Posts Tagged ‘Trump’

Client in Chief: The Nightmare of Lawyering for Trump

Friday, July 14th, 2017
A 'TITANIC' LEGAL TASK: MANAGING TRUMP

Washington Post app headline of July 14, 2017

Here’s something you already knew: “managing Trump” is a “‘titanic’ legal task.” That’s from the app-based headline for the this Washington Post story: Trump’s legal team faces tensions — and a client who often takes his own counsel.

I’ve actually thought often about what it would be like to have Donald Trump as a client. I can guess it would be like my single worst, most stressful day of practice — but maybe four to six days every single week.

So it’s not surprising that the WaPo reported “After one meeting in which [Trump's lawyers] urged Trump to steer clear of a certain topic, he sent a tweet about that very theme before they arrived back at their office.”

The WaPo story contains this quote from Trump campaign advsier Barry Bennett, which I think goes to the heart of the matter. About the 2016 campaign, he said, “do you know how many times people came to him and said, ‘That was lethal, you’re never going to survive it’? Every time, he survived. When somebody tells him he can’t do something, he’s at a minimum circumspect.”

No doubt.

If you’ve had a long lifetime of things working out amazingly no matter how much advice you’ve flaunted, I can see that the lack of motivation to hang on every admonition of your lawyer.

Free-Expression Organization Sues Trump Over Blocking People From @realDonaldTrump on Twitter

Friday, July 14th, 2017

partial screengrab of Trump Twitter pageThe Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, along with a number of individuals, has sued President Donald Trump in the federal court for blocking users from his Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump. The organization said in a statement, “President Trump and his communications team are violating the First Amendment by blocking individuals from the Twitter account because they criticized the president or his policies.”

The Knight Institute points out that Trump advisors have said @realDonaldTrump tweets are “official statements,” and the organization argues that the president’s Twitter account is a “public forum,” as that term is understood in First Amendment law.

The complaint [pdf] filed in the Southern District of New York alleges:

President Trump’s Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, has become an important source of news and information about the government, and an important public forum for speech by, to, and about the President. In an effort to suppress dissent in this forum, Defendants have excluded — “blocked” — Twitter users who have criticized the President or his policies. This practice is unconstitutional, and this suit seeks to end it.

The lawsuit seems to me to have clear merit. Consider what it means to be blocked on Twitter. According to Twitter support:

“Blocked accounts cannot:

  • Follow you
  • View your Tweets when logged in on Twitter (unless they report you, and your Tweets mention them)
  • Find your Tweets in search when logged in on Twitter
  • Send Direct Messages to you
  • View your following or followers lists, likes or lists when logged in on Twitter
  • View a Moment you’ve created when logged in on Twitter
  • Add your Twitter account to their lists
  • Tag you in a photo”

Of course, it is possible to see President Trump’s tweets even after being blocked by logging out of Twitter. But as the list above makes clear, that’s far from a complete work around for free-speech participation. Also, interestingly, Twitter support says blocked accounts don’t receive a notification letting them know they’ve been blocked.

The Knight Institute is new. It was started last year by Columbia University and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It’s aim is “to defend and strengthen the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age through strategic litigation, research, and public education.”

I expect the Knight Institute to prevail, but it is disappointing a lawsuit is necessary and that this could not have been solved by the White House exercising self-restraint. As is so commonly the case, those who so enthusiastically embrace their own expressive freedoms are often quick to dismiss or trammel others’.

Trump Daily Mail Suit, Causation Problems

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

Daily Mail logo

Good Morning America just had a piece on Melania Trump’s lawsuit against the UK’s Daily Mail, relaying that “experts say this is uncharted territory for the office of the First Lady.”

They’ve got that right. It’s a new world with an ultra-litigious television-celebrity family in the White House.

I found this interesting: The GMA report included footage from an October 2016 interview in which Ms. Trump says, “I didn’t expect media would be so dishonest and so mean. I didn’t expect that. Also for me, from the beginning, I never had one correct story, one honest story.”

That would seem to undercut the causation theory for damages stemming from the Daily Mail’s publication. If no one’s published an honest story about Ms. Trump, then how is the Daily Mail story the straw that broke the camel’s back for Ms. Trump’s multi-million-dollar endorsement deals?

More coverage: