DOJ, Apparently Unaware Of 1st Amendment, Threaten Anonymous White House Official About To Release A Book

from the that's-not-how-this-works dept

In the past, when unflattering books about the Trump White House have been about to come out, the President has had one of his personal lawyers (such as the one famous for sending questionable threat letters to various media organizations) send dubious threat letters warning that the book not be published. However, since Trump often seems to think of the DOJ as his personal lawyers, perhaps it's no surprise that the DOJ has now sent a similar threat letter in an attempt to (1) block the publication of an allegedly anonymous White House official, and (2) identify who the individual is.

The book, called "A Warning" is apparently written by the person who last year wrote an anonymous NY Times op-ed revealing how staff in the administration worked to "thwart" parts of Trunmp's agenda to protect the country from his "worst inclinations." From all that's been revealed about the book so far, it sounds as though it won't be difficult for the administration to figure out who the author is based on what's included in the book, but they're still going for broke with this dumb strategy:

The Justice Department is going on the offensive against the anonymous author of "A Warning," telling them in a letter obtained by CNN Business that he or she may be violating "one or more nondisclosure agreements" by writing the anti-Trump book.

[.....]

"If the author is, in fact, a current or former 'senior official' in the Trump Administration, publication of the book may violate that official's legal obligations under one or more nondisclosure agreements, including nondisclosure agreements that are routinely required with respect to information obtained in the course of one's official responsibilities or as a condition for access to classified information," assistant attorney general Joseph H. Hunt wrote in the letter.

"Such agreements typically require that any written work potentially containing protected information be submitted for pre-publication review," Hunt added.

First off, this isn't how the 1st Amendment works (nor is it how the DOJ is supposed to act). Hell, even with the Snowden book, the worst the government did was seek to seize his profits. And that was because he actually had signed a lifetime pre-publication review contract, which is common for those in the intelligence community (though, there's an ongoing lawsuit challenging the Constitutionality of such things). Here, they're literally trying to block the publication, which is clearly not allowed under the 1st Amendment -- and they don't seem to have any evidence that this person is in the intelligence community or signed such a contract. In other words, this is bluster on the level that Trump normally employs with his personal lawyers, and not something the DOJ should be engaged in at all.

The DOJ letter does ask the publisher, Hachette, to at least let the DOJ know if the individual had signed a pre-publication review:

"We request that you immediately provide us with your representations that the author did not sign any nondisclosure agreement and that the author did not have access to any classified information in connection with government service," Hunt's letter concluded. "If you cannot make those representations, we ask that you immediately provide either the nondisclosure agreements the author signed or the dates of the author's service and the agencies where the author was employed, so that we may determine the terms of the author's nondisclosure agreements and ensure that they have been followed."

Obviously, asking for the NDA or the dates of service are fairly obvious attempts to figure out who the author is. Again, this is beneath the DOJ.

Indeed, the group PEN America, which works on free expression for writers around the globe, has come out with a dead on, but harsh statement, calling this move "a new low" from this particular administration.

“While we’ve gotten used to seeing President Trump’s private attorneys send letters aimed to intimidate authors and book publishers, for the Justice Department to stoop to such tactics represents a new low. The administration doesn’t know who wrote the book nor what it says. Its claim that a non-disclosure agreement may have been violated is pure speculation.

“Instead, this letter is part of the Trump administration’s ongoing campaign to turn the tables on those who expose and call out its wrongdoing. If it turns out upon publication that the author has violated a legal obligation, the Justice Department can pursue remedies at that point. To try to deter publication or bully the author and publisher are an effort at censorship through the heavy hand of government. Hachette is right to deny this spurious request.”

The DOJ should not be acting as the President's personal censor, and it's shameful that it has agreed to do so.

Filed Under: 1st amendment, anonymous, contracts, doj, donald trump, free speech, nda
Companies: hachette


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Nov 2019 @ 12:06pm

    Show me a law that the Trump administration understands, and I’ll show you a law they’ve either broken or planned on breaking.

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    • identicon
      David, 5 Nov 2019 @ 12:26pm

      Re:

      I don't really see what would prevent Trump to use Executive Privilege do do away with that 2020 election thing, if necessary declaring a state of emergency. The Republicans in the Senate will certainly not admit an impeachment to make it through trial for that sort of thing. Or any sort of thing.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2019 @ 12:48pm

        Re: Re:

        And why not? He's already got his lawyers claiming in court that he's immune to prosecution for murder, and he's got all but a couple of the Republicans in the Senate to the point that any impeachment proceeding that makes it to them would be dismissed with only a cursory review of the charges to give the appearance of seriousness.

        Add that to his rapidly expanding claims of Executive Privilege. All you'd need now is a blockade from the Trade Federation and some electricity-based facial deformity, and presto! US Corporate Empire led by the Commander-In-Tweet.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 5:28am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "All you'd need now is a blockade from the Trade Federation and some electricity-based facial deformity..."

          Trump would be more like the floating fatman from the old dune movie rather than emperor palpatine, i think.

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      • identicon
        bob, 5 Nov 2019 @ 12:48pm

        Re: Re:

        The constitution trumps Trump or any president. So unless the US Government trashes the one document giving it any legitimacy there will be an election.

        I know you are going for a sarcastic comment but knowing Trump me might just try something like that because he won't want to give up power.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Nov 2019 @ 1:01pm

          The constitution trumps Trump or any president.

          The constitution is made of paper. It can be torn or shredded or burned. The ideas written on that paper would still survive, but even those ideas are only as strong as the populace is willing to allow. If the GOP and the Trump administration toss the constitution into a fire, metaphorically or literally, the only thing that could stop them is the populace rising up in (possibly violent) protest.

          The government is a social construct; the only way it works is if we all agree to work by the same rules. But our government wasn’t designed for people who think there are (or should be) no rules — or the people willing to let those people break all the rules without censure or accountability. Trump voters don’t give a single fuck about whether Trump “crosses the line” with his behavior. They’re already willing to let him do whatever he wants so long as he stacks the judiciary with judges who can (and will) shape the country into a conservative's wet dream for an entire generation.

          Trump could outright cancel the 2020 elections today and his base would celebrate. What does an election matter to Trump voters when all they really want is a king — their king — and the influence to help him shape society so that his largest voting base (evangelical White Christians) have all the power and control over everyone else?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2019 @ 1:54pm

            Re:

            This feels like it came from my own brain and it really bums me out to see it typed up by someone else's hands. Really gives you a sense of hopelessness for the present and future.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2019 @ 2:40pm

            Re:

            You're deranged. If Trump tried to cancel the election, he would be ignored and the election would be held. He simply does not have the legal authority to do so.
            Trump's administration is not a personality cult, and he's no certainly no military despot. All of his legal power as President is rooted in the Constitution. If the Constitution is thrown out, all of his privelege and powers as President and Commander in Chief goes with it.
            Why would Trump want to throw out the very thing that is keeping him in power in the first place?!

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Nov 2019 @ 2:53pm

              Trump's administration is not a personality cult

              [citation needed]

              he's no certainly no military despot

              …yet.

              All of his legal power as President is rooted in the Constitution. If the Constitution is thrown out, all of his privelege and powers as President and Commander in Chief goes with it.

              You think the constitution matters to Trump? If he knew he could toss it and become King or Emperor or whatever title he wants — especially if the military was more than willing and eager to back him up — he’d do it in a heartbeat.

              Why would Trump want to throw out the very thing that is keeping him in power in the first place?

              Because that isn't what is keeping him in power. What is keeping him in power is the broad societal construct called "government", and that construct can be torn down at any time. Who the fuck would stop him if he had the military enforcing his edicts — the fucking Supreme Court?

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2019 @ 3:54pm

                Re:

                What is this magical power that you think Trump that would enable him to tear down our society? Yeah government is a societal construct. Trump only gets to be president for as long as the rest of us let him be. What part of that are you having trouble with?

                Who do you think will keep Trump in power, and how will they do it when they'll have no military and no police to make everyone else listen to their orders? Who will help a "president" that has no legal authority? Who the fuck do you think would make TRUMP a dictator?! He doesn't have that much support in any branch of government, the military, or anywhere else that matters!

                Dude. Take your pills. The world you are imagining DOES NOT EXIST. We all hate Trump. But you have slipped into full blown paranoid delusion. There is no way for Trump to call off the election. It can't happen. Calm down.

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Nov 2019 @ 4:09pm

                  What part of that are you having trouble with?

                  The part where the American people get off their asses and get Trump out of office if he decides to metaphorically (or literally) fuck the constitution.

                  Who do you think will keep Trump in power

                  The GOP and White Christian evangelicals.

                  how will they do it when they'll have no military and no police to make everyone else listen to their orders?

                  Right-wing militias.

                  Who will help a "president" that has no legal authority?

                  The GOP, White Christian evangelicals, right-wing militias, and probably those “very fine people” Trump talked about after Charlottesville.

                  There is no way for Trump to call off the election.

                  He can declare a national emergency and suspend elections.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 7:12am

                    Re:

                    You remind me so much of Fox News during the Obama administration. Every time I read your comments I imagine a slightly left-of-center Tucker Carlson, but with even less grounding in reality. Even your username sounds like a pretentious pundit's.

                    Keep piling on the bullshit and adding pins to your conspiracy theory board there, it'll all be for naught. After the election is over I'll be sure to throw this back in your face as often as possible, ya nutter.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 11:02pm

                      Re: Re:

                      It isn't a conspiracy theory, it is quite literally what Trump could do. There seem to be rather enough people on board with him.

                      I didn't see it argued that this is highly likely or anything else of the sort, and no "wake up sheeple" embedded in the argument. Just that the Constitution is conveniently ignored or "interpreted" in interesting ways with some regularity, and a good half of the country would probably be willing to see any such action as "restoring the rule of law" and support their idiot child-in-chief by force of arms and otherwise. And the rest would probably take it, fearing civil war, or the consequences of weakening the nation with such a war or major unrest.

                      It absolutely will happen eventually, why not in the near future? Words on a page will not matter if they are not honestly in the hearts of a majority of United Statesians and our government, military, and corporate powers.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2019 @ 4:10pm

                  Re: Re:

                  Don't worry honey, the Germans are just 'helping' us relocate to a new house, they would never throw us in Concentration camps... said by some clueless Jewish husband to his wife as they are exfiltrated to the Concentration camp...

                  "It would never happen here"... until it does, just you wait

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2019 @ 10:07pm

                Re: honestly honest

                Lololol

                No ones gonna die for that fat fuck.
                Not even his most ardent followers. And they are willing to go pretty far.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 11:07pm

                  Re: Re: honestly honest

                  they wouldn't die for him, although they might make that claim. also they wouldn't imagine themselves as the dying party. they would fight for all he represents that they like. and then likely fight among themselves, working out what the in-group beliefs must include and exclude.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 5:34am

              Re: Re:

              "Trump's administration is not a personality cult, and he's no certainly no military despot."

              As so aptly demonstrated in that particular way he chummed up to Putin and Kim un Jong, right?

              Trump's administration is the very definition of a personality cult since anyone who doesn't blindly kowtow to his whims gets fired. He's cultivated that personality cult for 40 years and it's pretty obvious he hasn't magically changed just because his office switched to pennsylvania avenue.

              His recorded hard-on for military parades in his honor doesn't make him a military despot, true, but his current and prior history certainly indicates that despotism is his default MO.

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          • identicon
            TDR, 6 Nov 2019 @ 12:12pm

            Re:

            Some supposed Christians are his base. Not everyone who follows the cross likes or agrees with him, and its disingenuous and intellectually dishonest of you to lump them all together in a single group like that when you probably don't know nearly as much as you think you do about it. So revise what you said. You wouldn't want you and those you agree with all painted with the same brush, so don't do it to others. Ever. Or do you think it's okay to mistreat and deride someone merely for believing differently than you do? Yes or no?

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            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 2:14pm

              Oh get off the cross already

              Go back and re-read Stephen's comment. Now do it again. Now point me to the part that says all self-identified christians support Trump. I'd say I'll wait but given it's not there I'd be waiting a long time, and I don't have that much patience.

              Seriously, you really need to knock off the hypocrisy. It's an accurate observation that white evangelical christians overwhelmingly support Trump(the numbers I've seen tossed around are in the high 90% range), and as someone telling others not to label people incorrectly it's grossly hypocritical for you to try to pull a 'No Trust Scottsman' by trying to dismiss them as 'supposed christians' just because you don't like their version of christianity(all the more so because I imagine more than a few would say the same of you).

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 2:31pm

              Re: Re:

              I know Christians feuding about Trump right now.

              Technically it's probably about a property issue after someone passed away but they have decided to argue about Trump incessantly as a proxy fight.

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            • icon
              Thad (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 3:18pm

              Re: Re:

              Some supposed Christians are his base.

              Yes.

              The white evangelical ones.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 11:09pm

              Re: Re:

              he said white chritian evangelicals, not all christians. i like the No True Scotsman at the start, though.

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        • identicon
          Qwertygiy, 5 Nov 2019 @ 2:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          As Stephen says, the Constitution itself is nothing more than ideas on paper. It has no actual tangible power. It cannot actively prevent people from acting against it like a form of computer software or some enchanted ring.

          The Constitution (as any other legal document, protection, or rule) is only as powerful as the people who follow it. It relies on the ability of the government to willingly obey it and enforce it, not only upon the general population but upon themselves and their colleagues.

          If the people who are willing to disobey the law and the constitution have greater power than the people who wish to uphold it, there is not much that can be done to prevent it. I find it astronomically impossible that something as drastic as ignoring election results or deploying the military could occur in the United States, but similar situations are currently happening around the world.

          Venezuela is perhaps the most prominent such example, where the Constitutional procedures of the nation were followed to elect Juan Guiado as President, but Nicolas Maduro controls the military and thus controls the nation.

          Historically, the same thing happened in China. The government now located on the island of Taiwan ostensibly ruled over all of China through the 1930's and 1940's, but Japan took control of large sections of the nation by force, and after the war, the Communist Party took control through sheer overwhelming numbers.

          There are many constitutional problems to be considered by the actions of the current administration, but I find it unthinkable that a majority of the Senate, a majority of the House, and a majority of the Supreme Court, at any time in the forseeable future, would all agree to ignore their oath of office and successfully prevent part of the Constitution from being carried out; nor do I find it likely that the commanders of the Armed Forces and the Department of Justice, as well as a majority of the individual members of the Armed Forces and Department of Justice, would follow a large-scale, openly unconstitutional demand from the White House.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2019 @ 11:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The current consensus about the Venezuela situation among western democratic nations is that Maduro rigged the election and the leader of the legislator ousted him via a constitutional amendment. Guido wasn't elected. He is the replacement guy if the elected guy is too corrupt for office for some reason.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2019 @ 11:06pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I meant constitutional process, not constitutional amendment

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 6:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I find it astronomically impossible that something as drastic as ignoring election results or deploying the military could occur in the United States

            Replace "drastic" with "blatent". The USA has a long history of disenfranchising certain voter groups, and with most voting machines we have no way to verify the vote (and an easy way to dismiss problems as merely technical, like "hanging chads"). And why deploy the military when the police are already deployed, and become more and more like the military every day?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2019 @ 2:32pm

        Re: Re:

        That's not how the US government works. The executive branch simply does not have the legal authority to do away with any election, period.

        The election would go on without Trump's participation anyway, and all of his legal authority as president would end when his replacement is sworn in.

        No part of of the election process requires the president's consent or support.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Nov 2019 @ 2:36pm

          The executive branch simply does not have the legal authority to do away with any election, period.

          Who would, or could, stop them if they tried? Yeah, Trump shutting down the 2020 election would be unconstitutional as fuck and certainly grounds for immediate removal from office, but unless someone has a way to enforce that decision other than politely asking him to leave the White House, all anyone else could do about it is complain.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2019 @ 2:44pm

            Re:

            Who would enforce their edicts? They can shout whatever madness they like, they have no power to make it actually happen. The US government is not a monolith. It is perfectly capable of holding an election without the president.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Nov 2019 @ 2:49pm

              Who would enforce their edicts?

              Donald Trump is the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces. Put 2 and 2 together.

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2019 @ 3:16pm

                Re:

                I suspect having the word 'Trump' in eye sight has a tendancy to inhibbit basic rational thinking for some humans. Having it preceeded by the word 'Donald' probably doubles the effectiveness

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2019 @ 3:37pm

                Re:

                I recall comments make by retired military, one a general, which pointed out that generals/admirals pledge allegiance to the constitution and not the president.

                (citation needed)

                I'm not looking it up

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                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 5:39am

                  Re: Re:

                  "I recall comments make by retired military, one a general, which pointed out that generals/admirals pledge allegiance to the constitution and not the president."

                  It's the same oath/requirement which Edward Snowden signed off on. And as he and Drake can both attest when the chips are down much of middle management and senior decisionmakers choose to kowtow to existing bureaucratic structure rather than to a piece of paper.

                  I'm thinking Trump doesn't have the ability to retain office and abolish elections this side of a massive FUD campaign backed by emergency powers, terrorist scares etc....but what he CAN do is to strike the first spark in a civil war.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 6:14am

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    As I recall, the retired general also stated that the military does not follow illegal orders.

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                    • icon
                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 7:05am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "As I recall, the retired general also stated that the military does not follow illegal orders."

                      Yeah. And some hardasses unafraid of deep-sixing their careers might actually do so.
                      As Abu Ghraib and My Lai demonstrated aptly however, there are plenty of military officers who will cheerfully obey any order up to and including torture and mass murder without giving a single thought to whether the order is illegal or not.

                      Mind you there IS a caveat - during GWB's terms of office a number of administrative personnel DID say that the geneva conventions did not apply to american military personnel as long as it had been deemed to be in the national interest. Those claims were never tested in court to my recollection so it's possible, though unlikely, that it is in fact legal for US military to frag kindergartens and nursing homes as long as a sufficiently high white house or pentagon executive gives that order.

                      It all boils down to what would render an order "illegal". The GWB/Cheney team already muddied those waters and Obama failed spectacularly to undo that damage.

                      In theory a presidential executive order has the weight of law until it's overturned by a court. Your retired general would have no recourse but to hit the ground running as ordered until a judge and jury made a different call.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 7:31am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        In theory a presidential executive order has the weight of law until it's overturned by a court.

                        Some do some don't. It depends on the context of the order. There have been thousands of them.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 9:48am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Yes, theory and practice are not the same.
                        I was just being hopeful.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 6:17am

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    "It's the same oath/requirement which Edward Snowden signed off on."

                    I was unaware that government contractors were required to take the oath used in the military.

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                    • icon
                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 6:54am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "I was unaware that government contractors were required to take the oath used in the military."

                      They are.

                      More to the point, Snowden swore the Oath of Office, a.k.a. the Appointment Affidavit, which states, verbatim:

                      "I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

                      I'm pretty sure that's the exact same oath military personnel swear.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 7:03am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Good to know. Also, there is no mention of oath to the prez.

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                        • icon
                          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 7:10am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          "Good to know. Also, there is no mention of oath to the prez."

                          true enough.

                          May I remind you of Abu Ghraib? US military personnel up to and including general level and above gave, and followed those orders, as a direct result of GWB and Cheney ordering "enhanced interrogation".

                          Either Abu Ghraib - and the half dozen similar torture centers under US military jurisdiction and operation - were illegal in which case the military as a whole has very little resistance to obeying such orders.

                          Or they were in fact legal. I'm not sure which of these two options is the more disturbing...

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 9:50am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            Yes, but at least there is nothing saying it is ok. :/

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                            • icon
                              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Nov 2019 @ 4:14am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              "Yes, but at least there is nothing saying it is ok. :/"

                              NOT exactly a good response to a prison manned by US soldiers who went to town in a torture, rape and murder orgy on male and female inmates - who'd been indefinitely held without a hearing or warranted suspicion.

                              Mind you, Cheney is on record as saying words to the effect that not only is torture OK, it is morally positive.

                              So getting back to whether the army would follow an "illegal" order we're still at the point where we don't even know if a white house order COULD be illegal today. Before GWB, sure, after patriot 1 & 2? Dubious. And I'm pretty sure all the US generals can rely on by now is their personal stance on moral vs discipline.

                              Hence my call that if trump decided to invent an emergency and call of elections what would happen might not be a de facto coup as the US army moves in lockstep to his orders...but civil war is an unfortunate possibility.

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                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2019 @ 6:19am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                Agreed.
                                Guess we will see just how insane our fearless leaders are.

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                                • icon
                                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Nov 2019 @ 7:23am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                  "Guess we will see just how insane our fearless leaders are."

                                  Well, at least none of them are Kim Jong Un.

                                  Although Trump probably wishes that he was, judging by the last 40 years of his behavior.

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        • identicon
          David, 5 Nov 2019 @ 3:04pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          That's not how the US government works. The executive branch simply does not have the legal authority to do away with any election, period.

          The Department of Justice defines how legal authority is executed. They have already defined away the House to have sole power of impeachment, they have defined away the House's right to subpoena witnesses, they have just now defined that witnesses for impeachment (the equivalent of a grand jury pretrial) have the right to an attorney.

          They have declared to courts that the POTUS is immune to any criminal prosecution.

          If the Department of Justice defines elections to be a coup that must not happen, then short of the Attorney General getting impeached (and the Republican dominated Senate will refuse to do so), there will be no election.

          As long as the GOP is willing to shit on the Constitution as much as Trump wants them to, this is what is going to happen.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 5 Nov 2019 @ 1:46pm

    No amount of jingly keys is going to disguise that motive...

    Yeah, they aren't fooling anyone. This has absolutely nothing to do with 'potential NDA violations' or anything along those lines, and everything to do with someone in the WH letting everyone outside it have a first-hand look at just what a dumpster-fire it's been since Trump showed up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Gary (profile), 5 Nov 2019 @ 3:19pm

    Just FYI...

    Trump could use executive powers to declare national emergency and suspend elections. That would be "Legal" and therefore constitutional.

    https://boingboing.net/2019/11/02/kurt-eichenwalds-twitter-thr.html

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 5 Nov 2019 @ 9:07pm

      Re: Just FYI...

      He's already got a hallucinatory emergency at the border he's using to end-run around Congress.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 7:19am

      Re: Just FYI...

      I'm not inclined to take that interpretation too seriously until I hear it from a more reliable source than Kurt Eichenwald.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 7:26am

      Re: Just FYI...

      I didn't click on the link but a more reasonable interpretation of the constitutional provision is that he could declare a national emergency and force people to hold elections. I don't think executive powers extend to the executive overthrowing itself along with the other branches.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 9:43am

        I don't think executive powers extend to the executive overthrowing itself along with the other branches.

        "It's never been tested in the courts, so fuck it, let's do it." — the GOP, probably

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ben (profile), 5 Nov 2019 @ 3:30pm

    King or president?

    I find the simplest way to explain Trump is that he thinks he rules the USA, whereas the constitutional reality, and indeed the oath he swore, make him the ultimate servant of the electorate of the USA.
    Once you've understood his mind-set, everything else just falls into place.
    Now, didn't you folks have a small armed get-together a few years ago to rid yourselves of your last monarch?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 6 Nov 2019 @ 9:26am

      Re: King or president?

      I find the simplest way to explain Trump is that he thinks he rules the USA, whereas the constitutional reality, and indeed the oath he swore, make him the ultimate servant of the electorate of the USA.

      If you believe that Trump remembers one bit of the oath of office he swore, I have an ally to sell you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Norahc (profile), 5 Nov 2019 @ 3:42pm

    The DOJ is damn well aware of the First Amendment...it views the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the other Amendments as impediments to their job.

    They just don't care about them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 6 Nov 2019 @ 2:31am

      Re:

      Well, the Bill of Rights in particular is designed as an impediment to the government, limiting its scope explicitly. The only way in which "impediment" is not the right expression is that it usually implies something to be overcome. It's more like "constraint" in that the government is not supposed to try.

      But in practice, coming up against a constraint is not all that ominous. It's just the habit of the current administration to routinely throw eggs and flip a finger when getting there is worrying.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    FooBarr, 6 Nov 2019 @ 9:37am

    Unless . . .

    That is, unless they signed a government equivalent to an NDA for employment in the White House (sort of like most people are subject to upon receiving a clearance). I know for the military it requires Pentagon review and approval of any book prior to publication, even after getting out, or you can be subjected to prosecution. In that case, the DOJ would be exactly the right entity to enforce the limitations.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kenneth Sears, 13 Nov 2019 @ 6:13am

    Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are “apparently” unaware of the 1st Amendment, blanketly deleting all mentions of ERIC CIARAMELLA.
    By the way, have you heard that Anonymous is being indicted on charges of operating an international child pornography ring?
    Let’s see how “aware” TechDirt is now of the 1st Amendment....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2019 @ 6:55am

      Re:

      Anonymous is an organization for anyone that wants to be Anonymous. That's the joke of it. I highly doubt they're indicting everyone.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2019 @ 6:59am

      Re:

      Or, alternatively, it must be rough to be indicted on child porn charges just for not telling your parents where you were all the time when growing up.

      It doesn't seem fair but maybe you'll beat them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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