1. The DOJ has decided to continue defending Trump in a case involving his attacks on a woman, E Jean Carroll, who he allegedly raped.

There are lots of VERY SERIOUS LAWYERS defending the DOJ.

But that doesn't mean the DOJ is right.

Let's dive in.

2. First, let's talk about what Trump said. After E. Jean Carroll accused Trump of raping her in a dressing room in the mid-90s, Trump claimed he never met Carroll, accused her of lying to sell books, & suggested she was conspiring w/the Democratic Party

3. Later Trump said he would never have raped Carroll because she is not his "type."


4. The DOJ tries to avoid defending what Trump said (which it calls "crude and disrespectful") and focuses on what Trump was doing, which is interacting with the media.

They say interacting with the media is part of the president's job

5. The DOJ relies on a case called Ballenger which involves a Congressman who said he was separating from his wife because she was uncomfortable living across the street from @CAIRNational, which he claimed funded terrorists

CAIR sued for defamation.

6. In Ballenger, the court found that the Congressman was acting with the scope of his employment because answering questions from the media is part of a Congressman's job.

But here is where everything breaks down for the DOJ's argument

7. The Ballenger court realized allowing a Congressman to say whatever they wanted to press & be immunized was a bad idea

So it said its ruling was limited to the facts of the case

Specifically, his separation was a matter of "concern" to constiutents

8. The DOJ also makes clear it is not arguing that Trump would be immunized from anything he said. But, citing Ballenger, argues the rape allegation was a matter of "concern" to Trump's constituents.

This is the fatal flaw in the DOJ's argument

9. The standard the DOJ is creating would immunize everything a president said to the press because a president has 300M+ constituents and everything about their life is of "concern" to someone

The DOJ is doing exactly what it says it should not do

10. To be coherent, the standard needs to consider whether the statement has any relationship to the job of the president.

And by any standard, smearing a woman who says you raped her in the 90s has nothing to do with the job of being president

11. The DOJ claims they are neutrally applying precedent but in the end, they are making a subjective call about where to draw the line.

And that call is pretty much indefensible

12. I've noticed a lot of the coverage glossed over the actual legal arguments.

If you are interested in independent accountability journalism that respects your intelligence, you'll probably like my newsletter

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More from @JuddLegum

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