Old and busted: Trump committed a crime by holding up Ukrainian aid…New hotness: Trump is literally a murderer.
The Daily Beast, once again showing they’ll publish anything that contains the right amount of orange man bad, has put out a piece by a former CIA lawyer claiming that Trump not only broke the law when he ordered the strike on Qassem Soleimani, but that he personally committed homicide.
In bragging that he ordered a successful hit on Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, President Trump has admitted to killing a senior government official of a sovereign state, Iran, while he was traveling in another sovereign state, Iraq. On its face, his conduct and intent satisfy the elements of premeditated murder under Section 1116 of Title 18 of the United States Criminal Code, “Murder or manslaughter of foreign officials, official guests, or internationally protected persons.”
We can and must debate, and many are, whether the killing was an “assassination” or a violation of “international norms,” but neither of those charges has been codified by Congress into the criminal code and thus they have no teeth. The assassination ban is found in an executive order and a president is not bound by it. As for international norms, including the adherence to long-standing principles of the ethics of just war, well, ignoring norms is Trump’s calling card, and his supporters love him for it.
The provisions of the United States Criminal Code, however, bind all persons, including presidents. They cannot be waived, and they have very sharp teeth. By ordering the drone attack killing General Soleimani, it appears that Trump committed a homicide under federal law.
This scorching hot take comes from Vicki Divoll, who has decided to grace us with her legal expertise while showing she clearly didn’t even read the statute she’s citing.
On it’s face, this is farcical, otherwise it would have been attempted murder for the Obama administration to try to kill Qaddafi (they only blew up his convoy and injured him). Oddly enough, I don’t remember any citations of law about how Qaddafi, who was obviously a foreign official. In fact, the statute in question specifically says that it does not matter whether the U.S. government recognizes a foreign official or not, only that they are one.
Also, this ridiculous assertion would apparently implicate the drone operator for murder as well, with Trump playing the role of the ringleader paying a hitman or something.
But arguments about precedent aside, Soleimani doesn’t even fall under the text of the law in question. Divoll simply never bothered to read it fully I guess.
A foreign official for the purpose of that provision is restricted to "a Chief of State… President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Ambassador, Foreign Minister, or other officer of Cabinet rank." Soleimani was none of those things. https://t.co/R2VMiHNc2n pic.twitter.com/EW06WFgG2q
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) January 23, 2020
Soleimani, being the terrorist that he was, doesn’t meet any of those official roles, even if it’s known under the table that he had great power. Soleimani was a military official operating in a foreign country, carrying out attacks on U.S. citizens. In no tortured twisting of this law does he garner protection from it. It’s just completely false to assert such.
Further, Soleimani was a designated terrorist by the U.S. government, which overrides many of the domestic provisions in regards to the legalities of taking him out.
But it get’s worse for Divoll, as the statute also clearly notes that it only applies to officials currently in the United States.
The fact that someone this vapid worked as a CIA lawyer should scare everyone. This is the caliber of people that make up many of the careerist positions within our government. The idea that they are infallible and free from bias is laughable.
To give this lady the benefit of the doubt that she simply misread the statute is being too kind. Instead, she read it, likely noted the obvious reasons it didn’t apply, but rushed to lie about it in her piece anyway. And a mainstream media publication was more than happy to print it. That’s the state of affairs right now.