Is Donald J. Trump a competent person?


The craziest "obstruction" of all:
Is Donald J. Trump a fully competent person? Or is it possible that our commander in chief is acting out a dangerous version of The Madness of King George?
The Madness of King George is a 1994 British biographical historical comedy-drama film directed by Nicholas Hytner and adapted by Alan Bennett from his own play, The Madness of George III. It tells the true story of George III of Great Britain's deteriorating mental health, and his equally declining relationship with his eldest son, the Prince of Wales, particularly focusing on the period around the Regency Crisis of 1788–89. Modern medicine has suggested that the King's symptoms were the result of acute intermittent porphyria, although this theory has more recently been vigorously challenged...
Whatever! In our current circumstance, does Donald J. Trump suffer from some form of mental illness? Such questions come to mind when we see reliable cable stars like Barbara McQuade speak as she did to TV's Brian Williams last night.

McQuade agreed with a long line of others concerning Trump's most clear-cut cases of obstruction of justice. We'll highlight one of the episodes which many others have cited:
WILLIAMS (4/29/19): Hey, Barbara, I want you to listen to 16 seconds of Sally Yates, and on the other side I'm going to ask you if you agree.

YATES (videotape): I've been a prosecutor for nearly 30 years. And I can tell you I've personally prosecuted obstruction cases on far, far less evidence than this. And yes, I believe if he were not the president of the United States, he would likely be indicted on obstruction.

WILLIAMS: You're both former feds. Barbara, do you concur with your fellow former fed?

MCQUADE: I do. You know, the elements of obstruction are an obstructive act, some connection to an official proceeding, and a corrupt intent. And there are about ten episodes in that report of obstruction of justice. Some Robert Mueller finds substantial evidence for, some less so. But there's about three episodes in there with substantial evidence for each and every element of the offense.

The asking McGahn to fire Mueller, asking McGahn to lie about that, and asking Corey Lewandowski to get Jeff Sessions to narrow the scope of investigation to only future elections—for those three, I am confident that if anyone else were charged with that offense or had that evidence against them, they would be charged with obstruction of justice.

WILLIAMS: Our great thanks tonight to two of our favorites. Shannon Pettypiece, Barbara McQuade, thank you both so much for helping us with our conversation tonight.
Brian thanked two of his favorite, and perhaps most reliable, reporters and friends.

A long list of former feds have agreed with what McQuade said. According to McQuade, Trump's instruction to Corey Lewandoski represents one of the most obvious matters in which he committed an obstruction of justice.

We're always surprised when we see people say this. To us, that ridiculous episode seems to be one of the most striking incidents which suggest 1) that Donald J. Trump is out of his mind, and 2) that everyone around him can see this.

(Not counting Stephen Miller.)

Think what happened here! As explained in the Mueller report, this is the way it started:

During a June 19, 2017 meeting with Lewandoski, Trump dictated the text of a crazy speech he wanted Attorney General Sessions to deliver. According to the Mueller report, the dictated speech would have gone like this:
I know that I recused myself from certain things having to do with specific areas. But our POTUS ... is being treated very unfairly. He shouldn’t have a Special Prosecutor/Counsel b/c he hasn’t done anything wrong. I was on the campaign w/ him for nine months, there were no Russians involved with him. I know it for a fact b/c I was there. He didn’t do anything wrong except he ran the greatest campaign in American history.
According to the Mueller report, "The dictated message went on to state that Sessions would meet with the Special Counsel to limit his jurisdiction to future election interference."

It's hard to know how Sessions could investigate future acts of interference—acts of interference which hadn't yet occurred. At any rate, in the crazy speech whose text Trump dictated, Sessions would crazily explain his behavior like this:
Now a group of people want to subvert the Constitution of the United States. I am going to meet with the Special Prosecutor to explain this is very unfair and let the Special Prosecutor move forward with investigating election meddling for future elections so that nothing can happen in future elections.
According to the Mueller report, "The President said that if Sessions delivered that statement he would be the most popular guy in the country. Lewandowski told the President he understood what the President wanted Sessions to do."

In fact, if Sessions had ever delivered that speech, he would have been widely regarded as the craziest person in the country. Apparently, Lewandoski understood this awkward fact. After making one attempt to speak with Sessions, an attempted hand-off occurred:
MUELLER REPORT (Volume 2, page 92): Following his June meeting with the President, Lewandowski contacted Rick Dearborn, then a senior White House official, and asked if Dearborn could pass a message to Sessions. Dearborn agreed without knowing what the message was, and Lewandowski later confirmed that Dearborn would meet with Sessions for dinner in late July and could deliver the message then. Lewandowski recalled thinking that the President had asked him to pass the message because the President knew Lewandowski could be trusted, but Lewandowski believed Dearborn would be a better messenger because he had a longstanding relationship with Sessions and because Dearborn was in the government while Lewandowski was not.
Did you follow that chronology? Trump dictated the lunatic speech on June 19. Lewandoski arranged for Dearborn to deliver the as yet undescribed message to Sessions in late July—roughly six weeks later!

How determined was Trump to effect this action? According to the Mueller report, Trump raised the topic with Lewandoski again on July 19, exactly one full month after the initial directive. According to the Mueller report, "Lewandowski recalled that the President told him [on that occasion] that if Sessions did not meet with him, Lewandowski should tell Sessions he was fired."

Lewandoski held no government position. Except in the world of Crazy Dreams, there is no apparent way he could have fired Sessions.

We'll guess that Lewandoski was once again able to see the lunacy he'd been handed. That same day, he finally gave Dearborn a copy of the crackpot speech he was supposed to deliver to Sessions.

Presumably, Dearborn was also able to see that this proposal was nuts. According to the Mueller report, "he [Dearborn] recalled later telling Lewandowski that he had handled the situation, but he did not actually follow through with delivering the message to Sessions, and he did not keep a copy of the typewritten notes Lewandowski had given him."

Is this manifest lunacy really an obstruction of justice? Can this possibly be one of the most obvious obstructions Trump is supposed to have committed?

Forgive us, but out here in the actual world, that whole episode reads like the conduct of a madman. It seems fairly plain that Lewandoski and Dearborn each understood that fact.

Let's summarize what happened:

On June 19, Trump dictated the text of a crazy speech he wanted Sessions to give. Presumably for obvious reasons, Lewandoski and Dearborn each failed to pass the assignment on to Sessions.

A full month passed before King George asked Lewandoski what had happened. At that time, he crazily told Lewandoski that he, a private citizen, should "tell Sessions he was fired" if he refused to meet.

Presumably, Dearborn could see the assignment was crazy too. It sounds like he didn't even want to keep a copy of the dictated speech.

McQuade and many others agree. This is supposed to be one of the clearest cases of obstruction in Mueller the God's "binder full of obstructions."

In our world, that judgment seems rather odd. This entire episode strikes us as the work of a very powerful person who seems to be out of his mind. Brian, who's been canned for crazy behavior himself, didn't seem to parse it that way last night.

Can a crazy person commit an obstruction? This strikes us as an obvious question. Why won't corporate peacocks like Brian Williams ask?


  1. “if Sessions had ever delivered that speech, he would have been widely regarded as the craziest person in the country.”

    This is garbage analysis. That speech contains ideas that Trump himself continues to promote, and many (perhaps most) in the GOP are fully supportive of *right now.*

    Seeing “craziness” in Trump’s actions to obstruct justice is also a failed analysis. Trump is clearly aware of the danger to him and acts with the intent of eliminating that danger.

  2. Hmm. What's so crazy about the speech, Bob? It seems far more coherent than any of the speeches of your pompous zombie cult leaders.

    Would you like to elaborate on what exactly you find unreasonable in it?

    Thanks in advance.

  3. “Crazy” is a vague, colloquial term that has no precise medical meaning. Even Bandy Lee and her 27 psychiatrists don’t come to a single conclusion as to a diagnosis of Trump, because they have not personally examined him.

    Despite this inherent vagueness and uncertainty, Somerby assumes the truth of his own assertion of Trump’s craziness and uses that as exculpatory of the charge of obstruction, apparently claiming that Trump cannot have obstructed justice because his craziness means he cannot have acted intentionally to obstruct justice.

    Except that Somerby conveniently “forgets” that there are certain personality disorders, for example those posited in Lee’s book, which include compulsive lying as a symptom and a knowledge of right and wrong, which would undermine the notion that the afflicted person shouldn’t be held liable for his crimes. No one has ever argued that a sociopath should not be charged with crimes because he is a sociopath. That is why precision is important here.

    And Somerby doesn’t seem to be content with excusing Trump’s actions on the grounds of insanity; he doesn’t seem to feel they even meet the definition of obstruction. In which case, there is no need to examine Trump’s sanity.

  4. Between Billy Barr’s “the President cannot be indicted” and Somerby’s “Trump is too crazy to be held liable for any crimes” we now have a completely unassailable president. He is not just above the law but completely outside and separate from it. How convenient for Mr Trump.

    1. Stunning how the madman can pull that off.

  5. Of course he is quite insane. But just as clearly, lunacy is contagious and with right-wing media providing the vector, it has infected roughly 37% of the population.

    On this comment board, though, the percentage seems higher.

    1. Only because three selfish nitwits represent more than 37% of the comments.

  6. Being upset ≠ being crazy. Trump had every reason to be upset. He knew that he hadn't conspired with Russia. He knew that the Steele dossier was bunk. He knew that the entire Mueller investigation would come up with nothing. Anyone would be upset under those circumstances.

    1. How do you know that the "Steele dossier is bunk"? Consequently, how do you know that Trump knew that the "Steele dossier is bunk"? Lastly, the Steele dossier has nothing to do with the investigation.

    2. So, you're a Steele dossier truther? Damn. And here I was, thinking you're supposed to be the 'smart' dembot in these here parts...

  7. "1) that Donald J. Trump is out of his mind, and 2) that everyone around him can see this."

    Trump is neither crazy nor out of his mind. Trump won educated white voters, male and female. He will win them again because they know he is entirely unorthodox but not out of his mind.

    A person does not have to be crazy to be unaware that his actions might be construed as obstructed by politically motivated and corrupt Democrats.

    Trump's style is not careful. Even if he knew his actions were being scrutinized, he doesn't care because he also knows it is political and any consequences will be political at most. He does not believe he will face any such consequences because he thinks he can avoid them by force of his competence in his job. This is something he has proven to himself time and again over a lifetime including securing the US presidency for himself.

    Trump is ignorant of the way things are usually done in DC and has never demonstrated any concern about obeying the rules that preceded him. He does give any thought to"obstruction" claims because his personality is to do what he likes and let the chips fall where they may. Since they always fall in his favor, he intelligently relies on that outcome, with a belief that he has not acted unlawfully combined with a choice that he will act as he sees appropriate because the worst consequence would be one he is willing to accept.

    A person who attempts a dangerous movie stunt with no training is crazy and out of his mind. A person who attempts the same stunt having trained and with the knowledge of effective instincts is not crazy or out of his mind.

    Reading Trump through tired political lens will lead to inaccurate conclusions.

    1. "Trump won educated white voters, male and female. He will win them again because they know he is entirely unorthodox but not out of his mind."

      Yes, THAT"S the reason Trump wins white voters LOL.
      Who are you, the mainstream media?

    2. He'll win them again and all the braindead RACIST!!! screeching in the world can't stop it. The more the better. The emotional incontinence that makes insane lefties feel so good was Trump's key to victory and will be again.

    3. 3:02,
      True that. The Establishment Elites will take those same Trump voters for a ride, and the Trump voters will lap it up like ice cream.

      Racism is a hell of a drug.

    4. Yes. Trump voters aren't really racists, they're just pretending to be to piss off liberals.
      Also, I was born this morning.

  8. "Forgive us, but out here in the actual world, that whole episode reads like the conduct of a madman. It seems fairly plain that Lewandoski and Dearborn each understood that fact."

    Trump's careful advisors were afraid. Trump is not afraid. Not being afraid does not indicate insanity although it can when the consequences are predictably dire and one does not want to endure them.

    Not being afraid otherwise indicates strength. Something typically cowardly political operatives and politicians, even Republicans, do not possess.

    1. Trump is not afraid

      They don't call him Donald J Chickenshit for nothing.

    2. I love it in the ass.

    3. I hear you did, dear George, on 11/9/2016, when you lost a billion dollars on Donald's election. Is it still sore?

    4. Relax, Mao. That billion dollars isn't lost. it was stuffed in the pockets of the Establishment Elite by President Trump.
      All the crying about how it was about "Russia" and not the bigotry Trump gave the GOP isn't going to make it not so.

    5. The problem with Trump is that he said he would drain the swamp but he has a cabinet full of billionaires and lobbyists whose goals are directly at odds with the goals of average Americans like you and me. And Trump oversaw the greatest transfer of wealth from the pockets of the middle and lower class into the richest of Americans in the form of the dastardly, disingenuous tax cut. Trump is a liar. He is a corporate whore who has done nothing to make America great, let alone better. Bob is waiting for Mr. Trump's war? It's already began. Believe me. It's war against you. It's a war against me and it's a war against our families. He's probably doing better than Clinton would have but that doesn't make him good.


      Here's another example of one of Trump and Pence's many lies they have told to their well-meaning supporters who they have tricked. Who deserve better.

    7. Exactly, not just drain the swamp, he promised normal people like you he would scale back America’s interventions and to cut military expenses ... so he ... hires neocon John Bolton! And raises the military budget!

    8. Oh that Trump...

      [LINK] Last year, congressional Democrats did what might seem like a surprise, given public posturing, and voted overwhelmingly for the massive defense authorization: 60% in the House and 89% in the Senate.

      This year [2018], things are a little different Democrats still fell over themselves to support an even bigger military budget. They just did it a little earlier.

      According to Jeff Stein at the Washington Post's Wonkblog, the Senate on Monday voted in favor of a $716 billion military spending bill for the 2019 federal fiscal year. The House had already passed it last month.

      This is $82 billion higher than the current budget, which itself was more than the Trump administration requested.

      Who says those in the Beltway can't pull together for a common cause?

      This year, 67.5% of House Democrats and 85% of Senate Democrats voted in favor. Win some in the house, lose some in the Senate. Overall, pretty big majorities.
      [END QUOTE]

      Senate Democratic leaders Schumer and Durbin both voted Yea.

      House Democratic leaders Pelosi, Hoyer, and Clyburn all voted Yea.

      Two Democratic senators running for president voted Yea; Booker and Klobuchar.

      Four Democrats running for president who were in the House at the time voted Yea; O'Rourke, Delaney, Ryan, and Moulton.

      Four Democratic senators running for president voted Nay; Gillibrand, Harris, Sanders, and Warren.

      Two Democratic House members running for president voted Nay; Gabbard and Swalwell.

    9. That doesn't make Trump good. This is not a binary situation.

    10. Aren't you the logician, 8:18 AM.

    11. CMike,
      Pointing out that all Republicans, but only some Democrats, are pieces of shit undermines your theory that Republicans and Democrats are the same.

  9. Although the play was named, "The Madness of King George III", the movie was named, "The Madness of King George". Supposely that was to avoid the appearance that the movie was the second sequel to a movie called, "The Madness of King George".

  10. A comparison between King George III and Trump is inappropriate because King George's madness was intermittent whereas Trump's dysfunction is unremitting and appears to be degenerative.

  11. Oddly enough, the behavior Somerby wishes to explain by insanity could equally (and more plausibly) be explained as characteristic of someone habituated to the culture and practices of organized crime, including bribery, intimidation, and other methods of removing obstacles. Since Trump's career is actually known to have had such features (and associations with both American and Russian mobsters), this should come as no surprise.

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