Donald Trump’s Lawyers Argue Calling Strategist a ‘Dummy’ is Not Defamatory

Calling a person a “loser” and a “major dummy” with “zero credibility” is not defamatory, Donald Trump’s lawyers say.

In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, lawyers for Trump, his campaign and his ousted campaign manager say Cheryl Jacobus‘ defamation suit against them should be tossed because their statements that she’s a “dummy” and opportunist who begged for a job with his campaign “are protected opinion speech” — and “hyperbole” should be expected from a presidential candidate.

Jacobus’ $4 million lawsuit says it was the Trump campaign that approached her to work as its political director, and she turned the job down because she feared the now-canned campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was a “powder keg.”

But, her suit notes, that didn’t stop Lewandowski from going on MSNBC in January and smearing her after she criticized the campaign on TV, saying she “came to the office on multiple occasions trying to get a job from the Trump Campaign, and when she wasn’t hired clearly she went off and was upset by that.”

And Lewandowski’s boss, the now presumptive GOP presidential nominee, went after Jacobus soon after, tweeting to his millions of followers that “@cherijacobus begged us for a job. We said no and she went hostile. A real dummy!”

In a later tweet, Trump again said she’d “begged” for work and they “turned her down twice.”

The strategist’s suit says she was defamed by their phony insistence she’d begged them for work and then turned on them when she didn’t get it.

In their late Monday filing, lawyers for team Trump said they didn’t do anything wrong.

Because Jacobus, a GOP political strategist, had said negative things about them in TV interviews, “any responsive opinions expressed by the defendants” about her motivations “are protected opinion speech in the heated national public debate that accompanies a presidential campaign, where the listening public anticipates fiery opinions, up-and-back-rhetoric, and hyperbole.”

And she might indeed have had a bias against the campaign, they claimed.

“It is indisputable that plaintiff’s motivations for criticizing the Trump campaign (and even labelling the campaign as liars) are uniquely within her own head. Any reflexive and responsive statements by defendants speculating about her motivations or biases can, therefore, only be opinion as well,” their filing says.

There “could have been an infinite array of possible motivations for plaintiff’s criticism of Mr. Trump and the Trump campaign.”

It also argues the statements were not defamation because of where they were made.

“Furthermore, the alleged defamatory statements were made via Twitter and on a morning talk show, which are both known as mediums for parties’ expressing their opinions,” their filing says.

Jacobus’ suit says the allegations harmed her personally and professionally — leading to fewer TV bookings and an onslaught of vicious online threats from Trump supporters.

Jacobus’ lawyer, Jay R. Butterman, said the focus by Trump’s attorneys on the “loser” and “major dummy” slams were a smokescreen designed to distract from what Trump and Lewandowski actually did to his client — falsely portray her as an unprofessional and vindictive spurned job applicant.

“It’s absolutely a red herring,” Butterman said. “They’re emphasizing these blunt attacks while ignoring the damaging statements regarding her professional ability — that she begged for a job.”

He noted one of the Trump tweets came after the campaign had been sent a cease and desist letter about the bogus claims.

“It is our opinion that Donald Trump’s motion to dismiss is a cowardly act of a man who, in repeating his libels against Ms. Jacobus after he received a cease and desist clearly explaining the falsity of his statements, dared her to sue him. Now, as Ms. Jacobus has bravely confronted Donald Trump and his smears, he hides behind technical arguments and claims that anything he says must be deemed merely his ‘opinion,’” Butterman said.

“He asks the courts to grant him the unique ability to intentionally and recklessly disregard the truth or falsity of his statements. Donald Trump, a shrill critic of our nation’s First Amendment rights, now cowers behind those very rights,” the lawyer said, adding that Trump’s “statements smearing Ms. Jacobus are clear and unquestionable claims of facts, which are just as clearly false and defamatory.”

(h/t New York Daily News)

Melania Trump: Reporter ‘Provoked’ Anti-Semitic Attacks

In a long interview with GQ reporter Julia Ioffe, Donald Trump’s wife Melania Trump defended her husband against a comparison between him and Adolf Hitler, argued that his campaign is about uniting the country, and a profile on her family history.

In the article Ioffe also reported that Melania has a 50-year-old half-brother, Denis Cigelnjak, whom her father has never acknowledged but who a blood test proved is his biological son.

Once the article was released, Melania wrote a Facebook post which was highly critical of Ioffe, who wrote the piece. In the post Melania engaged in the same tactics as her husband, bashing the press, claiming that there were “numerous inaccuracies” in the story about her family, but didn’t go into detail.

The article published in GQ today is yet another example of the dishonest media and their disingenuous reporting. Julia Ioffe, a journalist who is looking to make a name for herself, clearly had an agenda when going after my family.

Shortly after publishing the GQ article, Ioffe was barraged with threatening phone calls, emails, and Twitter messages. She documented many of them on Twitter, noting that she’d faced this kind of harassment before only when working as a journalist in Russia.

When asked about the backlash Ioffe had gotten for uncovering her family history, Melania said:

I don’t control my fans, but I don’t agree with what they’re doing. I understand what you mean, but there are people out there who maybe went too far. She provoked them.

Julia Ioffe herself defended the piece in an interview with The Guardian earlier this month.

This is not a heavily critical article. There is nothing in it that is untrue. If this is how Trump supporters swing into action what happens when the press looks into corrupt dealings, for example, or is critical of his policies?

(h/t CNN)

Reality

Nothing Melania Trump originally said in the GQ article or the Facebook post called upon Ioffe’s Jewish heritage. It was the Trump supporters who used Ioffe’s background when directing their threats towards her. What was troubling was Melania’s nonsensical response that somehow it was Ioffe herself who provoked the anti-semitic attacks.

On one hand Melania said she didn’t agree with the anti-semitic attacks against the reporter who profiled her, then on the other hand she didn’t tell her fans to stop and placed the blame squarely on the victim.

However we can empathize with Melania Trump how she might be upset how politics brings one’s family into the public sphere. For example it must be difficult for a politician to be on the receiving end of:

Trump’s ‘America First’ Has Ugly Echoes From U.S. History

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivered his most comprehensive foreign policy speech to date in Washington, outlining a general vision for international relations that would reconfigure American responsibilities abroad to put “America first.”

Trump said during a speech organized by the National Interest magazine:

“My foreign policy will always put the interests of the American people and American security above all else. That will be the foundation of every single decision that I will make. ‘America First’ will be the major and overriding theme of my administration.”

The speech included no dramatic new policy proposals that might generate headlines, such as his past calls to bar Muslims from entering the United States or to build a wall on the frontier with Mexico.

The real estate mogul said that a Trump administration would install a foreign policy vision that “replaces randomness with purpose, ideology with strategy, and chaos with peace.” He said that as president he would call for summits with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, and with Asian allies in the Pacific. Chief among his goals would be to update existing organizations to “confront shared problems, like terrorism and migration.”

Where he was specific, like rejecting the terms of last year’s nuclear deal with Iran, calling for more investment in missile defense in Europe and accusing the Obama administration of tepid support for Israel, he was firmly within the Republican mainstream.

(h/t Washington Post, Reuters, CNN)

Reality

Although Trump called for the United States to “shake the rust off of America’s foreign policy,” he delivered few specific proposals, instead focusing on outlining a broad framework the rests on demanding respect for the United States abroad.

It is extremely unfortunate that in his speech outlining his foreign policy goals, Donald Trump chose to brand his foreign policy with the noxious slogan “America First,” the name of the isolationist, defeatist, anti-Semitic national organization that urged the United States to appease Adolf Hitler.

At best the Trump campaign simply did not perform adequate research, which highlights how they are not prepared for presidential politics. At worst they are again appealing to white supremacists with another dog-whistle message.

Media

Trump Doubles Down on Sexist Woman Card Comment Toward Hillary

Mr. Trump seemed to relish injecting gender politics into the race as he looks ahead to a potential general election matchup with Mrs. Clinton. In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” he claimed that women do not like Mrs. Clinton and that he has every right to attack her if she plays up the fact that she would be the first female United States president.

It’s not sexist. It’s true. It’s just a very, very true statement. If she were a man, she’d get 5 percent. She’s a bad candidate. She’s a flawed candidate. She’s not going to do very well in the election, and I look forward to showing that.

And again on Morning Joe on MSNBC he repeated the claim. Remarking that he was still “recovering” from Clinton’s “shouting,” an increasingly high-energy Trump remarked:

I know a lot of people would say you can’t say that about a woman, because of course a woman doesn’t shout. The way she shouted that message was not — that’s the way she said it, and I guess I’ll have to get used to a lot of that over the next four or five months.

Mrs. Clinton addressed Mr. Trump’s new line of attack during her victory speech on Tuesday night, telling voters to “deal me in” when it comes to Mr. Trump’s suggestions that he is trying to capitalize on her gender and argued that she would be the best candidate to defend women’s rights on health and in the workplace.

Reality

The statement that Hillary Clinton plays the woman card is one that Trump has repeated many times over the course of his campaign.

A USA Today-Suffolk University poll released this week found that 66 percent of likely female voters nationwide have an unfavorable view of Trump, compared with 48 percent who have a negative opinion of Clinton. And women are far more likely to have intensely negative views of Trump. A Washington Post-ABC News poll earlier this month found that 64 percent of women feel “strongly unfavorable” toward Trump, compared with 41 percent of men.

Media

Good Morning America

Morning Joe

Trump: If Clinton ‘were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote’

Trump victory speech for Pennsylvania

While celebrating sweeping victories in five primaries Tuesday night, Donald Trump mocked the qualifications of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and suggested she was playing “the women’s card” to her advantage in the presidential race.

“Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the women’s card,” Trump said during a news conference at Trump Tower. “And the beautiful thing is, women don’t like her.”

(h/t Washington Post)

Reality

The statement that Hillary Clinton plays the woman card is one that Trump has repeated many times over the course of his campaign.

A USA Today-Suffolk University poll released this week found that 66 percent of likely female voters nationwide have an unfavorable view of Trump, compared with 48 percent who have a negative opinion of Clinton. And women are far more likely to have intensely negative views of Trump. A Washington Post-ABC News poll earlier this month found that 64 percent of women feel “strongly unfavorable” toward Trump, compared with 41 percent of men.

The sexist and false claim was perfectly summed up by Chris Christie’s wife, Mary Pat, who stole the show with this little reaction:

Media

Full speech:

Trump: Lena Dunham Leaving for Canada Would Be a Great Thing For Our Country

Lena Dunham and Donald Trump

Not only would Donald Trump not mind if certain celebrities were to flee the United States if he is elected president, the Republican front-runner said Tuesday that their opposition to his candidacy only increases his will to win.

During a telephone interview with “Fox & Friends,” Trump was asked about a tweet from Lena Dunham on Monday in which she vowed to leave the U.S. for Vancouver if he is elected.

Trump’s response: “Well, she’s a B-actor. You know, she has no — you know, no mojo.”

“I heard Whoopi Goldberg too. That would be a great thing for our country,” Trump said, as the show flashed a graphic of celebrities who it said would leave the U.S. for Canada, including Dunham, Jon Stewart and Rosie O’Donnell, with whom the Manhattan real estate mogul has feuded for years.

When co-host Steve Doocy pointed out O’Donnell’s name on the list, Trump remarked, “Now I have to get elected.”

“Now I have to get elected because I’ll be doing a great service to our country,” he said. “Now it’s much more important. In fact, I’ll immediately get off this call and start campaigning right now.”

(h/t Politico)

Media

Horrific Living Conditions for Migrants Building Trump Dubai Golf Course

Immigrant workers in Dubai building a golf course bearing Donald Trump’s name are packed in labor camps that are low even by the city’s “unbelievably low standards,” according to a report aired by Vice in April.

“The conditions of the guys building the Trump International Golf Course were the worst I’ve ever seen,” said correspondent Ben Anderson. “Having guys live 21 to a room with rats running around above them; having to work extremely hard in extreme heat for two years just to break even, just to pay off the debts they accrued getting there.”

During his report, Anderson tailed a group of buses taking workers back to their camp after working on the course. The camp, he learned, was two hours outside of Dubai in an area that lacked even an access road. One worker said he earned $231 a month, but could not leave because the company that contracted him took his passport.

Besides being stuffed into dormitories, he said, workers had to make do with restrooms that “didn’t look fit for human beings.”

Their working situation, Anderson explained, was described by Human Rights Watch officials as looking “like a trafficking network.”

According to the Daily Beast, the golf course is not being built directly by a company belonging to the Republican presidential candidate, which released a statement saying it has “a zero tolerance policy for unlawful labor practices at any project bearing the ‘Trump’ name.”

Anderson said the horrific conditions workers endure in Dubai are endemic to the United Arab Emirates, where service workers are particularly in danger of mistreatment.

“Trump is just the latest in a long line of Westerners who have gone there, taken — I assume — large amounts of money and turned a blind eye to something which is very obvious and very well-documented,” he said.

(h/t Vice, Raw Story)

Media

Links

Vice episode on HBO Go and HBO Now.

Biker Vigilantes Patrol Trump’s Rallies

Bikers for Trump

If somehow the Secret Service, local law enforcement, and Donald Trump’s own security detail fail to protect him, the Republican presidential frontrunner has a biker gang to back him up. Ever since Trump was forced to cancel a rally in Chicago because of protesters, a group of 30,000 motorcyclists called Bikers for Trump has been patrolling his campaign events to help out law enforcement, Politico reports.

The group, which initially formed to hold independent rallies for Trump, is now appearing at Trump events across the country under the leadership of Chris Cox, a former advance man for former Vice President Dan Quayle. Though the group is doing this of their own accord, Politico reports that Trump’s campaign isn’t exactly hindering their efforts. Earlier this month, the bikers showed up in Albany to form a “protective barrier” between Trump supporters and Trump protesters. Just last week, the men showed up at a rally inside the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex where Politico reports they were “assuming functions typically reserved for paid security and police — patrolling the dirt floor of the arena, snatching and tearing protesters’ signs, and following close behind law enforcement officials as they dragged protesters from the arena, ready to lend a hand.”

Next up, the bikers plan to head to Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and California — and then on to the convention in Cleveland. “We’re not here to make headlines,” Cox told Politico, “we’re here to prevent them.”

(h/t The Week)

Reality

We’ve searched the news and so far and thankfully there hasn’t been any incidents involving Bikers for Trump as of this date. However biker gangs do not have the best track record when it comes to security.

Media

Links

“Meet the Vigilantes That Patrol Trump Rallies” – Politico

Bikers for Trump website

Trump Institute Fired Veteran For ‘Absences’ After He Was Deployed To Afghanistan

Trump University logo

Huffington Post – Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has been vocal about the need to take care of U.S. veterans. He’s said that if elected, he’ll “put our service men and women on a path to success as they leave active duty.”

But that’s not what the Trump Institute, a get-rich-quick real estate seminar, did for Richard Wright, a senior master sergeant in the Air Force reserves who worked for the company in 2006 and 2007. Wright was deployed to Afghanistan in the spring of 2007. When he came home to his job, the Trump Institute fired him. “All of your absences,” Wright’s boss at the Trump Institute told him, had forced the company to “reevaluate your position with the Trump Institute.” It is a violation of federal law to penalize an employee for absences caused by military service.

When Wright accepted a job at the Trump Institute in December 2006, he thought he’d be working directly with Trump.

“Having a chance to work with him was a dream come true,” Wright, now 48, said of Trump in an email to The Huffington Post.

Dozens of former customers of the Trump Institute and Trump University, a real estate instruction program, have also described being told that Donald Trump was personally overseeing the programs that bore his name, and that instructors were “hand-picked by Mr. Trump.” Judging from the information on the Trump Institute’s (now defunct) website, it’s easy to see why:

It was only after Wright started the job that he realized Trump had little to do with the day-to-day operations of the Trump Institute.

Trump provided his name, along with his image, his reputation, his video endorsements and his promises to help the Trump Institute lure potential customers and employees. But like many of the hundreds of businesses and real estate projects that have borne Trump’s name, the Trump Institute was actually a joint venture between Trump and an outside company — in this case, a Florida-based business called National Grants Conferences. Trump was paid franchise fees, but the details of his profits from the schools are a well-guarded secret.

Michael and Irene Milin, NGC’s founders, spent decades in the get-rich-quick business before linking up with Trump. NGC promised to teach its clients how to access millions of dollars in “free money” from the government. In reality, NGC seminars were little more than elaborate sales pitches for yet more NGC events, and the company, which has since been dissolved, had a long history of legal troubles and fraud investigations that spanned multiple states.

NGC’s free-money seminars provided the framework for the Trump Institute’s signature offering, the Donald Trump Way to Wealth Seminar. Trump Institute clients paid as much as $35,000 to learn the “Donald Trump Way To Wealth,” and to receive coaching from mentors like Wright.

In the clip below, from an infomercial that appears to date to 2006, Trump tells potential customers how important it is that they enroll in the Trump Institute. He also hits on the woman interviewing him.

That same year, the Trump Institute hired Wright as a tele-consultant (or “mentor,” in Trump parlance). His job was to speak on the phone with clients who had purchased “memberships” in the Trump Institute, and give them advice about investing in real estate.

On paper, Wright and his fellow mentors were technically employed by Xylophone, LLC, a foreign limited liability company controlled by Irene Milin. But to the outside world, they were working for the Trump Institute.

Two months into the job, Wright was called up for active duty, and in early February 2007, he wrote to his boss, Jay Shavin, to say he would be deployed to Afghanistan starting around March 1.

In Afghanistan, Wright was assigned to the 451st Air Expeditionary Group at Kandahar Airfield, near the country’s southern border with Pakistan. Wright was awarded three different medals for outstanding service in the six weeks he was overseas.

Wright arrived home to Florida on Monday, April 16, 2007. He asked his boss to approve two personal days for him to get his bearings, do laundry and so on.

Before Wright left for Afghanistan, he had approximately 40 different clients whom he was advising on how to buy real estate “the Trump Way.” Like the other Trump Institute mentors, Wright was promised commissions on his clients’ deals — $250 each time a client bought property and rented it out “using Trump methods,” and $750 each time a client bought and then sold a property, a process known as “flipping.”

In his first week back home, Wright emailed some of his clients to let them know he was “back safe and sound,” according to court documents.

On Monday, April 23, Wright got this note from Shavin:

I specifically told you NOT to contact your old clients. Jeff was in the office when we had the discussion. I also emphatically stated that you were not to contact your old clients. You are so concerned about your closings that do not exist, that your employment is in jeopardy. I told you that I put your former client into a deal that has not closed and would give it to you.

It is apparent that you do not listen to instructions. You are to report to my office tomorrow before you do anything. You have been here less than three months (deducting your time off for the Air Force Reserve). I find it insulting that you would make a request to be paid for time you did not work and/or personal time you did not earn.

You are still on probation. With all of your absences and inability to adhere to specific instructions, you force me to reevaluate your position with the Trump Institute.

Wright replied, in part: “I don’t think your previous comments were called for or appropriate. I am a good mentor & have always been a team player & do not appreciate being spoken to that way.”

“You needn’t be offended by my remarks,” Shavin wrote back. “Your employment is hereby terminated.”

In subsequent emails, Shavin denied that Wright was fired because of his time in Afghanistan. He also said that any further emails from Wright would be considered “harassment.”

A year later, Wright sued the Trump Institute and its parent company, Xylophone, for wrongful termination under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. That law, passed in 1972, requires that military service members called up to active duty from civilian jobs “be restored to the job and benefits you would have attained if you had not been absent due to military service.” Under the law, the burden falls on the employer to prove that it did not fire a service member for absences related to his or her military service.

The Trump Institute ultimately reached a settlement with Wright that forbids him from talking about the case. Shavin died in 2014. Lyn Miller, another former Trump Institute employee, said Shavin was “a knowledgeable and awesome guy.”

Alan Garten, executive vice president and general counsel of the Trump Organization, provided a statement to HuffPost when asked about Wright’s experience.

“The Trump Institute was a licensee of Trump University and was not owned or controlled by Mr. Trump or any of his companies,” Garten said. “As such, Mr. Trump had nothing whatsoever to do with the employment of any of the Trump Institute’s employees or mentors, had no involvement in the development or enforcement of any of the Trump Institute’s employment policies and has no knowledge of this matter. Mr. Trump has always been a great supporter of the men and women who have served in this country’s armed forces and has devoted much of his campaign to improving the lives of veterans.”

Trump’s attempts to distance himself from the companies that paid him money and bore his name haven’t shielded him from lawsuits over their conduct.

In 2013, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued Trump and Trump University for civil fraud. Included in his case filings were scores of complaints from Trump Institute clients. In California and New York, Trump University is facing allegations of fraud, and in the California case, the company faces a class action lawsuit with more than 5,000 plaintiffs.

HuffPost attempted to contact the Milins multiple times at the number listed for their charitable organization, the Milin Family Foundation, but there was never any answer.

Wright doesn’t blame Trump for his firing, even though the Trump Institute bore Trump’s name, benefited from Trump’s endorsement and paid money to Trump in franchise and licensing fees.

“He was really just the name on the box & had nothing to do with the inner workings of the company,” Wright said in an email to HuffPost. “At the time I really needed a job & I loved what I was doing.”

This fall, Wright, who still invests in real estate, hopes to vote for Donald Trump for president.

“I am a HUGE Trump fan and supporter and think he would make an excellent leader,” he said. Trump “is saying all the things that politicians have been afraid to say over the years. That is why they are nervous and siding against him. He threatens what they have worked so hard to build. As a veteran, I LOVE that he is wanting to make America great again.”

(h/t Huffington Post)

Reality

It is a violation of federal law to penalize an employee for absences caused by military service.

Some may argue that since Senior Master Sargent Wright himself does not put any direct blame on Donald Trump then therefor the buck should stop with the owners and operators of the Trump Institute. This, however, is not how the business world works. For example, in 1996 it was discovered that a clothing line by talk show host Kathy Lee Gifford was being manufactured by children as young as 12 in Honduran sweatshops. Even though Wal-Mart was responsible for producing the Kathie Lee Gifford clothing line the court of public opinion turned harshly against her. It was a business decision by Kathie Lee to place her name, her image, and her reputation on the line unchecked. (No pun intended.)

Donald Trump is running for the Republican candidacy for the President of the United States of America on qualifications that he is a “great businessman” so it is entirely fair to challenge him on his record. Donald Trump put his name and support behind companies, such as Trump University and the Trump Institute, which engaged in fraudulent and illegal activities. A great businessman would have either been more careful with where they invested or had more control in a company that they stamped their name on.

Trump Flip-Flops on North Carolina Transgender Bathroom Bill

Donald Trump answers questions on transgender bathroom use.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is tweaking his stance on North Carolina’s transgender bathroom law less than a day after he voiced his opposition to the legislation and suggested the state should just “leave it the way it is.”

“I love North Carolina, and they have a law, and it’s a law that, you know, unfortunately is causing them some problems,” Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity in an interview Thursday night. “And I fully understand that they want to go through, but they are losing business, and they are having people come out against.”

“I think that local communities and states should make the decision,” he went on to say. “And I feel very strongly about that. The federal government should not be involved.”

“In other words, let the state decide,” Hannity responded. “Kind of like your positions on education, give it back to the states.”

“Yeah, let them decide,” Trump said. “Absolutely.”

Reality

Trump has been flip-flopping on more and more issues lately. This is probably because he caught heat from the far-right wing of the Republican party for not being as insensitive as he usually is.

The North Carolina bathroom bill is a solution in search of a problem. There have been 0 reported cases of sexual assault by transgender individuals in public bathrooms. Coincidentally there have been 3 cases of Republican lawmakers arrested for sexual assault in a public bathroom.

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