Showing posts with label Jack Smith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jack Smith. Show all posts

April 5, 2023

Stage Four Legal Cancer: Trump admitted he committed a much bigger crime than stealing the documents

 By Hal Brown

These are the words he used:

Click image above to go to tweet

“God bless you all. I never thought anything like this could happen in America,” he said, adding that the only crime he’s committed is trying “to defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it.”

Jack Smith might ask the jury that if Trump literally stood on a gallows, put a noose around Mike Pence's neck, and opened the trapdoor under his feet, and then said he didn't commit a crime because he was defending the nation, did this justify what he did.

Trump, it has been pointed out by some in the media, already admitted he took the documents (saying that he could do so because he could declassify them just by thinking the thought) even though taking any documents, top secret or not, is against the law. (See "Trump appears to concede he illegally retained official documents'")

This will make things easy for Jack Smith to indict on the Mar-a-Lago documents case. It shows that Trump knew all about taking the documents, supposedly thinking he had a right to do so, and once he was disabused of this false belief or claim, still refused to return them. This is obstruction, a serious felony. Add all this together we have Michael Jordan levels of several game winning slam dunks for Jack Smith.

This is one of the two cases Smith is working on. From what we know it is seems to be easy to win. 

The other federal case is Trump's involvement and legal culpability in the January 6th insurrection. This may include things he did on the days prior to January 6th, but centers around how he incited the audience at his rally earlier in the day to march to the Capitol and engage in a violent attempt to stop Mike Pence from certifying the election of President Biden.

His statement is an admission of culpability in committing a crime, really crimes, far more significant than the admission in the documents case. It is an admission that he is aware he has committed crimes related to everything he did in an attempt to remain in power despite losing the election. This goes far beyond just trying to find the extra votes in Georgia through fraud. It involves inciting, aiding, and abetting the Jan. 6th insurrection, and an attempt to undermine the Constitution and the peaceful transfer of powers.

These are the only "crimes" that could be what he said would involve his "fearlessly" defending the nation from those seeking to destroy it.

A jury hearing and reading the many hyperbolic claims that Trump made without him as president the country would be destroyed ought to be persuaded to take him at his words. 

In the "only crime I committed" statement he is admitting that he knew what he did to remain in power was a crime.

Jack Smith isn't the only prosecutor for whom Trump has offered up a prosecutorial ammunition on a silver platter. Not only does Fani Willis have a tape of Trump asking Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to recalculate the state's vote in his favorbut Trump said it was an "absolutely PERFECT (sic) call."

Aside from the fact that Trump has to contend with high profile four cases against him he also has two civil suits, ones from Eric Swallwell and from Rep. Bennie Thompson about the insurrection. 

Trump has two years where he'll be slogging though one legal tarpit after another. Through this period he will be trying to put on his warrior face as a fearless presidential candidate.

He's set up this Superman image of himself in his iconography (see the illustration of some of his digital trading cards) and his self-aggrandizing rally speeches and rhetorical like  "I am your warrior. I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed: I am your retribution” from his CPAC speech.

Trump will have to strike a pose of being the aggrieved victim without looking like he is experiencing the least bit of fear. Lindsay Graham can get tearful on his behalf, but don't expect Trump's eyes to moisten let alone shed a tear. I have my doubts if his tear ducts are even functional.

No matter how stressed out or anxious he may be feeling - or not be feeling (see below for two previous blogs about what Trump may or may not feel) it is important to note that denial is a primitive defense mechanism. It is brittle and the one most easily to shatter when hit by the ball-peen hammer of reality.

As his legal woes metastasize like various types of cancer from the equivalent of a squamish cell lesion which is uncomfortably treated but easily cured to the aggressive and deadly brain cancer known as glioblastoma which took John McCain's life. 

We may not know for some time what Jack Smith will charge Trump with, if anything. However, if it is something akin to inciting a resurrection in an attempt to overturn an election sticking with the cancer metaphor, for Trump this will be the near equivalent of having to try to survive a stage four malignancy.

Related blogs:

Nobody knows for certain how Trump feels except Trump


Michael Cohen and others claim to know what's in Trump's headspace. They don't.

Addendum: It isn't just American tabloids which have fun with their covers about Trump. Below is the UK Daily Mirror.
They also have an article about Melania and Ivanka not being seen at his post-arraignment Mar-a-Lago speech which they call a rant.


Donald Trump's wife Melania and daughter Ivanka were nowhere to be seen as the former President lashed out at prosecutors and the judge after his historic arrest.

After his appearance at court on Tuesday, April 4, loudmouth Trump returned to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida where he addressed friends, family and supporters and lavished praise on members of his family.

Blogs are also posted on Booksie and Medium.

Thanks for reading. Scroll down to make comments and share on social media. The archives and tags are on the bottom. 

April 4, 2023

Michael Cohen and others claim to know what's in Trump's headspace. They don't..

 By Hal Brown

We know how Trump wants people to see him. The digital trading cards are in contrast to the photo he choose to be on "The Art of the Deal" cover. 
We might conclude that something in his mind changed between 1987 when the book was published and when he put out his digital cards. Then again, we also might say that the "I'm Superman" narcissistic grandiosity has been an underlying, perhaps driving part, of Trump's personality all of his adult life. It's probably more accurate to say that the choice of the photo on his book cover was a considered marketing decision approved by Trump but that experts at Random House, the publisher, persuaded him to use this one.

All someone like me, who practiced as a psychotherapist for 40 years, or anybody else can do is make educated guesses about what motivates Trump and what he is feeling. For example, many people say he has been frequently motivated by money. On the surface this makes sense. However, nobody, not even Trump himself, knows what money unconsciously represents to him. Even a psychoanalyst would be making an educated guess.

We see what he does but when we delve into the feelings and psychodynamics underlying his behaviors we are in an unknowable realm.

For example, this was the top story on HUFFPOST this morning:


“Diaper Donald will be filling up that diaper, because this is not something that Donald is capable of either understanding or contending with,” Cohen, who worked closely with Trump as his personal attorney for more than a decade, told Ari Melber on Monday on MSNBC’s “The Beat.”

“He believes he could control every situation. This is not a situation that he has any control over, and that’s making him sick to his stomach,” he added. “I think right now he’s beyond petrified.”
There's nothing in the above (taking the diaper remark as a metaphor of course) that Cohen absolutely 100% for certain knows. Even saying that Trump believes he could control every situation, which sounds accurate on the face of it, ought to include modifiers like usually or ought to.

I wrote the following as a comment to the article:

All people like Cohen can do is speculate on what Trump is actually feeling, on the emotions he is experiencing. All anyone knows for certain is what is observable. Let's not forget that he is posting all cap messages on Truth Social in the wee hours of the night. This could be performative but it is a fact that the time stamp say it is, for example, 3AM. Trump has been an actor for decades. Even trying to analyze his facial expressions, even if he tears up, even if his sing-song voice quivers this is an exercise in drawing a conclusion about what is in what Cohen calls his headspace. Add to this imprecision is the possibility his feelings may vacillate. He may experience fleeting anxiety but then may push these feelings down (into the unconscious) and replaces them with anger. Like anyone he has psychological defense mechanisms, the most primitive of these is denial and another is projection. More about this here:

I admit that part of why I did this was to promote my blog. However this speculation in the media continues to be rampant so I thought a reprise of what I wrote in the blog from April 2, was warranted.

This is what Omarosa Manigault Newman told Joy Reid (video here):

Donald Trump is approaching his arraignment in a Manhattan courtroom. "Yes, he is going to try to pivot and distract and make you all think that he's not upset or nervous, but Donald Trump is terrified,” Omarosa Manigault Newman tells Joy Reid. “I can just certainly tell by his telltale signs... he doesn't look well."

You can look at Trump's posture, for example, and make an educated guess as to how he feels. For example these are from The Washington Post:

Click to enlarge

These are the photos the two New York City tabloids used:

You can also make your own conclusions based on what Trump isn't doing in these photos. For example, below he is waving but not smiling at cameras he knows are taking pictures of him. 

On Fox News with  Sean Hannity Trump said (about the documents at Mar-a-Lago) "I would have the right to take stuff, I have the right to do stuff." Talking heads, for example on Morning Joe, are pointing out that this was basically him admitting to having done something being investigated by Jack Smith. 
We can conclude that admitting something that will be likely be used against him should the documents case go to court shows poor judgement. We can with a high degree of confidence say that in his "headspace" or gut when he said these words he wasn't experiencing anxiety. What we don't know is that whether or not just below the surface of awareness anxiety was roiling around in what is sometimes referred to as the preconscious mind (see below). 

Here's the public domain iceberg graphic
of the mind I used in my other blog story.

Al Sharpton, also on Morning Joe, said Trump is humiliated. Again this is a speculation about what Trump feels. He said people underestimate the effect this has on Trump psychologically. It would be correct to say that if Trump was like the vast majority of people this and all these conclusions would be accurate. 

Here's someone else assuming they know what Trump is feeling (From Raw Story)

"The View" co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin worked for Donald Trump in the White House, and she's not buying reports that he's calmly relishing his legal predicament...
..."I know him well enough to know he is not loving this. He is spiraling. As someone, who despite his terrible actions, does think about legacy and how he is perceived. Now, his life, whether it's his obituary, is going to say he was indicted, the first American president to be."

Trump isn't psychologically like most people. See my Daily Kos essay from 2020 

Add a section to the DSM-5. It doesn't come close to having a category for Trump.

The closest anyone might come to understanding what is in Trump's unconscious mind is if he honestly told them about his dreams. This is what Freud called the royal road to the unconscious in The Interpretation of Dreams.
Nobody but Trump, and Melania if she sleeps with him, knows if he is awakening at night screaming from having nightmares.

Updates: Trump leaving Trump Tower on way to courthouse:

He waved when he was entering the courthouse but his face remained as it was in other photos taken earlier.

Get it? A rain man...

'He looks sad': CNN panel sees reality 'sinking in' on Trump's face

Is he sad or maybe just tired? After all he is posting on Truth Social in the middle of the night. The panelists said he had to feel lonely too. They would feel lonely in a similar situation. Most people would. At the risk of repeating myself, Trump is not most people.

So many in the media are making assumptions abut Trump's emotions  based on what they and everyone they know would feel. He could be feelings this way, but he may not.

Andrea Mitchel on MSNBC just got got it right. She asked if Donald Trump is different and does he process things differently. She asked whether these things penetrate.

Trump just leaving and heading to courtroom where the indictment will be read and he will plead:
The MSNBC commentators observing the pictures below are saying that this is what Trump didn't want televised. They were taken prior to the cameras being removed from the courtroom. They are saying that he looks like someone reacting to being is a situation he doesn't want to be in. 

This is the most expressive screenshot.

March 22, 2023

Nixon was brought down by tapes. It could happen to Trump

 By Hal Brown

The original Nixon White House tape recorder is shown in an undated handout photo. (National Archives via AP)

One word stood out in this Salon article:

Judge orders Trump lawyer to reveal evidence in “criminal scheme” — and there may be tapes: report

Judge rules Trump duped his own lawyers in Mar-a-Lago case, orders attorney to testify and turn over transcriptions

Howell also ordered Corcoran to turn over records related to what she described as Trump's alleged "criminal scheme," according to the report. The report also revealed that Corcoran may have recorded his discussions with Trump, noting that the records include "handwritten notes, invoices and transcriptions of personal audio recordings."

Corcoran is the Trump lawyer that has been order to testify and turn over documents.

Here's more from Salon:

Former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman said the evidence "could be absolutely dynamite."

"It appears that Corcoran took notes & maybe RECORDED Trump, his client (sense a pattern of mistrust by Trump lawyers?)," Litman tweeted. "If doc or taped evid shows Trump knows the subpoena is false, that is killer."

Note that the word "recorded" is in all caps.

Here's another article:

Prosecutors have said they have reason to believe efforts were made to "obstruct" their investigation. 

They want to ask Corcoran about an alleged call he had with Trump on June 24, 2022, around the time investigators were seeking to secure documents at Trump's home and video surveillance tapes of Mar-a-Lago, CBS News reported.

"Those could be very incriminating phone calls by themselves," Cunningham said. "If that material is handed over, that could be by itself enough to indict [Trump], quite possibly enough to send him to prison."

The word recorded and references to recordings immediately brought to mind the Nixon Oval Office tapes.

Hopefully everyone reading this is old enough to remember what they were or familiar with the history of Watergate. 

The release of the tape, 18 minute gap notwithstanding, led to this:

and eventually to this:

There was one recording of Trump that we know of that could have prevented him from becoming president in the first place. I don't need to reference it because I am not sure how many asterisks I should use in the word that showed how he objectified women. 

Of course nobody uses tapes these digital days, but you get the idea. It is possible that the recording from attorney Corcoran added to the recording Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (which you can lister to here) is a different case end up leading to the beginning of the end for Donald Trump.

One thing is for certain, if he goes down and ends up being given jail time, he won't be leaving Mar-a-Lago on a Marine helicopter (designated as Marine One if the president is onboard). 

Does the GOP choice boil down to being between a psychopathic fascist or a sane one?

 By Hal Brown, MSW, Caricatures by DonkeyHotey Click above to enlarge.  The DoneyHotey caricatures show DeSantis looking sane  and Trump loo...