Sunday, August 14, 2022

Really, really stupid legal takes.


Was. He was. And that makes all the difference.



Anonymous said...

There is no Article II of the 1917 Espionage Act. In fact, the Act isn't divided into Articles at all.

Purple library guy said...

Huh. I went and read the thing. Anonymous is right . . . and furthermore, there is nothing in that Act that says or implies it can't apply to the President. Paragraph after paragraph just says basically "WHOEVER (does X) shall be subject to (lots of jail time)". It doesn't much mention the government, doesn't mention branches of government, the executive or anything. It does mention the president once; what it says is, the president can in time of war specifically authorize the Act to apply in places that the initial definition of where it applies doesn't cover. 'Cause like at the beginning it says it applies in the US plus all kinds of places outside the US where there's US stuff, and I guess the president could extend it to theatres of war and so forth. That's the ONLY mention of the president. Further, it doesn't really say anything about information being taken FROM THE GOVERNMENT in specific--it says things like information "respecting the national defence" and it being used to "the advantage of any foreign nation". So it really doesn't matter if you're the president or what.

So yeah, that tweet is not just wrong because Trump ain't the president now, it's just flat out false--either he's lying, or he's parroting a lie he heard.

The 1917 espionage act actually kind of sucks and can be construed to outlaw a bunch of non-espionage stuff. But that's not what's going on here, Trump is (probably) right in the sweet spot of what it's intended to hit.