Tag Archives: Fifth Amendment

Now he takes the Fifth?

Hey, let’s flash back to around the time of the 2016 presidential campaign, the one that Donald J. Trump won in the strangest political fluke in U.S. history.

Someone asked him about a political foe who was “taking the Fifth Amendment” to avoid self-incrimination. Trump’s response was that “anyone who takes the Fifth must be guilty of a crime.”

Well … maybe so, maybe not. Donald Trump’s point, though, wasn’t that far off.

Fast-forward to a year ago. We now have seen video evidence of Donald Trump testifying before a New York state grand jury on a financial case that was under investigation. What did the former president do? He took the Fifth! Not once, or twice or even dozens of times. He hid behind the Fifth Amendment’s protection more than 400 times while being questioned about his company’s financial dealings.

Why bring this up? Because the pathological liar wants to be POTUS again. At least that’s what he says. He is facing a potential indictment for crimes he might have committed against the government of the United States.

Donald Trump is entitled to invoke the protection afforded all citizens under the U.S. Constitution. I don’t question the legitimacy of his Fifth Amendment assertion. I just wonder — out loud — whether he is as “guilty of a crime” as he accused others who have invoked the same privilege.


Is Trump … guilty?

Let’s see if we can sort out what Donald Trump once said about those who invoke the Fifth Amendment, shall we?

While campaigning for the presidency in 2016, Trump said that only those with something to hide would cower behind the amendment that protects Americans against self-incrimination. If they’re guilty of something, they take the Fifth, he said.

The slathering faithful to whom he was speaking in ’16 would whoop, holler and applaud and start chanting “Lock her up!” while referring to his political opponent back then, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

We fast-forward to this week and Trump gets summoned to the New York attorney general’s office. What does the former Crook in Chief do? He invokes the Fifth Amendment more than 400 times!

Media reported he answered precisely one question: What is your full name?

Attorney General Leticia James is looking into allegations that Trump falsified his net worth to obtain favorable loans and to head off legal action taken against him. He exaggerated his worth for the former and low-balled his assets for the latter … allegedly!

Which is it? Is The Donald guilty of something? Does he have something to hide?

And to think that there are a substantial number of Americans out there would want to see the former Charlatan in Chief given access to the nation’s nuclear codes once again.

Go figure.


Trump takes Fifth

So, what do we have here? A former president who used to vilify others for taking the Fifth because they are “guilty” of something now has — get ready for it — done that very thing.

Donald John Trump was summoned to speak to the New York attorney general’s office. He didn’t answer any questions. Instead, he fell back on his constitutional protection against self-incrimination.

Hey, it’s legal. He can do that. He broke no law.

New York AG Tish James is conducting an investigation into the Trump Organization’s business practices. The ex-POTUS has called her probe a witch hunt; he has accused her of being racist.

Trump also has denied doing anything illegal. He has said so repeatedly. Which begs the question:

If the former president is clean, why must he hide behind the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution?


The Fifth implies guilt

You know what? I am going to agree with an assertion that Donald J. Trump made on the 2016 presidential campaign trail.

The Republican Party nominee for president declared that those who use the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination usually have something to hide; they imply their own guilt by pleading the Fifth to the U.S. Constitution.

Of course, all of that changes when it’s your friends and supporters taking the Fifth, which Trump hasn’t spoken about in recent weeks while the House select committee examines the 1/6 insurrection against the government.

Former short-term national security adviser Michael Flynn, for instance, hid behind the Fifth more than 100 times when he faced questions from the committee. His response, for example, to a question from Rep. Liz Cheney about whether he believes in the “peaceful transition of presidential power”? He said: “Fifth.”

We’re going to hear a lot more of that kind of gamesmanship from Trumpkins summoned to testify before the panel. The cultists can avoid being indicted for contempt of Congress by showing up and then refusing to answer direct questions by hiding behind one of the founders’ civil liberties … which they are entitled to do.

However, none of it passes the smell test.


Will Trump take Fifth? Hmm?

You might recall the several times Donald Trump has declared that “innocent” people have no reason or justification to fall back on the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the one that protects citizens self-incrimination.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we might get the chance to see if Trump really and truly believes it. You see, a judge has ordered the former POTUS, his oldest son Don Jr. and daughter Ivanka to testify — under oath — about their financial dealings that are under investigation by the Manhattan district attorney.

So, Trump will take an oath to tell the truth. If he has nothing to hide from investigators, he’ll talk. Isn’t that right? I don’t that’s going to happen.

His company already is under indictment for assorted felony accusations, such as tax fraud.

The walls appear to be closing in around Trump and his family. His son, Eric, already has hidden behind the Fifth Amendment, invoking it hundreds of times during questioning by prosecutors. Do you wonder what Daddy Trump told Eric after he left the conference room? Might he have called Eric a “loser”?

The smart money, based on what I have heard on the news, suggests that Trump’s lawyers will tell him to “not say a word.” His only option, therefore, is to invoke the Fifth Amendment.

But … hey. C’mon, Donald. An “innocent” man should be able to speak freely. Right?


Cosby walks on a technicality

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

When word came out today that Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction had been overturned, my thoughts turned immediately to a sign I once saw way down yonder in the office of the Liberty County, Texas, district attorney.

It spoke to the desire to see a conviction “upheld on a technicality.”

Of course, that never happens. Technicalities usually result in situations such as what happened today.

Cosby is going home after serving two years of a sentence in which he was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman after giving her high-powered drugs. The technicality? The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said Cosby was denied due process because a prosecuting attorney had said there was insufficient evidence to bring the case to trial. That prosecutor left, was replaced by someone else, who then brought the case to a trial that produced a conviction for the still-disgraced former comic and film/TV icon.

Bill Cosby was denied his constitutional Fifth Amendment guarantee against self-incrimination, the court said in its 79-page opinion.

Bill Cosby Released From Prison After Sexual Assault Conviction Overturned (msn.com)

Two things about this case deserve brief mention.

One is that a conviction reversal involving someone with the kind of celebrity status as Bill Cosby has pushed most of the other grim news aside; the nation now is going to talk about Cosby rather than talking about other stuff, such as phony election theft and related matters.

The other thing is that Bill Cosby is — in many Americans’ eyes — still a convicted sexual assailant despite the court’s decision to overturn the conviction. to my way of thinking, the legal technicality that sprung Cosby loose from the slammer does not wipe away what a trial jury concluded.

How much will it cost, governor?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The individual who preceded Joe Biden as president of the United States used to proclaim that “Mexico is going to pay for the wall.”

It didn’t happen. It won’t happen. Not ever.

Now we have the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, declaring his intention to build a wall along the state’s lengthy border with Mexico. He isn’t making the same preposterous claim that the ex-POTUS did. However, we need some specifics on this matter if it manages to survive the expected challenges to whether it is even constitutional for a state to assume a federal responsibility.

Texas border wall may not be feasible, or even legal | The Texas Tribune

How much will it cost, Gov. Abbott?

You see, the U.S. Constitution requires in the Fifth Amendment that the government provide “just compensation” for any private property seized for public use. Texas’s share of public land comprises a tiny fraction of its total land mass along the border, which will require the state to pay a whole lot of money it takes from private ownership. So, we have that expense.

As for the rest of the price tag, which would be bound to skyrocket as the state grapples with ways to erect a secure border, well, we haven’t heard a word from Gov. Abbott on how much that might cost you and me.

The state’s economy happens to be performing quite well in the wake of this COVID pandemic. However, we shouldn’t be asked to spend an unspecified amount of money to seal off our southern border from “hordes of criminals” who, in my view, do not exist.

Does the president still think invoking Fifth means guilt?

Donald J. Trump was simply outraged during the 2016 presidential campaign about Hillary Clinton’s aides invoking their constitutional protection against self-incrimination.

Doing so, he said at the time, meant they likely were “guilty as hell” of committing a crime.


The issue had to do with Clinton’s e-mail controversy and other matters. Trump was running against Hillary for the presidency, which meant that such activity just made his case for him.

He is now the president. One of his former trusted aides, ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn, is invoking his Fifth Amendment rights. He has refused to answer a Senate Intelligence Committee subpoena. He has a lot of questions to answer about his relationship with the Russian government and whether he allegedly worked with the Russians to influence the 2016 election.

Flynn was fired 24 days into his new job.

Does the president still think Flynn’s decision to invoke the Fifth mean he is “guilty as hell” of a crime? Well, do you, Mr. President?

How did The Wall become our responsibility?

Hey, didn’t Donald John Trump vow, declare it a lead-pipe cinch that Mexico would pay for a “big, beautiful wall” along the border between that country and the United States of America?

Didn’t he say he would force Mexico to foot the bill because, after all, those criminals and terrorists were “flooding” the country through our southern neighbor?

He got into an immediate war of words with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto after taking office this past January. Why? Pena Nieto said “no way” would his country spend a nickel to pay for the wall.

Here we are, nearly 100 days into the Trump administration’s existence. The wall is now central to a domestic political dispute — in the United States. The federal government might shut down if Congress cannot come up with a plan to stick American taxpayers with the bill to build a wall that (a) won’t work and (b) will blow up the annual budget deficit.

What’s the cost of this boondoggle? $20 billion to $25 billion? For starters?

Congress and the president are squabbling over whether to approve one of those “continuing resolutions” that would fund the government for the short term. Meanwhile, that damn wall is still being negotiated between Republican congressional leaders and the Republican who now sits (once in a while) in the Oval Office.

If there is a more impractical, illogical and ill-conceived idea than building such a barrier between two ostensibly “friendly” nations, then someone will have tell me.

A huge portion of the U.S.-Mexico border happens to be along a mighty river — the Rio Grande — that separates Texas from Mexico. How in the name of civil engineering does the president build the wall along that border? How does the president propose to seize all that private land without adding to the already-enormous cost? The U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment requires “just compensation” for any “private land taken for public use.”

Well, why quibble over the small stuff?

The very notion of this wall becoming central to this political dispute simply illustrates yet another blind and thoughtless campaign promise the president cannot keep.

And if he made that promise knowing that he couldn’t fulfill it, isn’t that just another flat-out, bald-faced lie?