Law \ Legal

Jonathan Turley Reminds Us That Bill Clinton Took A Couch So Donald Trump Should Be Able To Take Nuclear Codes

jonathan turley

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Pour a little out for Jonathan Turley. It’s got to be getting difficult to keep up his daily routine of telling Fox News viewers that the emperor is, in fact, fully clothed and positively fetching.

But Turley is, if nothing else, a professional when it comes to vapid sophistry so he’s more than ready to hop on cable news to throw his credibility behind some mendacious legal analysis.

Unlike the time when he told viewers that Martin Luther King Jr. was never arrested in his life, this statement has the benefit of being “true” as far as it goes.

It is common for former presidents to disagree over ownership of gifts from foreign leaders and what not. Bill Clinton left the White House with $190K worth of “china, flatware, rugs, televisions, sofas and other gifts,” taking everything that wasn’t nailed down like the Arkansas hillbilly stereotype he leaned into (he ended up returning or paying for a lot of it).

But while it’s “common” for former presidents to get in disputes over ownership of gifts or personal papers, it’s not “common” for presidents to fight over highly classified national defense secrets. Nor is it “common,” when confronted by the Archives, to take the stance that you’ll only give back some of the classified material and force the government to get a warrant to get the rest. And, not for nothing, but couches can’t incinerate cities.[1]

This is like saying “air travel delays are fairly common” while discussing the Hindenburg.

He then adds that even if Trump was hoarding classified documents, “the question still remains: why couldn’t you have done that with a less intrusive means?” THEY DID. The DOJ went to Mar-a-Lago and removed 15 boxes back in January! THAT was the less intrusive, negotiated effort. And when the DOJ had reason to believe Trump still had multiple boxes of sensitive material beyond that — either from additional investigation or because the Trump team affirmatively told the FBI it would withhold the rest of the haul — then the DOJ had no choice but to seek a warrant to get the material directly.

This is all pretty straightforward if law professors were being honest. But honesty doesn’t get you booked on Fox News these days.

Turley keeps beating the drum that this “left a lot of us scratching our heads” and that we really need an answer to why the FBI thought this was the only alternative as if they hadn’t already gone down to get everything and then found out this guy was trying to hold out on them. That’s the sort of thing that forfeits the benefit of the doubt.

But Alan Dershowitz is over here repeating the same nonsense in his own desperate bid to see his name in a paper:

But legal expert Alan Dershowitz, who served on Trump’s legal team for the president’s first impeachment case, questioned the Department of Justice’s motive for the raid as he said it should only be used as a ‘last resort’.

The Harvard law professor told ‘Rob Schmitt Tonight’ on Monday: ‘A raid is supposed to be a last resort, but this administration has used the weaponization of the justice system against its political enemies.

Seriously, do these people just not remember the January search? It’s almost like that culmination of behind-the-scenes efforts was, for lack of a better term, a “first resort.” And then the DOJ learned that they’d been misled by Trump, prompting a… “last resort” response.

Which is why we should feel some sympathy today for Turley and Dershowitz and the rest of the “Liberal Law Professor”TM crowd that peddle their wares on cable news willing to squander their credibility for another five minutes of broadcast notoriety. It’s never an easy job to go on TV and concoct reasonable-sounding nonsense justifications to please conservative cable news bookers, but Trump has turned up the degree of difficulty on these guys.

Seriously, Trump, won’t you please think of your buddies Turls and Dersh? Go back to campaign finance shenanigans or something easy for them to brush off.

[1] Morgantown, West Virginia, notwithstanding.

HeadshotJoe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.

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