Trump's Righteous Indignation over His Innocence

The American judicial system, based on British Common Law, presumes accused people innocent until they are proven guilty. The burden is on the accuser or prosecutor to prove guilt, rather than mandating the accused prove their innocence.

English jurist William Blackstone described it this way, as has now been coined Blackstone’s Ratio, “Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer.” In other words, the greater wrong is that an innocent person be wrongly convicted, rather than vice versa, hence “innocent until proven guilty.”

Those wrongly accused or convicted are righteously indignant and outraged over losing their freedom or reputation unjustly, particularly if prosecuted maliciously. And most fight back. President Donald Trump is the latest example of such judicial malfeasance.

The original mandate for the Special Counsel was to investigate, “Any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”

Despite two years of assurances from Democrats and the media that there were “mountains of evidence of collusion,” and despite an extensive and partisan exam of Trump and everyone in his sphere, that portion of Robert Mueller’s report came up empty. No collusion.

The second part of his report dealt with potential obstruction, and that portion, despite reading like Joe Scarborough’s or Brian Stelter’s Twitter feed, also came up empty. They made a point to say Trump was not exonerated, but that’s not the standard of American jurisprudence. Trump is either guilty of obstruction or he is not.

The OJ Simpson jury didn’t exonerate OJ; instead they found that he was not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Innocent or guilty is a binary choice. Any doubt, reasonable or not, is enough to invoke Blackstone’s Ratio. Is there any reasonable doubt that if Mueller and his team found something, anything, with which to indict Trump, his family, or anyone close to him they would have put on page one of their 400-page report?

Their case for possible obstruction is President Trump’s righteous indignation over being falsely accused, this accusation hanging over and crippling his first two years in the White House, preventing him from implementing his agenda. And it went beyond simply a false accusation.

As we are learning, and as will unfold in the upcoming weeks, this entire affair was planned and orchestrated by the Obama justice and intelligence agencies. They attempted to plant spies in the Trump campaign, entrapping those already working for Trump, selectively leaking to the media, then using unverified political opposition research combined with media reports based on leaked information to fraudulently obtain FISA warrants to spy on Trump and his campaign.

More than just being falsely accused, this was a coup against a lawfully elected president, perpetuated by co-conspirators in the media and Congress. Is there any wonder why Trump was outraged? He had just won an improbable election to the presidency, against all odds, out-funded, with almost the entire media against him. And here was an unelected group of partisans trying to take it all away from him.

Who could he complain to? Media coverage was over 90 percent negative. Most elected officials in his party were against him, hoping the allegations were true and that Trump would soon be gone. Despite Trump’s conservative agenda, those who once shared such conservatism, like Bill Kristol and George Will, turned on a dime and became Democrats, piling on to the Trump vitriol express.

So, Trump turned to Twitter, his only outlet as the media stood in firm opposition to him. He criticized the investigations as “a witch hunt.” He wished he could fire Mueller, even supposedly asking staff to do so, which they did not do. He correctly realized and said, “I’m f***ed”, not out of guilt but instead with the realization that his presidency would be paralyzed with the investigation hanging over him. Which it was.

And it was. How many foreign leaders, believing CNN’s endless panels of “experts,” thought Trump would resign or be impeached? Why make trade or other agreements with an administration about to be replaced? How many Republican Congressmen chose not to run for reelection to avoid being tarred with the Trump collusion scandal that would bring down his presidency and limit their post-Congressional private sector opportunities? Rather than repealing Obamacare or funding the wall, they believed MSNBC’s assurances that Trump and his family were soon heading to prison. Would the GOP have lost the House if those who hated Trump and wanted to avoid his stink, like Paul Ryan, stayed and fought alongside him?

Is there any wonder Trump fought back -- ferociously as he always does? Was that obstruction or righteous indignation and anger?

Tiger Woods, like Donald Trump, was an unlikely winner a few weeks ago in a contest that no one thought he could win. Suppose Tiger was accused of cheating at the Masters, based on manufactured evidence and doctored videos, and his green jacket taken away from him. Wouldn’t he be appropriately outraged and screaming from the rooftops about it?

How about Justice Kavanaugh and the bogus allegations leveled against him? Was his tearful and passionate response somehow obstructing the investigations and Senate hearing? Or was it the genuine heartfelt defense of someone falsely maligned and accused?

Mueller and team performed a neat trick. They pretended to investigate the false claim of Trump-Russia collusion based on the Steele Dossier, known to be bogus even before Mueller was appointed, dragged it out with the assistance of the media, crippled Trump’s presidency.  Then, when he fires back defending himself, they claim he is obstructing their investigation. Demand Trump had to prove a negative, and when he couldn’t and reacted as anyone else falsely accused would act, claimed he was obstructing. Very clever.

Yet Trump did anything but obstruct. As AG William Barr explained in his summary remarks

President Trump faced an unprecedented situation.  As he entered into office, and sought to perform his responsibilities as President, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking office, and the conduct of some of his associates.  At the same time, there was relentless speculation in the news media about the President’s personal culpability.  Yet, as he said from the beginning, there was in fact no collusion.  And as the Special Counsel’s report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the President was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks.  Nonetheless, the White House fully cooperated with the Special Counsel’s investigation, providing unfettered access to campaign and White House documents, directing senior aides to testify freely, and asserting no privilege claims.  And at the same time, the President took no act that in fact deprived the Special Counsel of the documents and witnesses necessary to complete his investigation. Apart from whether the acts were obstructive, this evidence of non-corrupt motives weighs heavily against any allegation that the President had a corrupt intent to obstruct the investigation.

No collusion and no obstruction, only the righteous indignation of someone falsely accused and besmirched. Congressional Democrats will bray about impeachment. CNN will wholeheartedly agree. But this isn’t over.

As a Trump meme making the rounds on social media says, “Hope you had fun investigating me. Now it’s my turn.”

Image credit: croppped from Michael Vadon

Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn and Twitter.

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