I awoke this morning to the sounds of cheering from ISIS terrorist Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov and his legal team.
Mr. Saipov was the terrorist who murdered eight people in New York City on Tuesday. He is in police custody and likely will be charged with federal crimes that could merit the death penalty if he is convicted.
That’s why I could hear the cheering from the Saipov camp this morning after President Trump tweeted out: “NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room. He killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!”
If Mr. Saipov was “happy” before, he’s got to be downright ecstatic now that our president has given his legal team a powerful argument that because of the potential undue influence by our president on prospective jurors, capital punishment should be taken off the table. It is an argument that most judges will take very seriously.
Any idiot knows that when a president expresses a public opinion about an ongoing criminal investigation or prosecution, he automatically influences those proceedings by virtue of his high office. That’s why almost every former president in history has refrained from doing so.
But Trump is not just any idiot. He’s a special kind of idiot who either doesn’t understand that his public statements as president have consequences or just doesn’t care.
If you doubt it, look at how statements made by Trump when he was just a candidate for president have already helped a man who is on trial in a military court for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy (cowardly abandonment of his fellow soldiers in the face of enemy combatants).
In 2009, Bowe Bergdahl abandoned his post and was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan. (Remember the Taliban? They were the ones who aided and abetted al Qaida in the 9/11 attacks.) In 2014, President Barack Obama negotiated with these terrorists and ultimately released five dangerous terrorists from Gitmo in return for Bergdahl’s release.
During his campaign last year, Trump called Bergdahl “a no-good traitor who should have been executed.” Then, just two weeks ago, during a presidential press conference in the White House Rose Garden, Trump doubled down on that statement. A reporter asked whether the president thought his prior comments had hurt Bergdahl’s ability to receive a fair trial. Trump said he could not comment, and then added, “But I think people have heard my comments in the past.”
After Bergdahl pleaded guilty to desertion, his attorneys made the obvious motion to spare him any jail time because Trump’s public comments, coming from the commander-in-chief of the U.S. armed forces, necessarily had undue influence on the proceedings and deprived Bergdahl of his due process rights. The military judge denied that motion but said that he would take Trump’s “disturbing” comments into consideration when deciding Bergdahl’s sentence.
In other words, Bergdahl is likely to get a lighter sentence than he otherwise would have received because of Donald Trump’s big mouth.
One of two things has to be true:
- Trump is not aware that his comments as president on an active criminal investigation or prosecution necessarily will influence those proceedings, in which case he is an idiot; or
- Trump knows that his comments will have undue influence on those criminal proceedings but can’t restrain himself from making them anyway, in which case he is a moron.
Either way, Trump has made one thing clear: Traitors and terrorists can count on him to save them from the full consequences of their actions.
NOTE: After posting this column, several readers pointed out occasions where President Obama also made inappropriate public comments about pending criminal investigations. They make a valid point, and I have modified my earlier statement that “every” former president refrained from doing so and added the word “almost.” I do draw one distinction, though: Obama’s public comments influenced those criminal proceedings in the direction that he supported. Trump’s are influencing such proceedings in the direction he opposes.
Author: Ken Falkenstein
Ken Falkenstein is the Managing Editor of Committed Conservative and brings a wealth of experience and expertise in public affairs to the job. Ken served in the U.S. Army in the last years of the Cold War as a Russian linguist for military intelligence and the NSA. After leaving the Army, he earned his degree in Secondary Education from Old Dominion University, where he also wrote a popular column in the student newspaper.
Upon graduation, Ken worked as a Legislative Aide to two Republican members of the Virginia House of Delegates. Ken also served as Corresponding Secretary of the Young Republican Federation of Virginia, managed several successful political campaigns, and managed governmental affairs operations for a local Realtor association.
In 1995, Ken moved to Washington, DC to serve as a Legislative Assistant to Sen. John Warner (R-VA). While working for Sen. Warner, Ken attended law school at night, earning his J.D. with honors from the George Mason University School of Law (n/k/a The Antonin Scalia Law School). Since that time, Ken has practiced as a civil litigation attorney, including serving for three years as an Associate City Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Ken previously was a contributor to the highly-regarded political blog Bearing Drift and was a weekly co-host of The Steve Batton Radio Program. In 2016, Ken ran unsuccessfully for the Virginia Beach School Board. Ken is also a former President of the Down Syndrome Association of Hampton Roads.
Ken now lives outside of Denver, Colorado with his wife, Kim, and three sons, Adam, Dylan, and Joshua, who has Down syndrome. Ken’s writing is motivated and informed primarily by his concern for his kids’ future.