Seth Abramson @SethAbramson @Newsweek columnist. Analyses @BBC. NYT bestselling author of Proof of Conspiracy (bit.ly/2kP6FkZ). Next: Citizen Journalist (Macmillan). Professor. Attorney. Oct. 14, 2019 2 min read

(1 of 2) Two points I want to make, in response to Trump allies saying he's being treated worse than a serial killer: I represented 2,000+ criminal defendants across 7 years, and Trump has received *more favorable treatment* under the law and in politics than *every one of them*.

(2 of 2) In my whole legal career I never saw a single criminal defendant—in any case—commit even 10% of the number of acts of Obstruction of Justice committed by this president. He knows a criminal case is ongoing and he's *on TV* falsifying evidence related to the crime—really.

(PS) When Trump say he doesn't know who recalled Yovanovitch—it was him—he's lying, and creating a situation in which he/others must lie to investigators to maintain that lie. When he calls Sondland's "no quid pro quo" just a "text I saw"—he dictated it!—he's misleading the feds.

(PS2) Trump is creating a *false public record* he *knows* is false, which he then *praises* federal witnesses for adhering to *even if it's a lie he's concocted and their repeating of it is a crime*. He's done this at *least* 25 times in the under-a-month-old Trump-Ukraine case.

(PS3) I mean *Jesus* after releasing a transcript in which he attacks *his own ambassador to Ukraine* with President Zelensky of Ukraine, Trump actually came out—again, *lying about a transcript all America saw*—and claimed that *Zelensky* was the one who attacked the ambassador.

(PS4) I'm not sure that America has *ever* seen a potential criminal defendant give *more* indications of consciousness of guilt *every single day* than Trump does. *Everything* he says confirms he knows what he did is wrong—and he then calls his actions "perfect." He's *unwell*.

(PS5) One of the legal tests for being "competent" to stand trial is whether you know the difference between right and wrong. Trump *absolutely* knows the difference—but I *also* think many criminal defense attorneys working with this man would want him to have a competency eval.

(PS6) I know people get nervous—rightfully so—when we start talking about mental health and Trump. But I come from a role—criminal defense lawyer—in which we *have* to make *initial* calls on whether to have a client checked for competency. Trump *would* demand that initial call.

(PS7) Attorneys will tell you one of the first—of many—signs of a competency issue for a defendant is if he *cannot hear or understand legal advice* and keeps committing new crimes during his case in a way that *appears* pathological. It suggests he can't follow what's happening.

(PS8) We daily see journalists' blank faces in response to Trump lying pathologically about something the evidence said he did, he's previously admitted, other witnesses say he did, and—often—*all America saw him do*. Those moments are when attorneys start to consider competence.

(PS9) If we consider the Trump presidency as a crime scene—which we should—we'd have to add into the equation betraying longtime U.S. allies and provoking a genocide *on a whim in a phone call* without *any* advice from anyone. It'd suggest he doesn't understand what's happening.

(PS10) And we've had whole books (e.g., FEAR and FIRE & FURY) that—while gossip-heavy—manage to establish something that we also hear from those few Trumpists who've left Trump's camp: that *no one* who works around Trump thinks that he's at all mentally or emotionally well. /end


You can follow @SethAbramson.



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