Saturday, December 1, 2018

A sad day for government legal claims

A new court document filed late on Friday by the U.S. Department of Justice says that when Donald Trump tweets, no one should presume that the statements he posts on Twitter are accurate, or that Trump has any “personal knowledge” of the topic he tweets about. The filing came in response to a Freedom of Information lawsuit by USA Today and other organizations, seeking to obtain an unredacted version of the FISA court FBI application to place former Trump presidential campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page under electronic surveillance.


In the lawsuit, USA Today and the other plaintiffs pointed to a Twitter post by Trump on July 23, 2018, in which he appeared to criticize the fact that the Page FBI surveillance application remained a classified document, saying that Trump’s claim that the application was classified wrongly should be considered a basis for declassifying the document.

“It was classified to cover up misconduct by the FBI and the Justice Department in misleading the Court by using this Dossier in a dishonest way to gain a warrant to target the Trump Team. This is a Clinton Campaign document. It was a fraud and a hoax designed to target Trump,” Trump wrote in the Twitter post.

Trump appear to be quoting a Fox News interview guest in the tweet, namely Tom Fitton, of the right-wing group, Judicial Watch. The DOJ noted that Trump’s tweet should be disregarded because there was “no evidence establishing that (Trump) was vouching for the wholesale accuracy of the statement he was quoting, or that he was commenting based on personal knowledge of the documents or based on personal knowledge of agency conduct. There is no evidence that he was formally overruling agency determinations via tweeted quotation of Fox & Friends.”


“DOJ’s argument that the president shouldn’t be presumed to know what he’s talking about is a pretty remarkable one, and it’s not one I’d seen the government make before 2017,” Heath wrote on Twitter.
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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