for two years, after which it goes back to what it was — with the personal exemption eliminated. In other words, it’s a tax increase.

      > 10) Cutting business strangling regulations – 16 eliminated for every one added

      Nope. Not even close. Trump ordered federal agencies to “identify” two rules to be cut for every one added. “Identifying” a rule to be cut isn’t the same as cutting the rule. Want to make any bets as to whether the Federal Register will be smaller or larger this year?

      > 11) Vowing to get immigration under control (watch videos of Presidents Clinton and Obama saying same things as Trump)

      The US has open borders. The US has always had open borders. The US will always have open borders. The choice is between having open borders and admitting it, or having open borders and using that as an excuse for a police state that will not “get immigration under control.”

      > 12) Travel ban for Middle East countries that are in turmoil

      Yes. Bomb the hell out of them, and then shut the doors when they try to leave. Pure evil.

      > 13) After Trump’s/Tillerson’s trip to Saudi Arabia, they are now saying they will strive to be like a normal country

      “After” is not the same thing as “because of.” My view of Saudi Arabia is that what’s going on is a royal power play with “reform” as one side’s excuse. Hopefully the “reform” side will win and then stick with its proposed reforms. But that was all likely coming regardless of who was president of the US, and there’s a very good chance that it will go south and result in regional war as the Saudis continue to blame Iran for their inability to subdue Yemen and reinstall a Saudi puppet regime.

      > 14) Instilling pride of country again for Americans

      It would be better to give Americans something to be proud OF.

      > 15) Officially recognized Jerusalem as capital of Israel, possibly eliminating an ongoing sticking point in Israeli/Palestinian negotiations

      Yes, if by “eliminating a sticking point” you mean “eliminating the slim chances of peace and dramatically increasing the probability of another major regional war in the next two years.”

      > 16) After President Trump said U.N. nations weren’t paying their “fair share” to the organization, they have contributed $12 billion

      I don’t think the UN getting more money is a good thing.

      > 17) Changed the conversation about world trade – to be more fair without America getting hammered

      Yes, he changed the conversation. Hopefully it will change again before America really DOES get hammered. The purpose and effect of protectionism is to drive up costs for American consumers and redistribute wealth from them to domestic cronies.

      > 18) Claimed but not yet confirmed, Trump’s recent Asian trip obtained $250-$350 billion in business for American companies

      Well, like you said, claimed but not confirmed. And if confirmed, likely to hurt regular American consumers.

      > 19) Establishing good relations with police depts., giving them great credit for a tough job

      It would be better to start holding them responsible for their actions.

      > 20) Addressing the opioid crisis

      The only way to address the opioid crisis is to end the war on drugs.

      • Don’t agree with all of your counterpoints, but appreciate your quick and thoughtful response. There are a few I’d like to comment on, but for now one in particular is #13. When you say “After” is not the same thing as “because of.” Something that happened after the Trump/Tillerson meeting with the Saudis, and after Trump said that Qatar is a hot bed of extremist terrorism (or something to that effect) – 2 weeks later the Saudis threw up or threatened a blockade on Qatar. Then, our people said WHOA! Slow down! So that’s one reason why I say that Trump/Tillerson had a direct impact on the region “after” they met with the Saudis. Consequently, that reinforces my opinion.

        • OK, I can buy the “direct impact” opinion. But part of that direct impact has been huge arms sales to Saudi and an escalation of the war in Yemen. I’m expecting that to end badly for the US.

          If Trump had delivered on his early promises of a less interventionist foreign policy, I’d be more than halfway to supporting him. Instead, he’s escalated every US involvement in the Middle East. The Jerusalem move is pushing Turkey into the Russian orbit and increasing the chances of another Israeli war. Their last real locking of horns (invasion of Lebanon) went badly for them. I’d rather not see Israel get pounded badly enough that the US faces the prospect of directly intervening on their side in a shooting war.

  3. > 10) Cutting business strangling regulations – 16 eliminated for every one added

    “Nope. Not even close. Trump ordered federal agencies to “identify” two rules to be cut for every one added. “Identifying” a rule to be cut isn’t the same as cutting the rule. Want to make any bets as to whether the Federal Register will be smaller or larger this year?”

    Originally there were 2 regulations eliminated for every one added. Then the number stated was 16 to 1, and today it was reported 22 to 1.
    _____________________________________________________________

    > 6) Hit 3.2% GDP two quarters in a row

    “The US economy expanded an annualized 3.2 percent on quarter in the third quarter of 2017, slightly below a second estimate of 3.3 percent and lower than market expectations of 3.3 percent, the final reading from the BEA showed.”

    No one could have possibly guessed the 3.2% except for those in the Trump administration. The 3.2% number wasn’t hit in years as far as I know, but then…………..
    _______________________________________________________

    > 2) First president to seriously combat in earnest criminal MS-13 gang

    “I guess you’re right, if by “seriously combat” you mean “send 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants back into their clutches.”

    No, I don’t mean that, but instead I mean that 100s of gang members have been rounded up already. Don’t know the why’s about the 200,000, but it could be part of the plan as some sources claim that there could be as many or more than 30,000-50,000 MS-13 gang members in the USA – with some gang activity just 7 blocks away from the White House.
    _________________________________________________________

    > 8) Trying to get school voucher program going strong – despite opposition, 70% of Blacks say they want this

    “Vouchers are terrible. They extend government involvement further into private schools, with all kinds of strings attached. What’s needed is separation of school and state.”

    The Miami Herald newspaper took part in an extensive and comprehensive evaluation of vouchers. Included were “real life” interviews of students, etc. who stated that the voucher program has enabled them to escape a nightmare of being bullied and harassed while just trying to better themselves. A change of schools for kids who want to better themselves in life was one of Trump’s promises, and appointing Betty de Vos to lead this program has met with some resistance. “Separation of school and state”? Can’t see how that will happen.

    • “Originally there were 2 regulations eliminated for every one added.”

      No, there weren’t. There were two regulations “identified for elimination” for everyone added. There’s a difference. I can identify two women I’d like to have sex with every time I have sex with my wife, but actually having sex with those other two women is a different thing entirely.

      Re: Vouchers. Yes, as a welfare program, it does seem to have a high rate approval among the welfare recipients.

      “‘Separation of school and state’? Can’t see how that will happen.”

      The same way it happened before the US started mixing school and state on the model of militarist Prussia (that started in the 1840s, but it wasn’t until the 1890s that the last kids were marched off to “public schools” at bayonet point by the state militia, in Vermont).

  4. Thomas,

    Both France and Germany have made horrible immigration mistakes that they wished they hadn’t, and are re-evaluating their previous moves. President Trump is attempting to save America from repeating those mistakes. It appears that Salvadoran immigrants are being given the option of either leaving the USA or having their TPS status changed. I’m not 100% sure of this, and maybe you can give me a more informed opinion? At the same time, the plan to address Salvadoran migrants “might” also have something to do with MS-13 gang members’ deportation or something else.

    • Both France and Germany have whiny nationalist anti-immigrationists, just like the US. So?

      • So? The question is how much does it cost the USA in welfare payments (if anything) to allow 200,000 Salvadorans to live here with their present TPS? Can they apply for citizenship status or whatever to allow them to be on their own without taxpayer assistance?

        • Well, no, that’s not the question, since immigrants pay more in taxes, consume less in welfare, and commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans. The question is how much getting rid of them costs the US government in lost tax revenues and higher welfare and crime rates.

          • WHAT?! Do you mean as a percentage of the 325 million people living in America or as a dollar figure? I don’t have the number of native-born Americans, but if its 100 million or so, then you’re comparing apples to oranges. I do know that jails in California are filled with what, 50% illegals?

          • I mean that per capita, immigrants (documented and undocumented) pay more in taxes, receive less in social services, and are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans (there’s no such thing as an “illegal immigrant” since there is no constitutional power for the federal government to regulate immigration, since Article I, Section 9 forbade such a power for 20 years, and since no amendment has been ratified creating such a power since then).

            Immigrants are subsidizing Social Security and federal revenues, not to mention keeping our food prices down, etc. Anything and everything that interferes with free and open immigration is bad for America.

  5. “Immigrants are subsidizing Social Security and federal revenues, not to mention keeping our food prices down, etc. Anything and everything that interferes with free and open immigration is bad for America.”

    Sure, part of the immigration plan is to replenish our ageing population with younger workers to chip in to Social Security, etc. However, if you’re talking about open borders you would be helping to create a helter-skelter society. Even a sometimes lawless Dodge City of the Old West had to have restrictions and city limits gun laws, for example, because a libertarian view of every man for himself did not work well.

    • Actually, the “wild west” had a lower per capita murder rate than Boston during the period (Boston had strict gun control laws at the time).

      America did pretty well for itself prior to the federal government seizing the power to regulate immigration (starting in 1882). It continued to do pretty well for itself prior to that regulation getting onerous (you didn’t even need a passport to enter or leave the US until after World War II). Personally I don’t think it’s done as well for itself since the feds started getting more intrusive on the matter starting in the 1950s.

      I’d be happy to go back to, say, 1980, when the top two Republican candidates for president, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, both strenuously claimed to be the most open borders candidate (in those exact words). Reagan won, and acted on that claim, and many people seem to remember his administration and the American economy of that era fondly.

      • Something that really stood out for me about President Reagan more than anything was that he instilled a “proud to be an American” mood across the country. Having pride in America despite the bad that sometimes went along with the good was something that even though it might be considered an intangible, it could be felt. If Reagan was alive today and could go back in time, maybe he would have handled immigration differently, but he didn’t have the hindsight of people of today to fall back on at that time. And correct me if I’m wrong, but a big part of immigration back then was to ensure that there was a large enough labor force to pick crops.