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February 20, 2019

Hal Brown blog late Feb. 2019

This blog contains links to my Capitol Hill Blue columns plus selected news items of the day. 

Feb. 21, 2019

Of course this Trump supporting former Fox News psychiatrist who once said people would do well to emulate Donald Trump to achieve optimal mental health has to be considered innocent until proved guilty. Here’s a Daily Beast story from 2017:  Fox News’ Notorious Quack Dr. Keith Ablow Wants You to ‘Trump Your Life’. It would be wrong to gloat over this breaking news: 

Ex-Fox News medical expert Keith Ablow accused of sexual assault: report

According to The Boston Globe, Keither Ablow allegedly “lured” the women into abusive relationships including “beatings, conversations about bondage, and, in one case, getting a tattoo of the doctor’s initials to show his ‘ownership’ of her. He began to hit me when we engaged in sexual activities,” one of the women claimed. “He would have me on my knees and begin to beat me with his hands on my breasts occasionally saying, ‘I own you,’ or ‘You are my slave.’” Ablow has denied all the allegations against him.

Draft story - tentative title
 Alan Dershowitz loves the limelight more than he values the truth
Someone should remind Alan Dershowitz that the 25th Amendment is in the Constitution for a reason. He is saying on Fox News that if Rod Rosenstein and Andrew McCabe and other FBI officials removed President Donald Trump from office using the 25th Amendment it would be an attempt at an unconstitutional coup d'├ętat if they spoke to Cabinet members about it. If anyone wants to tear up the Constitution it's Dershowitz himself.

Alan Dershowitz is saying on Fox News that if Rod Rosenstein and Andrew McCabe and other FBI officials removed President Donald Trump from office using the 25th Amendment it would be an attempt at an unconstitutional coup d'├ętat if they spoke to Cabinet members about it.

Dershowitz is a frequent guest on Fox News which touts his bona fides as a Harvard Law School professor emeritus on the bottom of the screen chyron. I suspect Harvard Law faculty and students are as unhappy to have the Trump apologist associated with their name as were the liberal summer residents of Martha's Vineyard who, much to the lawyer's chagrin, stopped inviting him to their parties: watch "Alan Dershowitz slams Martha's Vineyard liberals for 'shunning' him over Trump defense"on Fox News.
Of course, Dershowitz is lying by saying that the FBI could promote a coup. It wouldn't anything near a coup since they'd have no ability to initiate the 25th. Talking about it isn't the same as doing it. The real issue is that they saw indications that led them to consider the possibility that the president might be mentally unfit.
Attorney Alan Dershowitz on Wednesday said it would be "tantamount to an unconstitutional coup" if it's confirmed that intelligence officials discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trumpfrom office. 
"As far as the investigation is concerned, look, nobody's above the law. You're entitled to investigate anybody," Dershowitz said. "So I have no quarrel with, if they think he did something wrong, conducting an investigation, and if they find grounds for that, opening an impeachment process."
"It's the 25th Amendment that should disturb every American because it wasn't intended for this kind of conduct," he continued. "It reminds me of the television show 'House of Cards,' where they invoke the 25th Amendment to make for an interesting series, but in real life the 25th Amendment is completely inapplicable."
Of course, Alan Dershowitz is dead wrong about the 25th Amendment. It was and is intended to provide a mechanism to remove a president expeditiously, although temporarily, from office if he or she is unable to function with full use of their faculties. Although written with physical disability in mind, it must also be interpreted to apply to a president, not in full control of their mental abilities. Being mentally unable to make decisions rationally is the same as being physically anesthetized. In fact, it is worse, because when on the operating table a president is unable to make irrational and possibly dangerous decisions.

I am sure that the two top spokespersons from the field of mental health, forensic psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee, the editor of "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump," and clinical psychologist John D. Gartner (a contributor to the book), who both have been frequently quoted in the media would agree. This was published in The Hill Reporter on Feb. 20, 2019:
Following former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe’s declaration that he’d launched an investigation and President Trump’s response on Twitter that McCabe was a traitor and coup perpetrator, Yale psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee weighed in with her opinion that Trump needs a psychiatric evaluation because he is a danger to the United States and the world due to his ‘severe mental impairment.’ 
“I am of the camp that believes that a full assessment is necessary to make a diagnosis—which is why I have been stating that we need an evaluation,” Bandy said. “The American people, who are his employers, have every right to demand one, most essentially a fitness for duty exam before he continues another day, another hour, or another minute at his job.”
This belief by Lee also has been backed up by renown psychologist John Gartner, who earlier this month told KrassenCastthat President Trump suffers from multiple mental illnesses, including malignant narcissism, sadism, and psychopathy. 
Bandy added that Trump exhibits “psychological dangerousness” that would “translate into an assault on democracy and human rights” and even “an existential threat to the survival of human species because of the technology he has at his disposal.”
During the OJ Simpson trial when the law professor was an appellate adviser for the defense there was a joke I heard. It went something like this: "Where's the most dangerous place to be in Cambridge?" The answer was "between Alan Dershowitz and a camera."
Since the O.J. Simpson trial, which arguably made Derschowitz nationally famous and most would say infamous, he has said his support of Donald Trump has been personally more difficult: "Backing Donald Trump has been worse than defending O.J. Simpson"from Business Insider, July 7, 2018.
Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said backing President Donald Trump in certain cases has been harder than defending O.J. Simpson and other celebrity clients, according to an interview with The New York Times. 
When asked, "Is this actually worse than when you defended O.J. Simpson?" of his defense of the president, Dershowitz replied: 
"Of course. Or Claus von Bulow or Leona Helmsley or Michael Milken or Mike Tyson. This is much worse than all that." 
Dershowitz continued, "In those cases people were critical of me, but they were prepared to discuss it. They were prepared to have a dialogue. Here, the people that I’m objecting to want to stop the dialogue. They don’t want to have the conversation."
The fact of the matter is that nobody knows what Dershowitz really believes because if he didn't take the positions he did he would be just another obscure lawyer whose celebrity was long forgotten.
His rationale for joining the defense teams of celebrities was always that everyone, even the famous, deserved the best vigorous defense possible. He never said that those who defended celebrities frequently turned their lawyers into celebrities in their own right. Whoever heard of Johnnie"If it doesn't fit, you must acquit" Cochranbefore O.J. Simpson?

Alan Dershowitz has no formal relationship with Donald Trump as does another Rudy Guiliani, another attorney who lust for the spotlight. He is a media shill for Donald Trump. Unfortunately for millions of Fox News viewers the legal opinions the former Harvard professor are taken as gospel.

I suppose one could suggest that this presidential Valentine's Day tweet has blinded the lawyer from seeing things clearly:

Dershowitz says talks to use 25th Amendment to oust Trump could amount to 'unconstitutional coup’

This image is mine. I may write a Capitol Hill Blue column, I am temped to title it "The Incredible Shrinking Brian of Alan Dershowitz" 

Dr. John Gartner, founder of the Duty to Warn group in a 46 minute podcast (audio) interview, explains in layman terms Donald Trump’s dangerous three part psychopathology.

Feb. 20, 2019 


Feb. 19, 2019

7 bombshells from the NYT’s devastating report of Trump’s ‘war’ on the investigations into him

In a new in-depth report Monday on Trump’s efforts to intimidate and defame the investigators, the New York Times documented many new and revealing details of this campaign. While some of the information has been made public before, its narrative account gives new life to both familiar and previously unknown facts that may one day provide the basis for an obstruction of justice charge against the president. Here are 7 key claims from the report. Click above to read details.
  • 1. Trump pressured Whitaker to install a crony to oversee the SDNY investigation.
  • 2. Attorneys for the president dangled pardons to both Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn.
  • 3. Even though Michael Flynn resigned voluntarily, Trump pushed the falsehood that he asked for Flynn’s resignation.
  • 4. White House lawyers warned about Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s spreading of misinformation.
  • 5. Trump claims Rod Rosenstein told him the Michael Cohen investigation had nothing to do with him.
  • 6. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and other Trump allies decided in July 2017 to actively undermine Mueller.
  • 7. Trump has gone after Mueller and the Russia investigation more than 1,100 times in public.

NOT IN MCCABE BOOK: Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said he briefed a bipartisan group of congressional leaders about the FBI’s counterintelligence operation into President Donald Trump in May 2017, and that none of them objected.
“No one objected — not on legal grounds, not on constitutional grounds, and not based on the facts,” he said Tuesday in an interview on NBC’s “Today,” ahead of the release of his book about his time at the FBI under Trump. 


On CNN Tuesday, national security expert Samantha Vinograd wondered if the investigation is still ongoing and what that could mean for potential Russian interference in US policy. 
“Is that investigation still ongoing? McCabe has said that the President’s moves to undercut investigations, to believe Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence officials, to make personnel decisions based on Russia related matters, all led to this investigation,” Vinograd observed. 
“McCabe would have laid that out before the Gang of Eight. But just in the past few days, the counterintelligence red flags are flying a lot higher than they did arguably than when this investigation was first launched,” she pointed out. 

“And that this investigation is continuing and there is still a chance that Vladimir Putin is controlling the White House.

“Four out of ten Americans are still okay with the lies every day, the racism every day,” Joe Scarborough today.

Feb. 18, 2019

This is what I added to my Feb. 16th story:

McCabe said Rosenstein raised the idea of using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump out of concern about the president’s “capacity and about his intent at that point in time.”

The key words, above, from a mental health perspective, are “capacity” and from the concern over President Trump’s loyalty, “intent.”
For once I agree with Lindsay Graham (on CBS “Face the Nation”):
Graham called the idea of invoking the 25th Amendment “beyond stunning.”
Indeed, the very idea that Trump’s psychological impairment might justify removal from office is beyond stunning. That there was evidence being taken seriously by experienced  intelligence experts to ponder taking such a step is staggering and mind-boggling.
Then, there’s this:

Trump insisted intelligence reports that North Korea had launched an ICBM were incorrect because Putin had told him that North Korea did not have that capability, the book says, per The Washington Post.

The most innocent explanation of this is that Trump does not have the judgment to think rationally about an issue vital to national security, that he took the word of the leader of a nation which is an adversary over his own intelligence experts. Is it any wonder that those aware of this were considering invoking the 25th Amendment because of mental incapacity?
Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff for the Defense Department and the CIA under Barack Obama told Michelle Wallace on MSNBC today: “Think about this, Putin says to an American president, ’I don’t want you to take seriously the threat of an ICBM from North Korea.’” He said that Putin’s motives would be to “undermine U.S. intelligence. More  fundamentally, the Russian Federation has had a long-standing agenda to stop the United States from building national missile defenses because those defenses could defend our territory from Russian ICBMs.” He said that Trump heeding Putin’s advice represents a “very dangerous situation.”

Watch Ivanka Trump sit in stony silence as Germany’s Angela Merkel rips her father’s trade war with Europe