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Trump and his ‘SLAPP Schtick’
Bob Franken
Bob Franken is an Emmy-winning journalist. - photo by File photo

Through his entire life, Donald Trump has been a SLAPP master. What is SLAPP, you ask? Good question. It stands for “strategic lawsuit against public participation.” For our purposes, it means frivolous legal action, usually by someone with deep pockets, designed to use the court system to intimidate someone else who doesn’t have deep pockets.

SLAPPs are against the law in 30 states and D.C. But how does one prove that the litigation crosses the line? The misuse of the legal system is one of the sleaziest tactics available to lawyers and their unscrupulous clients. And who is more unscrupulous than now-President Trump? He is intensely resisting becoming a former president, utilizing dirty diversionary maneuvers that risk being laughed out of court. 

We can only assume they will be rejected given how he has stacked the Supremes with ultraconservatives who will soon have the opportunity to demonstrate that they can dispense “Equal Justice Under Law,” as is carved into the entrance of their building, or whether their bench is dominated by political hacks. 

That’s because POTUS has gone SLAPP happy. He’s hunkered down in the White House, trying to make a mockery of the nation’s legal system by filing whatever lawsuits he can. All are really nothing more than efforts to clog the courts with barriers to facing the reality of what lies ahead when he gets replaced in office by Joe Biden.

For starters, his distortion of the laws may be partially due to the knowledge that he faces criminal and financial accountability for his own many various abuses. So let’s see whether his sleazy use of the law bears fruit. 

And let’s see if his remaining time in office -- assuming he doesn’t steal the election -- is filled with its own corruption. Will he utilize, for instance, his pardon power to grant freedom to his friends who were caught with their hands in the till (either the money till or the ideological one)? For that matter, will he plan to pardon himself? And let’s see whether he makes a final push to do favors for industries he needs and deregulates whatever remaining rules they want discarded. And let’s see if he makes some deal with his authoritarian buddies to escape the United States and avoid facing his future here.

It’s embarrassing to say so, but we need to be on the alert for an attempted coup. Will he barricade himself and his family in some White House bunker and refuse to leave?

True, that gets a tad outlandish, but our political system has not really shown much luster of late, whether it’s his amoral Republican enablers or the underperforming Democrats. And let’s not overlook the media.

As we work to excise the Trumpster malignancy that has metastasized over our entire body politic, Joe Biden’s close call shows that the nation has millions of cancer hotspots. The Democrats managed to squander momentum in spite of the GOP buffoon at the top; they lost seats in the House of Representatives and stand to blow the chance of prying the Senate from the Trump Party gangsters. 

Only when Trump is finally severed, if he is, can we form a sane strategy for dealing with COVID. But at least we will be able to start cleaning up the sewage he left behind and try to recover from Trump’s national SLAPP in the face. 

Bob Franken is an Emmy Award-winning reporter who covered Washington for more than 20 years with CNN.

(c) 2020 Bob Franken

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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