Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Unusual Legal Theories Arising From The Trump/Russia Investigation

Among the legal privileges being claimed by the Trump White House:

Attorney Client Privilege: for conversations between Trump and his son Donald Jr. neither of whom are lawyers... Conversations in question were allegedly about how Donald Jr. could deny he'd had meetings with Russian spies when he did have meetings with Russian spies.*

Executive Privilege: commonly claimed by presidents and White Houses in the past for confidential communications with White House staff or outside advisors. But this privilege is being demanded for emails on .gov transition servers for communications during the period before Trump was president. (Does this mean Obama or W or Bill could claim executive privilege for communications after they left office? They could at least claim the title "President" for those communications.)

Right to Privacy: a sacred Constitutional right claimed by presidents and ordinary private citizens. What is odd is how the Trump team flouts that right when they applaud the hacking and release of Democrats' private messages when it's done by Russian spy agencies but demand that absolute right to privacy when they want to cover up their own communications with these same Russian spies and prevent the FBI from using them as evidence of collusion or conspiracy or treason.

Another odd hypocrisy:

With regard to the private emails and texts between two FBI employees: no privacy rights say Trump's lawyers.

But there is a sacred and profound and absolute right to privacy when it comes to Trump campaign officials communicating about their relations and dealings with Russian spies. Even when their communications were conducted on .gov servers during the transition period, and they were informed that all such communications could not be protected from criminal investigations.

So... to summarize:

If you are Trump or working for Trump and are conspiring with Russian spies you are absolutely safe from the scrutiny of the FBI or other law enforcement agencies of the U.S. government.

But if you work for the FBI or other law enforcement agencies your private, personal, non-work-related emails with your closest personal friends about your private personal constitutionally protected political opinions are not protected at all and may be selectively weaponized against you (and your boss who had nothing to do with them) and may be used to derail your career and march your ass off to work in HR purgatory.

(Agent Strzok, the former top FBI counterespionage agent now working in HR, appears to have lost his job because he was not a Trump fan and in fact found his dealings with Russian spies worrying and possibly illegal(!). But he was not a Hillary supporter either. Did not like the Clintons. He was not a Sanders supporter––he expressed contempt for Bernie in at least one unreleased email. He was, in fact, planning to vote for John Kasich. Which raises the question: Will all Kasich supporters in the FBI be exiled to HR or the FBI office in Twin Falls?)

*Attorney Client Privilege: Donald Jr.'s claim of attorney client privilege over talks with daddy could possibly be explained by phonetic confusion. In some parts of Queens the word "lawyer" is pronounced in a way that sounds very much like "liar." But in those parts of Queens the distinction between lawyers and liars is often very hard to make.

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