Legal expert: Trump's tweets attacking the courts will be 'a record for his impeachment trial'
President Donald Trump (Photo: Screen capture)

President Donald Trump's Twitter tantrums make him his own worst enemy, especially with regards to the courts, said the Daily Beast's legal affairs expert Jay Michaelson.

In a Wednesday column titled "President Trump’s Tantrums Sink Him in Court Again," Michaelson said that to an attorney Trump is "the worst client in the world" because the president doesn't have the self discipline to ever keep his thoughts to himself.

"Yet again," Michaelson said,  "this time in a case involving his threat to withhold funding from so-called 'sanctuary cities,' Trump’s careless out-of-court statements have come to bite him in the behind, just as they did in the travel ban cases.  You can almost hear his lawyers sigh with exasperation."

He continued, "And yet, following the judge’s injunction against the sanctuary cities order, finding it overbroad and likely unconstitutional, Trump issued yet more outrageous statements, more lies, and more of a record for what would be the president’s ultimate court case: his impeachment trial."

Michaelson pointed out that it's ironic that Trump would object so strenuously to the 9th District Court of Appeals' decision on 'sanctuary cities' in that it contains "a defense of federalism," a concept near and dear to most conservative ideologues who resent anything that looks like overreach by the federal government.

Whether to locally enforce federal immigration laws is a decision for local law enforcement, the court said. Nor, wrote Judge William Orrick, can the distribution of federal housing grants be levied as a bargaining chip by the administration in this matter. Immigration policies are not relevant criteria, Orrick said, in allocating federal funding.

"But it was Trump’s unforced errors that really swung the decision," Michaelson wrote. "The government’s lawyers said the funds affected were small, but Trump said they were huge.  The lawyers said it was just a mild allocation of funding, but Trump said it was punishment.  The lawyers said that the order was narrowly focused on the sharing of information, but Trump said it was a broad weapon against cities not complying with the law."

His tweets, Michaelson said, "sunk his case."

Then, at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Trump erupted on Twitter again.

"First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings. See you in the Supreme Court!" said Trump.

Michaelson said, "This is false: the ruling was from a district court, not the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Indeed, the Ninth Circuit, which Trump just insulted, will be the next court to hear the appeal of the order.  Trump just pilloried the judges he’s going to be standing in front of next week."

Then, he said, Trump spouted "more lies and outrages."

"Out of our very big country, with many choices, does everyone notice that both the 'ban' case and now the 'sanctuary' case is brought in ... the Ninth Circuit, which has a terrible record of being overturned (close to 80%). They used to call this 'judge shopping!' Messy system," Trump said.

"Wrong.  First, the case was brought within the Ninth Circuit (again, at a district court, not the appellate court) because the City of San Francisco was the plaintiff.  There is no other circuit in which this case could have been tried," Michaelson said.

"Lawyers know about clients like this: ignoramouses who can’t keep their big mouths shut, and open them wide enough to put their feet inside.  If Trump would just STFU, judges would have to take the government’s lawyers at their word," he continued. "Yet the president is unable to discipline himself. The consequences are already dire for our democracy: this is a miserable state of affairs, with the United States reduced to a kind of banana republic led by an erratic strongman."

Fortunately, Michaelson said, Trump is leaving us a list of his impeachable offenses as part of the public record. Should, some time in the future, Congress wish to impeach Trump, "his statements ridiculing judges and lying about details large and small (Wiretapping! Three million illegal votes!) will come back to haunt him.  They will all be Exhibit A in the case against Trump’s ability to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution."

He concluded, "We may never get there, but if an impeachment trial ever does take place, Trump’s tantrums against the federal judiciary may tweet him right out of office."