Gage Skidmore / Flickr trump scowling...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Donald Trump is backing away from threats to take action against former FBI director James Comey.

Donald Trump’s lawyers will postpone filing a complaint against former FBI Director James Comey with the Justice Department, according to a person familiar with the decision — a bid to stop antagonizing the special counsel who’s investigating ties between the president’s campaign and Russian officials.

It’s possible, even likely, that Trump’s lawyers might be concerned about continually prodding Robert Mueller, though that notion doesn’t seem to have occurred to Trump. It’s even more likely that they’ve notice that Comey “leaking” an unclassified memo he wrote himself is neither a leak, nor a crime. Providing your own words on a situation generally goes by another name—testimony.

But just because Trump didn’t pull the trigger this time doesn’t mean he’s dropping the idea. He’s just backing off … to an infinite distance.

The president’s lawyers still intend to file a complaint at some point, the person familiar with the matter said. The person insisted on anonymity to discuss the president’s legal strategy. The delay is a professional courtesy to the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and a signal that the White House understands he needs space to do his job, the person said.

Courtesy. Just like the “professional courtesy” Trump was showing Mueller with this official White House Statement.

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Anyone who displeased Donald Trump in the past was certain to hear him threaten to sue. He threatened to sue groups running campaign ads against him. 

Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to sue groups running “nasty” ads attacking him. … It was not immediately clear which ad Trump was referring to.

Threaten to sue newspapers over articles on his sexual ‘advances.’

Donald J. Trump threatened to sue The New York Times for libel on Wednesday night in response to an article that featured two women accusing him of touching them inappropriately years ago, but the newspaper defended its reporting and told Mr. Trump’s lawyer that “we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight.”

Threaten to sue the women who accused him of sexual assault.

Before pivoting to his policy-based “closing argument” at Saturday’s rally, Trump swore to sue the 10 women who have come out in recent weeks with allegations of sexual assault against him while unleashing a more ferocious attack on the media.

What those cases have in common is that Donald Trump did not sue. Trump made more than two dozen threats to sue in just the last year. He actually acted on only two of these—one of which he already settled

Now that Trump has the Department of Justice under beck and call boy Jefferson Sessions, Trump can substitute filing a complaint with the DOJ for making a plea in front of a judge. But Trump’s lawyers seem to have noticed that, for the moment, there’s still no rule against saying things that offend Donald Trump.

But there’s plenty of opportunity to take care of that. After all, Trump has already signed off on a executive order against “aliens.” How hard would it be to sketch up one against “sedition”?

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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