Friday, 8 December 2017
Dear Mr President,
Two guys walk into a bar. One is a gangster, and the other is his lawyer. They sit down at the far end of the bar and order beers, which they do not drink. They are not here to drink, but to talk, and not to one another. In a few minutes, another gangster comes in and sits next to them. He too orders a beer. Then the gangsters begin to talk. About a plan to smuggle cigarettes into the US to avoid paying the federal excise tax.
There are some interesting legal implications to the gangsters’ conversation. And though I am not a lawyer, I’m pretty sure I can explain them at least as well as John “Ghost-Tweeter” Dowd, Ty “It’s Really My Name” Cobb, and Jay “Self-Dealer” Sekulow – who haven’t been doing so well this week.
First of all, smuggling cigarettes to avoid paying the tax is a federal crime, a species of corruption by which the US is defrauded. I’m sure you know this. But did you know that just by planning to do this, even if they don’t carry the plan out, they have committed a crime? It’s called conspiracy.
When your lawyers assure you and the public that “collusion is not a crime”, they are choosing to cover the accusations against you and your campaign with a term they know is irrelevant.
Conspiracy is often confused with collusion – which means pretty much the same thing – a plan between two parties to deceive, but not necessarily to defraud, a third party. But except in anti-trust law, federal law does not use the term. Thus when your lawyers assure you and the public that “collusion is not a crime”, they are choosing to cover the accusations against you and your campaign with a term they know is irrelevant. When the same accusations are characterized by the correct term, conspiracy, they are properly considered crimes.
It is an interesting question whether this semantic sleight of hand is a form of collusion among your lawyers to deceive you and the public.
But back to the gangsters in the bar. Under a hitherto unknown legal theory just revealed by Donald Jr, those gangsters cannot be compelled to testify about their conversation because of the attorney-client privilege – even though they spoke only to one another and not to the lawyer.
Donald Jr asserted this privilege in refusing to tell a House committee about a conversation he had with you because his lawyer was present. Even gangsters haven’t heard of this theory. If they had, they would keep lawyers at their sides all day long. Or maybe gangsters have smarter lawyers than Donald Jr’s – and maybe smarter than yours.
Received by the White House at 4:08 AM EST, 8 December 2017
Please circulate. And write him a letter or forward this one to: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact