Could Obama Sue Trump for Libel

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by samcraig, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. samcraig, Mar 6, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017

    samcraig macrumors P6

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    #1
    Could Trump face Libel Charges? Interesting argument here. No question Trump is reckless. I doubt Obama would sue. But the potential is there...

     
  2. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #2
    It's an interesting idea. But no, any attorney worthy of handling that sort of case would tell you it's not a winning case.

    The problem comes down to this: The Plaintiff would have to prove Actual Malice on the part of the person making false and defamatory statements. And "actual malice" doesn't mean a dislike for the person being defamed. It means that the person making the statements either knew them to be false, or entertained strong doubts about their veracity. That goes to the state of mind of the person accused. And that would be almost impossible to prove. If Donald Trump had written a note, or had a conversation with someone, along the lines of: "I know Obama didn't do this, but I'm going to go on Twitter and accuse him anyway" - then you might have a case. But it's doubtful such evidence exists, or would be obtainable by the plaintiff.

    The standard for a proving libel or defamation of a "Public Figure" is even higher than it is for a normal person. And that is where the "Actual Malice" standard comes in.

    Lastly, from a political and practical standpoint - Obama has little to gain from suing Trump. The whole world already knows that Donald Trump is a person with an unstable personality and a shocking history of lying. Winning a libel or defamation suit against Donald Trump isn't going to make Trump disappear. What might, eventually, lead to Trump's removal from office is him continuing to make dangerous and irrational outbursts on Twitter.
     
  3. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #3
    But he won't, so his kind of stuff circulating in the right wing echo chamber serves only stir up more tribalism.
     
  4. unlinked macrumors 6502a

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    Does the president not have some sort of limited immunity from lawsuits? At least for stuff related to the job.
    I seem to vaguely recall it coming up for president Clinton.
     
  5. MadeTheSwitch macrumors 6502a

    MadeTheSwitch

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    #5
    Libel? At this point between the birther stuff and now this it should be considered harassment with a corosponding restraining order issued in response.

    Wasn't Melania going to focus on bullying? She can start with her husband....now. Immediately.
     
  6. tshrimp macrumors 6502

    tshrimp

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    #6
    I don't think so. I think basically President Clinton just didn't have any repercussions, so it makes it look that way. Someone here can correct me if I am wrong. I am no legal pro.
     
  7. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

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    US Presidents have immunity from civil liability for official acts as president. Basically, this means you can't sue the president in his/her personal capacity for implementing policies or laws that harm you. If you are harmed, sue the government or agency responsible. This immunity has been read pretty narrowly before.
     
  8. tshrimp macrumors 6502

    tshrimp

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    #8
    Thanks for the info. Do you know if a sitting President can be held responsible for his actions after he left office for things that occurred while in office? I am not talking about bad decisions, but using B. Clinton as and example. Could he have actually faced chargers for perjury once his term was up?
     
  9. MacNut macrumors Core

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    #9
    Wasn't Nixon going to be brought up an charges before he resigned and was pardoned. Could impeach lead to actually legal charges.
     
  10. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

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    #10
    As far as I understand, the immunity lasts forever for things done while in office.

    That said, I don't think the immunity applied to the Bill Clinton perjury (maybe my memory is hazy), but seems to me getting a bj and lieing about it are not official presidential acts.
     
  11. Plutonius macrumors 603

    Plutonius

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    #11
    Nope. Obama has the same problem that Trump has in that they are both considered public figures so it's very difficult to win a libel suit.
     
  12. chown33 macrumors 604

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    #12
    That example seems like double jeopardy to me. Bill was impeached by the House, and then acquitted by the Senate.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution#Double_jeopardy

    That doesn't mean there can't be other consequences:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Clinton#Impeachment_and_acquittal
    On January 19, 2001, Clinton's law license was suspended for five years after he acknowledged to an Arkansas circuit court that he had engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice in the Jones case.​

    Nixon's case would be different. He resigned before he was impeached or tried, so he was never actually acquitted of anything. Then he was pardoned, so that was the end of it.
     
  13. samcraig thread starter macrumors P6

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    #13
    Did you not watch the video?
     
  14. bigjnyc macrumors 601

    bigjnyc

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    #14
    Great so this moron can go around making these kinds of accusations and outrageous statements to a wide audience with no repercussions whatsoever.
     
  15. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

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    #15
    Yep. It's two way street though. We can't be punished for making accusations about him either.
     
  16. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #16
    Pretty much. Although I strongly suspect that Trump will begin to see repercussions from within his own party sooner or later.

    As a general rule, the President has Absolute Immunity from civil liability for acts committed as President. Note, that's only civil liability. He could still be prosecuted for criminal acts. But even under the Absolute Immunity rule, a President is only given immunity for acts that fall in the "outer perimeter of Presidential responsibilities." If someone suffered a personal injury slipping in the bathroom of a President's private home - they could still sue him as the homeowner.
     
  17. bigjnyc macrumors 601

    bigjnyc

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    #17
    yeah but the difference is that if we make an accusation a few people hear, our friends, family and maybe co-workers... when he makes an accusation the whole nation sees/hears it.
     
  18. niploteksi macrumors regular

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    #18
    I'd dare to to say it's a little more far reaching than that :)
     
  19. sodapop1 Suspended

    sodapop1

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    #19
    The video won't play, something about it being private. But anyway, Trump should face criminal charges including impeachment for making false claims about a former president. Trump is a disgrace to the office.
     
  20. nia820 macrumors 68000

    nia820

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    #20
    Obama should sue Trump for harassment. He spent 8 years questioning Obama's citizenship and religion. Making demands he show his birth certificate and then when Obama provided one, he accused him of doctoring the birth certificate and claimed he had connections and evidence that Obama's birth certificate was fake ( of Orange man didn't provide any evidence). Now Trump is making new made up allegations about Obama with yet again no evidence.

    Why is Trump obesssed with Obama anyway? Does he has a secret crush on him or something?
     
  21. SusanK, Mar 6, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017
  22. MadeTheSwitch macrumors 6502a

    MadeTheSwitch

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    #22
    Awesome. Because I have it on good authority that Trump is a communist Russian-Martian who is trying to take over the planet and who will eat your children. My sources are anonymous and cannot be revealed, but believe me, people are saying. :D
    --- Post Merged, Mar 6, 2017 ---
    Go after? I'm just asking her to help us all out with a bullying project she said she'd be working on!
     
  23. SusanK macrumors 68000

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    #23
    I simply stated that I feel she should be of limits unless she decides to become actively involved in the administration.

    You may feel differently.
     
  24. sodapop1 Suspended

    sodapop1

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    #24
    She became active in his administration the moment she started acting as a character witness for him.
     
  25. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #25
    What seems to be at true is that the Obama administration spied on some of Trump's associates and we don't know exactly how much information was collected under what authority and who was targeted.

    As former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy summarizes in National Review, the Obama Justice Department considered a criminal investigation aimed at a number of Trump’s associates. When they didn’t find anything criminal, they converted the investigation into an intelligence probe under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Elements of that story have been confirmed by The New York Times, the BBC and McClatchy newspapers.

    FISA surveillance has to be approved by a special court, which almost always allows the government to spy on people when asked. But when the Justice Department asked to spy on several of Trump's associates, the court refused permission, according to the BBC. As McCarthy writes, this is notable because “the FISA court is notoriously solicitous of government requests to conduct national security surveillance.”

    Not taking no for an answer, the Obama administration came back during the final weeks of the election with a narrower request that didn’t specifically mention Trump. That narrower request was granted by the court, but reports from the Guardian and the BBC don't mention the tapping of phones..

    Former Obama officials issued denials that the former president had anything to do with it, which McCarthy calls “disingenuous on several levels.” Others have characterized them as a "non-denial denial.”

    link
     

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