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Lanny Davis pushes Donald Trump’s removal from office via 25th Amendment, cites Bustle.com article

September 5, 2018

While Lanny Davis promotes Michael Cohen as the man who could bring down the president, the Democratic operative also has made an argument for the removal of President Trump.

Mr. Davis, long a fierce defender of Bill and Hillary Clinton, said Mr. Trump is in a word nuts. His argument is based in part on a women’s magazine article by Brandi Neal, a self-described storyteller who also writes about pet psychology.

In his book “The Unmaking of the President 2016,” Mr. Davis cites the article to diagnose “malignant narcissism.” Mr. Davis pushes for a special congressional panel that would judge whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office under the Constitution’s 25th Amendment. It sets up a process, separate from impeachment, in which Congress votes to end a presidency because of a mental disorder or impairment.

The book debuted in February. Since then, Mr. Davis has risen to prominence as a player in the Russia election meddling investigation by joining the Cohen defense team.

Mr. Trump’s personal attorney at the Trump Organization for over a decade, Cohen has split with his former boss. He pleaded guilty Aug. 21 to eight felonies, including violating campaign finance laws by funneling hush money to two women who claimed to be Mr. Trump’s former lovers. He said Mr. Trump ordered him to make the payments.

“Today he stood up and testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election,” Mr. Davis said after the plea. “If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?”

Mr. Davis’ bitterness over Hillary Clinton’s election loss to Mr. Trump and his desire to oust the president is important because it could be influencing the advice he provides to Cohen. Cohen’s next step may be to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

For his 25th Amendment argument, Mr. Davis’ key piece of research is a January 2017 article in the women’s online magazine Bustle.com.

Ms. Neal lists eight “signs of malignant narcissism,” including a sense of entitlement, a lack of conscience, sadism and egocentrism. The section on sadism contains an image from a “Seinfeld” TV episode. She cites the serial killer in the movie “American Psycho” as an example.

She also writes about pet psychology.

“It’s common for both humans and dogs to lose their appetites while they’re grieving,” she said in an article on diagnosing a pet’s condition. “Additionally, just like people, dogs and cats tend to sleep more than usual after suffering the loss of a human or animal friend.”

Mr. Davis notes that the “malignant narcissism” article was released a few weeks after Mr. Trump was inaugurated. The article does not allude to Mr. Trump in any way.

Writes Mr. Davis: “This is the Donald Trump that most people recognize. For every personality trait described among these eight, it is not difficult to recall Donald Trump acting exactly this way on multiple occasions. Even his core base supporters should agree that these traits are more than a little reminiscent of Donald Trump. In fact, to these core supporters, many of these traits are why they voted for him.”

He then makes his argument to activate the 25th Amendment.

“To make an appropriate assessment of using the extreme remedy of removal of the president for mental impairment, experts must first determine whether President Trump shows signs of recognizable mental disorders or impairments that could create risks to our constitutional liberties or our national security, or both,” he writes. “The evidence to date is that he does.”

Mr. Davis sees the 25th Amendment as an easier, streamlined method for removal that could take four weeks. Impeachment, which he also advocates, takes months.

“However, there is an alternative view that invoking the Twenty-Fifth Amendment could be easier if it became an overwhelming bipartisan consensus that, because of the president’s mental imbalance and impairment, our nation itself was in danger. In such an event, the inevitably slow and political process of using impeachment to remove a president might be a luxury the country could not afford,” Mr. Davis writes.

“If Trump’s behavior became so threatening to the American people, enough to overcome the vice president’s inevitable loyalty to the man who selected him, then the Twenty-Fifth Amendment even if a two-thirds vote was required twice due to a resisting Donald Trump could be the better and more easily expedited course, conceivably accomplished from start to finish under the provisions of Section 4 within four or five weeks.”

No mention of dossier

Dr. Ronny Jackson, as White House physician, conducted Mr. Trump’s first presidential physical in January amid rampant media speculation that the president suffers from a psychological disorder, given his impulsive tweeting and angry outbursts.

At the president’s request, Dr. Jackson explored Mr. Trump’s cognitive skills and found that he answered 30 of 30 questions correctly.

“My personal experience is that he has absolutely no cognitive or mental issues whatsoever,” the physician said.

Mr. Davis’ main point in “The Unmaking of the President in 2016” is that FBI Director James B. Comey delivered victory to Mr. Trump by announcing late in the campaign that newly discovered Hillary Clinton emails had to be analyzed for classified information. Mr. Comey subsequently announced that the review did not change his opinion that Mrs. Clinton didn’t break the law.

Mr. Davis’ argument for exploring impeachment relies predominantly on news stories from two Trump critics, The Washington Post and The New York Times.

His book doesn’t mention the Christopher Steele dossier that Mrs. Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic Party paid for and often fuels Mr. Trump’s anger.

Mr. Steele leveled a number of collusion charges that Mrs. Clinton’s surrogates made sure ended up in the hands of the FBI. The bureau used the document extensively to investigate Trump associates.

Mr. Trump cites the dossier, which relied on unidentified Russian sources, as a miscarriage of justice by the FBI. Republicans say the dossier represents real Russian election collusion because its sources are in the Kremlin and Mrs. Clinton’s surrogates spread their supposed Trump dirt around Washington.

Mr. Davis at one time backed the dossier. But after representing Cohen, he said the dossier’s claims against his client are false.

There has been no indication that Mr. Mueller is examining whether the dossier’s production violated the law.

Mr. Davis said impeachment is the way to learn the truth about whether Trump people colluded with Moscow to hack Democratic Party computers.

Sen. Richard Burr, North Carolina Republican and chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told The Associated Press that he has not seen evidence of collusion after nearly two years of investigating.

Writes Mr. Davis: “Our Constitution gives Congress, specifically the House of Representatives, the awesome power to get to the truth about a president’s abuse of power and betrayal of the trust placed in him. And the House and Senate impeachment process is the best way to determine whether and, if so, how alien and hostile forces of the Russian government at the highest levels succeeded in corrupting our democracy. If there is evidence of collusion by any American, much less the president himself, then we must know that. And if there is none, we must know that too.”

Mr. Davis, after making arguments for impeachment as well as 25th Amendment proceedings, adds a caveat: “I hope that this epilogue is not read as a definite recommendation that Donald Trump be impeached as president or that he lacks the mental stability and judgment to discharge his duties and powers as president.”

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