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Jennifer Rubin shares her takeaway from Donald Trump invoking his 5th Amendment rights in 'the most Jen Rubin column of all time'

Last week, after Donald Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment rights during his deposition with New York State AG Letitia James’ office, former lead Trump impeachment counsel Daniel Goldman boldly proclaimed that “you don’t take the Fifth if you didn’t do anything wrong.”


As an attorney, he should really know better.

Jennifer Rubin should know better, too. She’s not an attorney, but she is a longtime Washington Post opinion columnist who made a name for herself as a pretty solid and rational conservative before Trump broke her brain. Here’s what Jen had to say regarding politicians who choose to exercise their Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate themselves:

Rubin should’ve stopped at “defeated former president and alleged mishandler of classified material has every right to avoid self-incrimination.” There shouldn’t be a “but” there. Just a period. Full stop.

Jen decided to keep going.


For eff’s sake, Jen. When you’re citing Laurence Tribe to back you up, you’ve already lost:

Laurence H. Tribe, a constitutional scholar at Harvard Law School, explains that a president “has a constitutional as well as a moral duty to see to it that the laws are faithfully executed — not just a passive duty to avoid violating the law, a duty everyone of course shares, but an active duty to ensure that the law is fully enforced as well as complied with. That active duty arguably includes an obligation to avoid invoking various otherwise available privileges — including the privilege to withhold criminally incriminating information.”

But … the Fifth Amendment is not a privilege; it’s a right. As a “constitutional scholar,” Laurence Tribe should know that. Any student of basic civics — including Jennifer Rubin — should also know that.


True, the Constitution spells out no disqualifications for federal office, other than conviction through impeachment and Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars a person from office if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” But voters certainly should consider the underlying conflict when a candidate for office takes the Fifth, especially when the issue goes to the core of our democracy.

Defenders might insist that Trump has not been convicted of any crime. But voters are allowed to draw their own conclusions about not only his underlying conduct but also his refusal to testify. As Norman Eisen, who served as co-counsel for the House Judiciary Committee during Trump’s first impeachment hearings, puts it, there is a “bond” between an official and the people of the nation, which is “created by election or appointment and also cemented by the oath of office.” Just as a civil jury can draw an adverse conclusion from Trump’s refusal to answer questions, “it should be disqualifying for Trump if he seeks to run again.”

There are a number of reasons Trump shouldn’t run for the presidency again. His decision to invoke the Fifth Amendment is not one of them.


We have some words, but they’re not very polite.

We’d better turn it over to other people before we say something we’ll regret (even though we highly doubt we’d regret it).


In the most Jennifer Rubin way, yes.


The really scary part is that there are still a decent number of people out there who look to someone like Jennifer Rubin for sharp political analysis. And ultimately, that’s not good for anybody.

Not even for Jen Rubin.


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