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Ocelot II

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Member since: Mon Oct 27, 2003, 12:54 AM
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Actually it isn't. It's an argument that the president was acting

within the scope of his presidency when he said what he said, not that it was OK to say it. If he was acting in that capacity the government is obligated to raise a defense on his behalf and substitute itself as the defendant. The catch, of course, is that the government can't be sued for defamation, so the government would be off the hook for damages. in Clinton v. Jones, the Supreme Court case held that a sitting president of the United States is not immune from litigation for acts done before taking office and unrelated to the office, but this is a case involving an act done while the president was in office. So they have to rely on Nixon v. Fitzgerald, which held that a president is absolutely immune from litigation for discretionary acts done while in office. The decision is very broad, and although it doesn't define exactly which activities Fitzgerald covers, the case is generally interpreted to mean that as long the action is within the broadest understanding of the president's function as president, he's immune. The reason the appeal is being taken by the current DoJ is not to protect Trump but to determine, by an appellate court, where that line is. The notion that a president can make allegedly libelous statements regarding a situation not related to his function as president is a huge stretch and it will probably fail, as it should. But it is in no regard inappropriate for the DoJ to want to get an answer to the question for the sake of future administrations.

No. Trump's "craziness" consists of some fairly extreme personality disorders

but he's not psychotic in a way that would support an insanity defense (which rarely works anyhow). Gigante feigned mental incompetence as if he was developmentally disabled rather than psychotic; he shuffled around in a bathrobe, mumbling to himself, and acting as if he didn't understand what was going on around him; his lawyers claimed he had been mentally disabled since the late 1960's, with a below-normal I.Q. of 69 to 72. He was willing to publicly humiliate himself in a way that Trump would never, ever do. Trump, however, is a malignant narcissist who apparently has managed to convince himself that he won the election because his disorder won't permit him to acknowledge he lost. But he would never allow his lawyers to raise an insanity defense, and he isn't legally insane (unable to understand the nature and consequence of his actions) even though he is certainly not normal.

A somewhat similar case is that of Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian white supremacist who, in 2011, killed eight people by detonating a bomb in Oslo, then killing 69 young people at a summer camp. Initially he was diagnosed as schizophrenic, but a second psychiatric evaluation determined he had narcissistic personality disorder but was legally sane. Breivik was outraged at the initial diagnosis that he was mentally ill, even though it would have kept him out of prison. He "expressed hope at being declared sane in a letter sent to several Norwegian newspapers shortly before his trial, he wrote about the prospect of being sent to a psychiatric ward: "I must admit this is the worst thing that could have happened to me as it is the ultimate humiliation. To send a political activist to a mental hospital is more sadistic and evil than to kill him! It is a fate worse than death." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_Behring_Breivik I think Trump would be equally outraged at the idea of raising an insanity defense.
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