What are Trump’s First Amendment Rights?

Donald Trump seems to have a very selective and delusional definition of First Amendment rights.

He recently announced he is filing suit against Hillary Clinton for calling him a Russian puppet.

Hillary Clinton stated what she believed was a fact. In fact, it has been proven as a fact.

The Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election, shows that Trump colluded with Russia in the 2016 election in a sweeping fashion, that he and his administration committed obstruction of justice covering it up, and that while in office he was a tool of Vladimir Putin – who he continues to praise despite the dictator being engaged in war crimes against Ukraine. The report was compiled by the Department of Justice, as led by special counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller is Republican and the former director of the FBI.

But what if the evidence didn’t exist? What if Hillary Clinton just made a statement based upon what she believed to be true? Would that be protected by First Amendment rights?

According Trump the answer is no. But interestingly he says the law goes the other way for him.

Trump claims that he has a First Amendment right to state as fact blatant lies that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election because of widespread voter fraud.

His lies have repeatedly been disproven. There was no evidence of any widespread voter fraud. Multiple investigations and recounts have all concluded there was no voter fraud such as Trump claims.   

Ironically the only isolated cases of voter fraud seem to be from the very Trump supporters who are crying the loudest, such as former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Meadows and his wife used a fraudulent address to register to vote in the 2020 election.

So does the First Amendment protect Donald Trump’s right to knowingly tell lies?

According to the article High Value Lies, Ugly Truths, and the First Amendment in the Vanderbilt Law Review, some lies, even intentionally lying about military honors, are protected. Isn’t that shocking?

However, the article also stipulates that certain lies, such as perjury and fraud are not protected by the First Amendment.

Trump filed over 60 lawsuits to try to overturn the 2020 presidential election. However, neither Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump or any legitimate lawyer was willing to testify under oath that there was any widespread voter fraud. That would be perjury. The cases were all thrown out.

What about fraud, though? Is it fraud for Donald Trump to try to deceive people into thinking he won the election when he knows he didn’t?

Let’s look at the definition of fraud, as referenced in Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th ed.

All multifarious means which human ingenuity can devise, and which are resorted to by one individual to get an advantage over another by false suggestions or suppression of the truth. It includes all surprises, tricks, cunning or dissembling, and any unfair way which another is cheated.

On election night, the top data expert in Trump’s re-election campaign told him point blank he was going to lose. This was witnessed by and sworn to by top campaign aide Jason Miller.

During the following weeks, senior Justice Department officials repeatedly told Trump his claims of voter fraud were meritless and would “hurt the country.” Yet, he did not stop broadcasting his lies.

Miller also states that he witnessed Attorney General Bill Barr repeatedly tell Trump that there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the election. According to former top Justice Department official Richard P. Donoghue, White House council Pat A. Cipollone also repeatedly tried to stop Trump from lying.

In his own experience, Donoghue indicates that Trump knew he lost the election but stated “What do I have to lose?”

Even more pressing than the question of whether Trump knew he was lying, which all accounts point to, is his motivation and intended outcome of telling these lies.

Donald Trump and his enablers were attempting to subvert a legal and fair election and install him as president. He purposefully motivated his followers to attack the Capitol and violently stop the certification of votes naming Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States on January 6, 2020.

The United States House Committee on the January 6 Attack has conducted over 700 interviews and reviewed thousands of documents, emails, texts, and videos. According to Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the committee, Trump could be charged by the Justice Department with common law fraud and conspiracy to defraud the American people.

In fact, legal scholars are saying Trump and attorney John Eastman who concocted a plan to subvert the election and place Trump in power, may be charged with obstructing an official proceeding and seditious conspiracy as well.

According to Alan Rozenshtein, a former Justice Department official who teaches at the University of Minnesota Law School, Trump’s only defense against the fraud charges may be if his attorneys argued he is psychologically delusional and doesn’t know the difference between fantasy and reality so he can’t be held responsible for lying. If he took this course, he would be deemed forever unfit for public office. Of course, a lot of people already feel he is unfit for office.

Peace. Love. Trust.

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