Reportedly Donald Trump, a/k/a Der Trumpenführer, rants and yells at the White House regularly when his delicate sensibilities are upset about people speaking the truth and/or opposing his more idiotic policies. Yesterday, listeners of "Fox and Friends" got to observe Trump's melt down as he called into the show and even the anchors felt the need to shut him down. For his lawyers, it was an even worse experience as Trump basically indicated that past statements on a number of matters had been lies - something that should surprise no one - and did everything competent legal counsel would caution against. One former federal prosecutor stated that "For his lawyers, it must be like watching your toddler play in traffic." There is a reason that no high profile/big firm lawyer wants to represent Trump. He's a train wreck could likely drag the attorney into legal trouble of his/her own, not to mention he probably would default on paying his legal bills. A piece in Politico looks at the "emperor has no cloths" episode. Here are highlights:
Donald Trump's penchant for freewheeling chatter on issues being litigated in court landed him in hot water again Thursday, potentially upending his attorneys' strategy in ongoing court battles involving his personal lawyer Michael Cohen.In a matter of about 90 seconds in a "Fox and Friends" interview, Trump appeared to undercut Cohen's claim that he acted on his own in paying $130,000 to porn actress Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election and managed to weaken his own attorneys' arguments in an ongoing fight over records the FBI seized from Cohen's home, office and hotel room.
"It's just a complete nightmare for his lawyers," said Ken White, a former federal corruption prosecutor based in Los Angeles. "The problem isn't just what he specifically admits in these statements. It's constantly generating inconsistent statements about issues that are going to be litigated, and that's what he has been doing."
"For his lawyers, it must be like watching your toddler play in traffic," White said. "You've got a client completely out of control."
The phenomenon is hardly new. Trump's tweets about his travel ban policy have been repeatedly cited in court to undermine the Justice Department's legal defense of those orders and were even raised at Supreme Court arguments this week on the subject. Now, he seems to be throwing more personal litigation into confusion.
Trump first seemed to drift off message when he told the TV hosts that Cohen performed only a “tiny, tiny little fraction” of his legal work. Prosecutors in New York seized on those comments to argue that few of the records the FBI seized from Cohen earlier this month fall under attorney-client privilege protections, despite Trump’s legal team’s arguments to the contrary.
"President Trump reportedly said on cable television this morning that Cohen performs 'a tiny, tiny little fraction' of his overall legal work," prosecutors said in a letter to U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood. The prosecution team also noted that another Cohen client, Fox News host Sean Hannity, also minimized the volume of legal work Cohen did for him.
"These statements by two of Cohen’s three identified clients suggest that the seized materials are unlikely to contain voluminous privileged documents, . . .
Next, Trump turned to Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford and who Cohen has acknowledged paying $130,000 in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.
"Michael would represent me and represent me on some things," Trump said. "He represents me, like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me." Up to that point, Cohen and Trump's legal team had sought to preserve ambiguity about Trump's role — if any — in the $130,000 payment.
But in the Thursday interview, Trump seemed to blow up that strategy. ". . . . Trump's statement this morning certainly sounds like an admission that he was involved in the Stormy Daniels hush payment," said Paul Ryan of the Campaign Legal Center, which filed complaints in January with the Justice Department and the Federal Election Commission over the payment. . . . his remarks appeared to tie him closer to events that federal prosecutors in New York are examining as a potential criminal violation of federal law.
"If there is a federal criminal investigation into the Stormy deal, then Trump definitely supplied a link in the chain by admitting being represented, knowingly, by Cohen," White said. "We don't know exactly what the government's theory is. It's reckless to go out there mouthing off without knowing all the factual circumstances."
"Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen previously represented to the American people that Mr. Cohen acted on his own and Mr. Trump knew nothing about the agreement with my client, the $130k payment, etc.,” her attorney, Michael Avenatti, wrote on Twitter. “As I predicted, that has now been shown to be completely false."
Trump is a pathological liar and mentally unfit to occupy the White House - or any other elected position. I suspect the Cohen documents will yield a treasure trove of information on shady, if not outright illegal, activities.