It Looks Like Donald Trump Was Betrayed By Another One Of His Lawyers, Someone Else…Or Himself

Just because Trump is paranoid doesn’t mean almost everyone around him isn’t trying to stab him in the back.

From the New York Times:

Shortly after turning over 15 boxes of government material to the National Archives in January, former President Donald J. Trump directed a lawyer working for him to tell the archives that he had returned all the documents he had taken from the White House at the end of his presidency, according to two people familiar with the discussion.

The lawyer, Alex Cannon, had become a point of contact for officials with the National Archives, who had tried for months to get Mr. Trump to return presidential records that he failed to turn over upon leaving office. Mr. Cannon declined to convey Mr. Trump’s message to the archives because he was not sure if it was true, the people said.

The story was leaked to, naturally, Maggie Haberman, the full-time Trump Fury on the Times staff. She’s currently peddling a book full of anti-Trump tales, gossip and embarrassments. A lot of her stories over the last six years have been about what the President supposedly said behind closed door, or suggested, or asked others to do, none of which actually came to anything but the point is to make Trump look bad, dangerous or stupid. Of course, ethical aides, associates and lawyer don’t tell hostile reporters (or anyone at all) about such conversations because they are in the positions they are because the President trusts them. Donald Trump has been betrayed by such people more times, I would estimate, than all of the last six Presidents combined.

A typical Trump-Derangement victim would doubtless say at this point, “Good! He deserves it!” And I would reply, “You know less about ethical principles than I know about the dew-point of feldspar. Get lost. You’re a blight on the culture, and your existence offends me.”

Lawyers have an extra layer of required loyalty and confidentiallity beyond those of average non-lawyer associates of public figures, who have plenty. The President’s lawyers, like all lawyers, are required to keep their client’s communications regarding all matters confidential (the District of Columbia is especially strict on this point) and direct instructions from a client requiring a lawyer’s judgment and advice are privileged. The communication the Times describes was almost certainly privileged. It is unlikely this story could it legitimately appear in the New York Times unless Alex Cannon failed his duty to protect client confidences.

If he leaked the tale to the reporters or anyone else, it is a serious breach of trust and an ethics violation. A lawyer friend who knows his rules suggests that the leakers were witnesses to the conversation, not Cannon; if such individuals are necessary to the conversation and topic—a secretary taking notes would qualify–the presence of a third party wouldn’t alter the protected nature of the discussion. Believing this requires the assumption that Donald Trump, after all of his dealings with lawyer and after all of the leaks and betrayals he has suffered from, doesn’t know enough to keep his conversations with his lawyers private and  just between the lawyer and him. I find it hard to believe that after all of Trump’s experience with lawyers, the “Deep State” and backstabbing associates, he would still be that careless…but you know: Trump.

Cannon, as Trump’s lawyer, had an obligation to protect his client from himself if necessary. The second a client starts talking substance regarding a legal matter, a competent lawyer tells him to zip it and clear the room….especially if the client is Donald Trump, whom people apparently love to stab in the back. If there is someone the client wants in the room, then the lawyer at very least had to take reasonable steps to make sure that the individual privy to a privileged or confidential conversation knows they can’t blab it to a spouse or the grocery clerk.

If my friend is right, how did the “two people familiar with the discussion” know why Cannon decided not to follow Trump’s instructions? Again, if Trump is an idiot, he might have told “two people” about the discussion with his lawyer who he shouldn’t have trusted, which in Trump’s case means “everybody.”

Meanwhile, we have the journalistic ethics problem of a story relying on “anonymous sources,” which the Times ethics standards formally condemn. But this is Maggie Haberman and the New York Times trying to “get” Donald Trump. Ethics are irrelevant.

7 thoughts on “It Looks Like Donald Trump Was Betrayed By Another One Of His Lawyers, Someone Else…Or Himself

  1. Yup. I wonder what it feels like to be Donald Trump and to have Hollywood, most of the journalism industry, the deep state, and half the country want you dead or out of the picture and be willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen, no matter how objectively wrong it might be.

    I’m trying to think of any kind of historical example to go along with this, but really the only one I can think of off the top of my head is Cato the Censor and his repeated denunciation, after every speech regardless of the subject matter, that “Carthago delenda est,” Carthage must be destroyed. He believed Carthage to be a threat, even though it had now been defeated twice and no longer represented a military force strong enough to contend with Rome, the same as the Democratic Party sees Trump as a threat to both democracy and its continued rule of this country.

    Of course, the Carthaginians, carrying the idiot ball, chose to declare war on one of Rome’s allies in North Africa, when the terms of the peace between them and Rome specifically said they could not declare war without Roman assent. That gave the Romans all the justification they needed. They sacked Carthage and sold its entire population into slavery, although the legend that they sowed the earth with salt so that nothing could ever grow again and placed a curse on the site is just that, a legend.

    The scary thing is that I can definitely see a lot of those opposed to Trump wanting him dead, every piece of property he owned sold, his name erased from public view, and the fact that he was ever a force in American society forgotten.

    I wonder if too many people have been watching too many episodes of Game of Thrones or whatever other non-realistic series (Rings of Power is getting there) are out there, and picking up too much of the wrong ideas from a wrongly run series that relied too much on shocking violence and too little on plot. I think we all know that we aren’t going to kill someone in a fair fight just because we disagree with them, but that’s frankly the least of it. You’re not going to burn someone at the stake for not seeing things sufficiently your way. You’re not going to slip someone poisoned wine and watch his face contort in a disgusting manner in retaliation for a prior scheme. You’re not going to serve your enemy his children in a meat pie before you cut his throat. You’re not going to tie someone to a chair and release his own starved hounds to tear him apart. You’re not going to murder your enemy, his family, his wife, his unborn child, and all his followers just as he is about to marry the love of his life. You’re also not going to stand over a beaten and captured enemy and tell him that you’re going to keep him alive while you wipe out his entire race just so that you can then kill him with the last thing he knows being that he is the last of his kind. You’re definitely not going to burn an entire city to the ground even though it has already surrendered.

    As a fantasy writer myself, I have to say I wonder just what goes on in the minds of writers who come up with these things. All but one of the items on that list come from The Game of Thrones series as interpreted for television, for a time one of the most popular shows on the tube until it outpaced the books and culminated in that misfired final season. I don’t think it would be amiss to say that some of these ideas probably leached into the minds of the viewers. It’s really not a far step from watching that sort of thing and cheering that sort of thing to kicking someone in the head and never letting him see it coming or opening up someone’s head with a metal baton driving a car through a parade with the intent of hitting as many people as possible. Heck, those actions are small potatoes compared to what’s on the small screen. It certainly no small step from that sort of thing to betrayal and the politics of personal destruction.

    Way back in 2016 and early 2017 those angered at Trump’s election and irrational about it said that we could never allow something like Trump to be normalized. I have to say, I think that goal has come at the expense of normalizing a lot of other things that are not good for America or society in general. Some might say that chief among them is the targeting of one specific individual and the suspension of any and all rules, principles, and guidelines of reasonable behavior, but I’d say that equal to that is the normalization of a dualism where what you do is not good or bad objectively, but completely draws it’s moral and ethical coloration from who and what it is directed against. C.S. Lewis was already heading in that direction in the last Narnia book in which Christ expy Aslan tells someone from the other side who was basically good that he and Devil expy Tash are of such different kinds that nothing good can be done in Tash’s name and nothing bad can be done in Aslan’s, so if you swore by the devil and kept your promise, It is by God that you have sworn and God who will reward you, and if you do a cruelty in God’s name, you’ve really done it in the devil’s name. This is going a step further and saying that, essentially, Trump is worse than the devil, and nothing anyone does that opposes him, no matter how objectively wrong it might be, or who it might harm, is other than right. That’s the thinking of the provisional IRA, that’s the thinking of the communist party, that’s the thinking of the Nazis. It’s perfectly all right to set an IED that ends up killing children as well as police, it’s perfectly all right to shove a helpless prisoner’s face into a full spittoon, and it’s perfectly all right to wipe out a whole faith, as long as you do it in the name of your righteous cause.

    • Wonderful, thoughtful, provocative post, Steve.

      I don’t think the Democrats really think Trump is a threat to democracy. They see him as a threat to their domination, a very VERY flawed adversary who somehow has the guts and appeal to derail their dream of a woke, socialist/Marxist, internationalist one-party government. And he is.

      • Well, that’s what they SAY, anyway. I don’t believe it for a second, but that’s their story and they’re sticking to it. And thanks.

        • I’ll have it up as a COTD later, though I’m sure “A Friend” will object. The two Democratic Party last ditch issues they have settled on to try to stave off November just desserts are “Trump is a threat to democracy (though he’s not running)” and “Abortion rights.” Neither is directly relevant to the election—I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a weak strategy. They are so desperate they are even trying the old “The Republicans want to take away Social Security!” canard.

          If the GOP can’t surge under these conditions, it should just give up.

          • Well, “we hate the president” seemed like a pretty weak platform 2 years ago, but it was enough to put Joe Biden over the top. I think it is a mistake to underestimate the power of getting people frothing with anger or hatred. Do I think that voting based on anger or hatred is a good way to do things? No I do not. However, it seems to have become the way to do things in the last decade or so. I think we partly have social media to blame for that, partly Obama for trading on division, and partly the axis of unethical conduct in the last few years. I wish I could say it looked like things were going to get better, but it does not look that way to me right now.

            • Don’t forget that the economy was in the toilet with a Republican in charge,and even with Trump0-ohobia, the GOP House and Senate candidates did very well given the circumstances.

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