I added The Onion to my RSS feed a bit over a week ago. Since then there have been a couple headlines where I had to check just to make sure they were fakes, but I haven’t actually been caught believing one yet.
Instead, I was caught out by a real headline that I was sure would be a fake: Fugitive wanted for attempted murder found at White House, where he worked for National Security Council. That’s actually a real Boingboing headline — although the underlying story is slightly less sensational than you might think: instead of being in the Cabinet, the fugitive was only a contract worker, and the Secret Service is trying to make it sound like they caught him on his first day of work, although the linked story doesn’t quite say that.
I know people who think that the worst thing about the Trump administration is the corruption: the Trump family lining its pockets in various grifting ways, be it emoluments via hotel; deals in the shadow of official favor; multiple appointees acting like swamp-dwellers wasting tax money on first class airfares, hotels, weird security apparatus and guards, or office furniture.
I disagree: the worst things about the Trump administration are legal or at least carry a figleaf of legality: our disgraceful treatment of would-be immigrants and refugees; withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change and other anti-environmental decisions; the war on healthcare; and now, the nearly irrational decision to blow up the Iran nuclear deal.
The stated reasons make no sense: if one is afraid the Iranians have nuclear plans that they can pick up at the end of the 10-year deal period, there is no sense in accelerating that window of opportunity to today.
Rather, if one thinks there is any method to the madness, one is left to choose among two lousy hypotheses: perhaps Trump is so consumed with Obama derangement that anything Obama must be blow up; or, worse and yet more likely, the Bolton vision of attacking Iran is in ascendant and the reason for ending the accord is to drive the Iranians into nuclear development that could then be waved as a casus belli. That means war.
As far as I am concerned, the Trump family and its hangers-on could steal all the money they want if they would just stop hurting and poisoning other people.
No, not like that, at least not yet.
Rather, odds are that Trump will have to answer questions in a deposition:
A New York State judge ruled on Tuesday that a defamation lawsuit brought by a woman who has said President Trump made unwanted sexual advances could go forward, raising the possibility of a public airing of other allegations of sexual misconduct against the president.
The decision by Justice Jennifer Schecter of State Supreme Court in Manhattan paved the way for lawyers to seek depositions from several women who accused Mr. Trump of sexual harassment before he was elected and to subpoena Trump campaign records related to his female accusers.
Justice Schecter rejected Mr. Trump’s argument that a state court has no jurisdiction over a sitting president. She cited a United States Supreme Court ruling that allowed Paula Jones to bring a sexual harassment suit against President Bill Clinton.
Actually, the issue of whether the Paula Jones precedent should apply with full force in state court is not frivolous at all. I can imagine reasons why a court might hold that there is too much risk of interference with the President’s, ahem, affairs to allow just any court to make demands on his time. Then again, I can think of even more arguments why the state courts should be allowed to proceed — if only that surely a sitting President could get an injunction from a federal court if the state court were to misbehave in some way.