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‘Staggering Omission’ in Trump’s Official Health Assessment: Yale Psychiatrist

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On Friday, White House doctors released the results of President Donald Trump’s physical. They concluded that Trump is in “very good health overall,” but could afford to lose some weight.

But missing from the assessment was any information about Trump’s mental health. Yale psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee, who edited “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” thinks the president suffers from mental problems that present a far bigger danger than his cholesterol levels.

Raw Story spoke with Lee about the president’s psychological problems and what should be done about it.

Tana Ganeva: What do you think of the president’s health care results?

Bandy X. Lee: What is staggering are the omissions. It is almost as if the White House doctor took an “It won’t exist if we don’t look” attitude. The most pressing questions, in my mind, are: Is the president capable of protecting the interests of the United States? Is he capable of keeping the country safe without placing it in further danger? Is he capable of discharging the duties of his office?

These are not comfortable questions to ask, but there cannot be a more urgent matter; any other consideration is of far lower priority. These questions have become more medical than political because of the severity of his signs of impairment.

When it becomes obvious that the president is incapable of making political decisions because he lacks the capacity to make rational decisions altogether, he should be tested medically.

Tana Ganeva: But the President’s apparent irrationality is being ignored?

Bandy X. Lee: This issue has been completely ignored. My Yale colleague of internal medicine Dr. Anna Reisman stated that one would “not need to see” the results of the president’s exam, as they will likely be false reassurances.

Medical ethicist Dr. Arthur Caplan of NYU School of Medicine said he “won’t be listening” to the outcome. It is unfortunate that so many have come to view the release of information as being less informative than no release at all.

The theatrical nature is observable in other ways. For instance, why were there “11 Board certified specialists”? All we have called for was a functional, mental capacity evaluation; this takes only one specialist, that is, an independent, forensic mental health professional.

The second most important specialist might be a cardiologist, but whether or not Mr. Trump consults one is his private affair, since he is not posing an imminent danger to the public because of a cardiac condition. He is, however, already posing a danger to the public, as objective reports and empirical evidence confirm, because of the multiple and consistent signs of emotional instability, cognitive decline, and violence-proneness. That there is some unseen logic that outweighs the harm—or that Mr. Trump is even capable of it—would only be proven in an exam, and the onus should now be on the president.

Tana Ganeva: The president is not likely to seek mental health care.

Bandy X. Lee: We know that those who need mental health care the most are the least likely to submit to proper evaluation and treatment. Mr. Trump’s reappointment of Dr. Ronny Jackson, who declared him “mentally fit to serve” last year despite lacking the training or the independence to do so, therefore, stands out as a warning signal if not a symptom.

Those who have awaited Mr. Trump’s annual exam for clarification on the false “mental health exam” a year ago, which was neither replaced nor redone after Dr. Jackson himself was removed from his position as the president’s personal physician, will be rightly disappointed. As a reminder, Dr. Jackson, in response to the public’s concerns over the president’s mental stability, performed a sham 10-minute dementia screen on which full-blown Alzheimer patients and hospitalized schizophrenia patients are known to score up to 30 out of 30.

Fitness for duty, in any case, is determined not through a personal health exam but through an independent functional test that evaluates a person’s ability to do a job and not to put others in danger.

Tana Ganeva: You’ve officially recommended that President Trump be tested for mental fitness. What did that look like?

Bandy X. Lee: The World Mental Health Coalition’s working group on an expert panel for presidential fitness created an ad hoc committee for dangerousness because of presidential incapacity last year, and we sent a letter to all members of Congress before Mr. Trump’s nomination of a Supreme Court justice and his Helsinki conference with Vladimir Putin.

Our recommendation was for him to undergo testing before he embarked on any more critical decisions, given the serious signs of mental incapacity that he had shown. We know the outcomes of the controversial Supreme Court justice nominee at the time (who himself exhibited many signs of impairment) and the very bizarre Helsinki conference, where Mr. Trump sided with a nation that attacked us against our country’s own intelligence officials.

Yesterday, the ad hoc committee issued another letter of warning to all Congress members addressing the president’s need to demonstrate mental capacity before making additional critical decisions such as declaring a national emergency. As of today, he has done so against all advice and despite the absence of any evidence of an emergency.

Tana Ganeva: What other acts by the president made you worried?

Bandy X. Lee: He has created many emergencies. As of February 1, 2019, he has withdrawn the U.S. from a long-standing nuclear weapons treaty with Russia, reversing course from decades of arms control diplomacy and setting the stage for a new nuclear arms race. Meanwhile, other nuclear powers, such as North Korea, Pakistan, and India, are following suit. Despite this initiation, Mr. Trump stated that he believes he had “no choice” but to withdraw, and would rather “outspend and out-innovate all others” in the production of weapons of mass destruction. As expected, Russian President Putin vowed to do the same. This is precisely what numerous mental health professionals have warned against, in underscoring Mr. Trump’s “psychological attraction” to nuclear weapons and nuclear war, especially in the public-service book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.

Tana Ganeva: What’s your overall message about the president’s ability to lead?

Bandy X. Lee: Mental health is inseparable from overall health. The absence of the typical degenerative diseases of old age is not only a sign of good health if we consider the larger context. In my twenty years of treating violent offenders, I have often seen arrested emotional development have the side effect of unexpectedly lower levels of the typical adult diseases stemming from the stress of being responsible for and worrying about others, the larger society, or the world.

These individuals may more often be in a wheelchair or walk with a cane by age thirty, or suffer from head trauma-induced dementia, than be plagued of the typical cardiac or cerebrovascular problems that afflict older individuals. The condition Mr. Trump does have—obesity—is a well-known adult consequence of childhood emotional trauma, precisely the kind that can lead to arrested development. Physical signs of dangerous individuals are not well studied, but we know that they often have oddities in speech (I have especially found a difficulty in pronouncing “s” in ways that are unrelated to mechanical problems) and excessive hand gestures that compensate for poor speech. These are both observed in the president but are unlikely to be picked up by a physician performing a limited physical exam.

The signs are numerous, and we recognize the pattern very well. It is time that the president undergo proper testing and be offered proper care, rather than further enable his pathology.

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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Top House Democrat Blasts ‘Yahoos in Texas’ and ‘Negligent’ Supreme Court Over Vigilante Abortion Ban

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House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) Tuesday morning vowed to protect women’s reproductive rights, blasting the Republicans in Texas who enacted a vigilante law that effectively bans almost all abortion, and the conservatives on the Supreme Court who refused to stop them.

“Later on this week,” Rep. Jeffries said, discussing the House majority’s agenda, “we will pass legislation sponsored by Judy Chu, The Women’s Health Care Protection Act, to make it clear that women across America should have the freedom to make their own reproductive health care decisions. Shouldn’t be determined by a bunch of yahoos in Texas, and a negligent Supreme Court.”

Video here.

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Two Longtime Republican Operatives Indicted — and There’s a Russia Connection: Report

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Reuters legal reporter Jan Wolfe revealed Monday evening that two Republican Party operatives have been indicted after helping Russians donate to political campaigns in 2016.

The Justice Department revealed in a statement that Kentucky’s Jesse Benton and Florida’s Roy Douglas “Doug” Wead were “charged with one count of conspiracy to solicit and cause an illegal campaign contribution by a foreign national, effect a conduit contribution, and cause false records to be filed with the FEC, one count of contribution by a foreign national, one count of contribution in the name of another and three counts of making false entries in an official record.”

Benton was just pardoned by former President Donald Trump for a bribery scandal while working for Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in Iowa in 2012. In that scheme, Benton and colleague John Tate bribed state officials to change their endorsements to Paul for the Iowa Caucus.

After being pardoned for that, Benton is now being indicted again along with Wead for arranging for a Russian National who wanted to donate to a 2016 presidential campaign to be able to meet with the candidate.

“Benton reached out to individuals at Political Committee B, the national party committee for Political Candidate 1’s political party,” the indictment explains. “He then arranged for Foreign National 1 to attend a political fundraising event and get a photograph with Political Candidate 1, in exchange for a political contribution to Political Committee C, a joint fundraising committee comprised of the campaign committee for Political Candidate 1, Political Committee B, and related state committees. Foreign National 1 ultimately wired $100,000 to Company A, a political consulting firm owned by Benton.”

He then tried to disguise the wire transfer by labeling it “consulting services” and crafted a “cover story.”

Wead went to the fundraiser with the foreign national Sept. 22, 2016 with a translator (Foreign National 2). They all three had their photos taken with the candidate.

“Following the event, Benton repeatedly represented to a consultant working for Political Committee B and Political Committee C that he had already sent the promised contribution for the event, but in actuality he delayed sending the contribution,” said the DOJ. “Benton ultimately filled out a contributor form, indicated that he was the contributor, and used a personal credit card to make a $25,000 contribution. Benton retained the remaining $75,000 of Foreign National 1’s money. Because Benton falsely claimed to have given the contribution himself, three different political committees unwittingly filed reports with the FEC that inaccurately reported Benton, rather than Foreign National 1, as the source of the funds.”

Read the full report at the DOJ.

 

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Legal Experts and Critics Slam Justice Clarence Thomas for ‘Speaking Out Against Something He Is Actively Doing’

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Critics are  observing Constitution Day by responding to remarks U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas made on Thursday, when he blasted the media for criticizing decisions from the nation’s highest court and warning federal judges to not wade in to political discussions.

“When we begin to venture into the legislative or executive branch lanes, those of us, particularly in the federal judiciary with lifetime appointments, are asking for trouble,” Justice Thomas said, CNN’s Supreme Court reporter Ariane de Vogue reports, ironically observing that Justice Thomas made those remarks “during a sweeping lecture at the University of Notre Dame that also touched on themes of equality, race and the state of the country.”

The CNN report adds:

Of all the members of the high court, Thomas has made his views on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion across the US, crystal clear. In 2007, he said that he believed that Roe and the follow-up decision called Planned Parenthood v. Casey had “no basis in the Constitution.” And in 2020, he said that Roe is “grievously wrong for many reasons, but the most fundamental is that its core holding — that the Constitution protects a woman’s right to abort her unborn child — finds no support in the text of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

Thomas also on Thursday “seemed to nod to the controversy” of “so-called court packing”:

“We have lost the capacity” as leaders “to not allow others to manipulate our institutions when we don’t get the outcomes that we like,” he said.

Critics, including legal experts are weighing on on Justice Thomas’s remarks, blasting him for, as Daily Beast editor-at-large Molly Jong-Fast says, “speaking out against something he is actively doing.”

Related: Justice Clarence Thomas Has Been Secretly Lobbying Senators to Get a Trump Judicial Nominee Confirmed

Keith Boykin, a CNN political commentator who earned his law degree at Harvard and served in the Clinton White House was even more pointed:

“Clarence Thomas didn’t seem too worried about ‘destroying our institutions’ when he cast the deciding vote to make Bush president in 2000 or to gut the Voting Rights Act in 2013 or when he sat silently from 2017-2021 as Trump trashed our institutions.”

Dr. Miranda Yaver, a political science professor (US law, public policy, health policy) at Oberlin blasted Justice Thomas, saying that “claiming that the Supreme Court isn’t political is nonsense and we all know it. FWIW, whenever I teach Constitutional Law and students go, ‘Who in the hell would write that opinion??’ the answer is invariably Clarence Thomas.”

Norman Ornstein, a political scientist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), laughed:

VOX senior correspondent Ian Millhiser, author of “The Agenda: How a Republican Supreme Court is Reshaping America,” also criticizes Thomas’s apparent hypocrisy:

RELATED:

Clarence Thomas’ Wife Is Helping Trump Purge ‘Snakes’ From the White House — and Replace Them With Fox News Regulars

Clarence Thomas: Slavery Didn’t Take Away Dignity So How Can Same-Sex Marriage Bestow It?

 

 

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