Donald Trump is planning on using a long-familiar tactic gleaned from his years as a litigious real-estate developer in a last resort attempt to fight back against the Democrats, who now have him squarely in the sights of their rapidly escalating impeachment efforts.
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He told reporters today that he was seriously mulling filing a “major lawsuit” against unspecified defendants involved in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of his administration and once again whined that Mueller and his team had treated him and his staff unfairly.
“We’ve been investigating on a personal basis, through Rudy [Giuliani] and others, lawyers, corruption in the 2016 election. We’ve been investigating corruption because I probably will, I was going to definitely, but I probably will be bringing a lot of litigation against a lot of people having to do with the corrupt investigation having to do with the 2016 election,” Trump said during today’s press conference with President Sauli Niinistö of Finland.
“I’ve been looking at that long and hard for a long period of time, how it started, why it started, it should never happen to another president, ever, but I’ve been talking about it from the standpoint of bringing a major lawsuit, and I’ve been talking about it for a long time,” he continued.
If the president follows through on his threat, not only will the Washington DC legal community begin making plans to purchase their next batch of yachts and vacation homes but the government workers who were involved with the investigations of the Trump campaign that landed multiple senior campaign staffers in prison will need to hire attorneys to defend themselves against the president’s retaliatory lawsuits.
Trump is likely taking a lesson in how to intimidate his political opponents from the nation of Singapore where the ruling People’s Action Party has maintained single-party control of the government since it gained independence over 50 years ago through a coordinated strategy of suing opposition candidates for libel whenever they would make statements criticizing the policies of the incumbents in power.
A compliant judiciary appointed by the ruling party ensures that their suits will be successful and the financial burdens of the resulting penalties have the effect of bankrupting opposition politicians and discouraging any serious challengers to their hold on power.
Trump apparently intends to follow a similar strategy by making life miserable for his investigators through the kind of nuisance lawsuits that are likely unwinnable under the U.S. justice system but will leech his opponents of time and money while they defend themselves from the president’s baseless charges.
The president claimed that he had “every right” to file lawsuits “because the way they treated me and other people, they’ve destroyed people, they’ve destroyed their lives with a phony charge that never existed, and that was collusion.”
“They came down to Washington to do a great job, and they left Washington dark, they were dark,” he added of his staffers who were caught up in the Mueller investigation.
“They came down here, I say bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, they wanted to do a great job for the people,” he said. “And then they get served with subpoenas, all these subpoenas.”
Trump’s “eye for an eye” philosophy ignores the fact that the people he intends to target with his vindictive legal actions were innocent civil servants doing their duties as public servants, while, as the most recent revelations in the Ukraine scandal indicate, he and his team have the ethical standards of a snake oil salesman — and that’s ignoring the high probability of his guilt as the Mueller report stopped inches short of indictment due to the Justice Department’s policy against putting a sitting president on trial.
Beyond the targeting of the prosecutors and FBI agents involved in the special counsel’s probe, Trump is likely to start unleashing his legal attack dogs on members of Congress as well, if Rudy Giuliani’s recent comments on Fox News last night are any indication.
“I had a couple of talks with civil rights lawyers and a constitutional lawyer today and here’s what they’re recommending: that we should bring a lawsuit on behalf of the president and several of the people in the administration, maybe even myself as a lawyer, against the members of Congress individually for violating constitutional rights, violating civil rights,” Giuliani said, describing Democratic representatives in the House as “worse than McCarthy.”
Trump is behaving just like the cornered rat that he has become. The House Democrats seeking his removal should move as expeditiously as possible before Trump has the opportunity to bring financial ruin upon any of the law enforcement officials who have uncovered the details of his massive corruption.
You can watch Trump make his litigious threats in the video clips below.
Trump says Nancy Pelosi hands out subpoenas "like cookies" pic.twitter.com/anx2eqRgj8
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 2, 2019
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Original reporting by Tal Axelrod at The Hill.