Stephen Miller's Latest Loony Claims Of Trump's Immunity From Prosecution

Stephen Miller's Latest Loony Claims Of Trump's Immunity From Prosecution
Stephen Miller

You’re going to love this: the latest brief in the Mar-a-Lago documents case came from Stephen Miller. Yes, that Stephen Miller, the one who came up with the plan of ripping babies out of the arms of their mothers at the Southern Border. He still defends it as a good idea and has given interviews saying there are plans to repeat the policy of breaking up families if Trump is elected in November.

Miller has another wonderful idea this time -- that it was just fine for Donald Trump to leave the White House in 2021 taking a truckload of top-secret documents with him, because they were Trump’s secrets, not the government’s. Miller’s right-wing legal operation, the America First Legal Foundation – old Stevie just can’t get away from those intimations of the Nazi era, can he? – filed a friend of the court brief with Judge Aileen Cannon down in Florida supporting Trump’s position that the Presidential Records Act (PRA) allows him to do whatever the hell he wants to with his White House papers.

The PRA allows no such thing. The act, passed by Congress after the criminal presidency of Richard Nixon, requires every president to turn over all papers deriving from his time in office to the National Archives. Miller’s little nest of right-wing legal mice say the PRA doesn’t apply to Donald Trump because, well, because Donald Trump says so.

It's a little more complicated than that, but not by much. Special Counsel Jack Smith filed a reply brief to Miller’s 28 pages of legal blatherings. Leaving aside its signature page and certificate of service, Smith’s reply brief is all of five pages long. Smith uses a single word to describe the three contentions of Miller’s legal arguments: Wrong.

Reading the Special Counsel’s brief, you can feel him wearying of replying to Trump’s blizzard of filings in the cases Smith has against him in Washington and Florida. Trump’s basic position, backed up most recently by his loyal underling Miller, is this: Yeah, I did it, but you can’t get me because I’m Donald Trump.

Miller’s brief supporting Trump takes the utterly absurd position that the charges against him in the Mar a Lago case must be dropped because they all derive from a criminal referral by the National Archives, which spent 18 months practically begging Trump to turn over his trove of secrets before they called the FBI. Miller’s legal brief says the National Archives can’t call the FBI because all they are is a records depository and don’t have the statutory authority to report a crime. According to Miller’s MAGA theory, the National Archives needs a “regulation” to be allowed to pick up the phone and report a crime.

Smith, with Job-like patience, points out that if Miller is right, that means if a thief enters the National Archives and starts waving a gun around, it would be impermissible for the Archives to call the cops. Smith’s brief points Judge Cannon to the fact that the National Archives, as an entity of the federal government, has an inspector general on its staff, and by federal regulation, all inspector generals are “required to report expeditiously to the Attorney General whenever the Inspector General has reasonable grounds to believe there has been a violation of Federal criminal law.”

The Special Counsel has had to file response after response to motions made by Donald Trump to dismiss charges against him, and every one of those motions takes the same position. Yeah, he did it, but this is why you can’t go after him. He’s immune from prosecution. The prosecution is “selective and vindictive.” Because everybody else got away with it, so should Trump.

Trump is accused in the Mar-a-Lago case of removing important national security information from the White House and failing to secure it by storing top-secret papers, including some that contained secrets about nuclear weapons, in places like a bathroom and a ballroom. But that’s okay, according to Trump’s lawyers, because according to yet another case against Trump, “the President’s actions do not fall beyond the outer perimeter of official responsibility merely because they are unlawful or taken for a forbidden purpose.”

Judge Tanya Chutkan had it right when she dismissed Trump’s first claim of absolute immunity. What he wants is a get of out jail free card. Reelecting Trump will give him a whole pocketful. Every time he holds a rally, he promises to free “the January 6 hostages” with presidential pardons.

That’s bad enough, but what we’ve really got to be afraid of is his promise to turn around and put his enemies in jail. At his rallies, “lock her up” has turned into a chant of “lock them up.”

Remember, we are them.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which this is reprinted with permission.

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Arizona Republicans Pushed Abortion Ban -- And Now They're Terrified

Kari Lake

Photo by Caitlin O'Hara/REUTERS

The Arizona Supreme Court ruling that restores an 1864 law banning abortion at any stage has Republicans scrambling to distance themselves from the archaic law. The result is some textbook examples of hypocrisy and Republicans screaming in frustration over the results of getting exactly what they insisted that they wanted.

Keep reading...Show less
Fox Buries Arizona Court Decision Ordering Near-Total Abortion Ban

Jesse Watters

Fox News’ evening “opinion” hosts completely ignored Tuesday’s ruling from the all-Republican Arizona Supreme Court reviving a 160-year-old state law that bans abortions under almost all circumstances, as the network continues its pattern of shielding viewers from stories that could damage Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ }}