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Kafkatrapping Trump: Using frustrated reaction to false Russia collusion investigation as proof of guilt

Kafkatrapping Trump: Using frustrated reaction to false Russia collusion investigation as proof of guilt

CNN Chief Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin: “Trump’s frustration at leaks and investigation are evidence of guilt, not innocence”

We first wrote about Kafkatrapping in September 2013:

A reader writes:

In White-liberal white-baiting link-baiting gone wild you mentioned this:

Make an outlandish statement about White people.

Watch White people react in denial.

Use denial reaction as proof you were right all along.

There’s a word for this logical Fallacy. It’s called Kafkatrapping.

In short it takes the form of using denial of guilt as proof of guilt. Here’s the blog that explains it very well.

I think the term should be used more widely.

Here’s an excerpt from the referenced blog post explaining it, Kafkatrapping:

One very notable pathology is a form of argument that, reduced to essence, runs like this: “Your refusal to acknowledge that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…} confirms that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…}.” I’ve been presented with enough instances of this recently that I’ve decided that it needs a name. I call this general style of argument “kafkatrapping”, and the above the Model A kafkatrap….

My reference, of course, is to Franz Kafka’s “The Trial”, in which the protagonist Josef K. is accused of crimes the nature of which are never actually specified, and enmeshed in a process designed to degrade, humiliate, and destroy him whether or not he has in fact committed any crime at all. The only way out of the trap is for him to acquiesce in his own destruction; indeed, forcing him to that point of acquiescence and the collapse of his will to live as a free human being seems to be the only point of the process, if it has one at all.

This is almost exactly the way the kafkatrap operates in religious and political argument. Real crimes – actual transgressions against flesh-and-blood individuals – are generally not specified. The aim of the kafkatrap is to produce a kind of free-floating guilt in the subject, a conviction of sinfulness that can be manipulated by the operator to make the subject say and do things that are convenient to the operator’s personal, political, or religious goals. Ideally, the subject will then internalize these demands, and then become complicit in the kafkatrapping of others.

In July 2017, we applied the Kafkatrapping analysis to the treatment of Bret Weinstein at Evergreen State College, where his vigorous defense of himself, including on Tucker Carlson’s show, was used against him as proof of his racism. We wrote, Kafkatrapped at Evergreen State College:

Bret Weinstein is a professor at Evergreen State College in Washington State who ran afoul of student and faculty social justice warriors when he objected to a proposal to have white leave campus for a day.

Weinstein’s reasonable and nuanced objection was met with confrontation, as we documented many times…

It seems that’s the situation in which Prof. Weinstein finds himself. His denial of being racist, including seeking media attention to clear himself because there was no other forum available, was used as proof of his racism.

That defending oneself against false accusations of racism would be used as proof of racism is nothing new. It’s an experience with which conservatives on campus are familiar.

Fast forward to Attorney General William Barr’s press conference just before release of the Mueller Report, where he noted that Trump acted out of frustration at the false accusations, something that was important as to whether Trump had sufficient corrupt motive to obstruct justice (emphasis added):

In assessing the President’s actions discussed in the report, it is important to bear in mind the context.  President Trump faced an unprecedented situation.  As he entered into office, and sought to perform his responsibilities as President, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking office, and the conduct of some of his associates.  At the same time, there was relentless speculation in the news media about the President’s personal culpability.  Yet, as he said from the beginning, there was in fact no collusion.  And as the Special Counsel’s report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the President was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks.  Nonetheless, the White House fully cooperated with the Special Counsel’s investigation, providing unfettered access to campaign and White House documents, directing senior aides to testify freely, and asserting no privilege claims.  And at the same time, the President took no act that in fact deprived the Special Counsel of the documents and witnesses necessary to complete his investigation. Apart from whether the acts were obstructive, this evidence of non-corrupt motives weighs heavily against any allegation that the President had a corrupt intent to obstruct the investigation.

Jeffrey Toobin, Chief Legal Analyst at CNN, used Barr’s words about how upset Trump was to Kafkatrap Trump in this tweet (emphasis added):

Happy people don’t obstruct justice. Trump’s frustration at leaks and investigation are evidence of guilt, not innocence. But let’s see the report . .

This legally significant as to whether Trump had a corrupt motive or sufficient intent to constitute obstruction.

Toobin repeated it on air after the Barr press conference:

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Particularly about the issue of intent. You know, did the president intend to obstruct justice. And, you know, the most extraordinary paragraph of the attorney general’s statement is, you know, the sort of “woe is me” problem —


TOOBIN: — that the president — you know, there were leaks and there were people around — around. He was frustrated. And that’s evidence of guilt. That’s not evidence of innocence.

You know, happy people don’t obstruct justice.

Judd Legum at Think Progress joined in, tweeting about the correctness of Toobin’s analysis right at the report was released (emphasis added):

Barr then holds another press conference this morning and declares Trump innocent of obstruction again, dismissing an obstructive conduct as the product of “frustration.”

As Jeffrey Toobin said, this is evidence of guilt. Happy people don’t obstruct justice

This is no joke, though it does sound like a line from Legally Blonde (h/t Twitchy)

Not a strong day for legal analysis, as Seth Mandel noted:

As funny and stupid as the arguments of Toobin and Legum are, their willingness to Kafkatrap people is dangerous, and embodies so much of the media attitude toward the Russia collusion hoax.

Make false claims against someone, amplify the false claims, then use the denial as proof of guilt. A perfect synopsis of the actions of Democrats and the media since Trump’s 2016 election win.


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How does “Kafkatrapping” differ from a classic “Catch-22”?

Also, remember the closely-related Kavanaugh:
1) Senators accuse a Supreme Court nominee of running a gang rape ring.
2) Nominee reacts angrily.
3) Anger proves he lacks judicial temperament.

I’d like to add two things. First, Hillary was not a happy camper about the investigation into her; to this day she views it as vile persecution by the FBI. Does that make her guilty? I think not. It is not a point of principle I will budge on.

Second, the entire 2nd half of the Mueller report was based on a “non-traditional” approach that claims, these allegations must be aired against the target of the investigation – President Trump – in public, or else a cloud of suspicion will hang over him that he cannot dispel because these claims will never see the inside of a legitimate courtroom. So instead… we’ll just publicly publish all of these suspicions so that he can have them smearing his name right out in the open where he can attempt to prove his innocence.

I do not think this, or the Comey press conference about Hillary Clinton, constitutes either a good trend or a good idea.

    Terence G. Gain in reply to JBourque. | April 20, 2019 at 8:21 am

    Mueller is the last person on earth who should have investigated whether President Trump was obstructing him. Mueller had an obvious conflict of interest and should have declined to investigate. It is never appropriate for the allegedly aggrieved party to be in charge of investigating whether he has been obstructed.

Colonel Travis | April 19, 2019 at 3:12 pm

NeverTrumpers = psychotic
Most the media = psychotic
Democrats = psychotic

I’ve never seen such mass irrationality in my life, and many of these people are in control of serious things. That’s when it becomes dangerous.

Half this country supports the very tyranny we fought a freaking war over.

Happy people don’t obstruct justice.

A classic non-sequitur. About as sensible and relevant as, say, “Short people don’t obstruct justice.” The implication being that DJT isn’t particularly short, therefore . . . ?

These twits are reminding me of a bad stand-up comic; his jokes keep bombing, but he still has to stand up there and pretend to be funny.

Happy people do not obstruct justice. Trump did not obstruct justice (He cooperated fully with the investigation). Trump must be happy.

But unjustly accused people are unhappy about it. Trump was unjustly accused. Therefore Trump must not be happy.

Liberal logic = obligatory self contradiction.

It must be hard on li’ll Toobin to lose not once, but every time to Trump. His toxic hatred of all things Trump is grist for the deranged.

Trump was innocent of the charges of Colluding with Russia in an effort to win the 2016 Presidential election. But, is publicly accused of that as well as treason and myriad other crimes on an minute-by-minute basis. He, his family, friends and associates are subjected to vile insults and charges of vile behavior just as often. He is stymied by his own DOJ, as well as his advisors, who refuse to stop these unwarranted attacks. And, people wonder why he was frustrated? People wonder why he was angry?

Now, the same people who vilified and persecuted Trump and others for three years are terrified. They engaged in criminal acts for which they can be prosecuted. And, with Barr as AG, that might well happen. When Barr stated that spying, against the Trump campaign, had occurred, certain people crapped their pants. McCabe is under indictment and Liu is no longer in a position to help him. Rosenstein is on the way out, removing another layer of protection. There are a whole slew of unindicted DOJ and FBI employees and former employees, who are looking at potential criminal charges. Hillary was not given immunity from prosecution for Servergate, the DOJ just decided not to prosecute her. The Clinton Foundation investigation is still out there. There are still all kinds of illegal leaks of classified material which have not been investigated. Though the perpetrators of some have already been identified. Then there is Uranium One. It has not been forgotten. The Obama Administration was a hotbed of criminal activity. And a lot of people are terrified that the chicken may have come home to roost.

We may see a whole lot more frustration from others involved in this. Though in their case, it will probably be because they ARE guilty.

Every practicing attorney is appalled at Toobin. His inadequacy as an attorney is beyond measure. Only a fool would hire this incompetent, which explains his presence on this network.

Nice that Dems and Mueller have redefined obstruction to include defending yourself publically. This people are garbage-tier.

“CNN Chief Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin: “Trump’s frustration at leaks and investigation are evidence of guilt, not innocence””

This is what they said about Kavanaugh when he got angry and emotional about being accused of being a serial rapist in front of his wife and daughters. It meant he was guilty.

Of course, if he laughed it off it would have meant he was guilty as well.

And, if he had remained stoically calm it not only meant he was guilty but a sociopath because only a sociopath would remain unaffected by such vile charges.

Are we really going to allow the Democrats to take us down this road?

I don’t care about any of this. All I care about is bringing the seditious conspirators to justice.

So these guys are legal analysts. Would they then say that innocent people don’t plead the fifth? What about all the Obama holdouts who plead the fifth. Were they guilty? Lois Lerner? Guilty?
Oh. That’s right. Dems are innocent when pleading the 5th. Republicans are guilty. And Trump? He’s guilty of everything. Even things totally unrelated to anything. Notre Dame fire? Trump’s fault. Tornado? Trump. Hurricane? Trump.

    As long as we remember all that next time it’s a Democrat under the glare, too. Too many people on both sides subscribe to that kind of thinking.

      gmac124 in reply to JBourque. | April 19, 2019 at 7:28 pm

      Which glare are you referring to? A democrat being subjected to an investigation without a crime? I can’t ever remember that happening. However I have seen many Republicans attacked that way.

      The only glare I have seen on Democrats is when they are caught doing something illegal and it can’t be brushed under the rug. Unless you have some actual examples of innocent Democrats being victimized your appeal falls flat.

      Barry in reply to JBourque. | April 19, 2019 at 9:35 pm

      “As long as we remember all that next time it’s a Democrat under the glare, too.”

      The definition of losing.

      jeffweimer in reply to JBourque. | April 20, 2019 at 9:24 am


      When Democrats behave badly, it’s “Look, those Republicans are awful too.”

      When Republicans behave badly, it’s “Those awful Republicans!”

      Democrats refuse to share credit for anything, even to the point of writing Republicans out of history (Civil Rights legislation), but they sure as sh*t rush to make the Republicans share the blame for their bad behavior.

Bill Barr spelled out his view on the Mueller investigation in this memo to RR, June 2018

His opinion is the only one that matters to me..

Toobin and his vile ilk reveal their true, innate totalitarian, apparatchik nature.

These reprobates are precisely the type of sadistic totalitarians who should never, ever, be granted or entrusted with political power.

Eh Gads, I had to click on this Drudge link.
Romney and McStain were such Uniparty losers. I hope it comes out how Romney played a role in this. My first targets to investigate would be anyone who is screaming the loudest.

‘I Am Sickened’: Romney Blasts Trump in Scathing Reaction to Mueller Report”

“Even so, I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President,” Romney continued. “I am also appalled that, among other things, fellow citizens working in a campaign for president welcomed help from Russia-including information that had been illegally obtained; that none of them acted to inform American law enforcement; and that the campaign chairman was actively promoting Russian interests in Ukraine.

I’ll see your Kafkatrapping and raise you an Orwellian.

For the Dems, media, and neverTrumpers Trump is for all intents and purposes Emmanuel Goldstein.

“Happy people don’t obstruct justice.” — Gulag Logic.

Now we know the class of people who carried out the witch hunts, warlock trials, and baby… human sacrifices.

Off topic, but I see that Woody Harrelson gets to play Archie Bunker. I love how visual media get to define who conservatives really are. I hope it flops big time. Carol O’Connor was such a big lib too.

I wish we could end this power that the Dems/Libs get to define what a conservative really is.

These same people get to create a witch hunt against Trump. It is so unfair.

    jeffweimer in reply to MarkSmith. | April 20, 2019 at 9:29 am

    That’s not new – Carrol O’Connor was a dyed-in-the-wool lefty and Norman Lear and he thought to make him so over the top that people would see just how awful “those people” were. Joke was on them.

Besides other schumcks, who listens to these schumcks anymore?

Start the investigation into obama, clinton, clapper, brennan, the FBI, CIA and watch the schumcks scurry.

This whole thing really begs for the proverbial “what part of “no” isn’t clear?”

regulus arcturus | April 19, 2019 at 7:20 pm

Toobin is by far the dumbest person on tv, and he should have been disbarred long ago, if he is even an actual attorney.

He should be charged with fraud for his idiotic, legally false commentary on CNN.

With all this going on, just a reminder.

The Electoral College Vote in Nov 2016 remains Trump 304 to Clinton 227!

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | April 19, 2019 at 9:52 pm


Mark Levin Points Out Highly Political Intention of Mueller

DouglasJBender | April 20, 2019 at 2:32 am

Innocent people do not loudly protest that they are innocent.

    Nope, especially not when the allegations against them will hamper their ability to do their job. Nope, they just sit back and silently accept the 24/7 media onslaught and never ever push back. That worked so well for Bush, after all. And for every Republican ever accused of anything. Just sit back, take it, and smile all the while.

    You know Dems were counting on the typical tail between the legs, head hung low, stiff upper lip that has long characterized Republican pols. Imagine their surprise in meeting someone who punches back and won’t go down without a fight when he knows he did nothing wrong!

    Heck, even Lindsey Graham finally got a clue about what the left does to squishies who constantly try to curry favor with them. His Kavanaugh speech was the end of GOP “civility” (that hand-wringing, appeasing doormatitude we all loathed), and I was happy to hear it.

    jeffweimer in reply to DouglasJBender. | April 20, 2019 at 9:31 am

    What color is the sky in *your* world?

    “Innocent people do not loudly protest that they are innocent.”

    Of course they do. They stand up in court and scream it. In this case, Trump, et al, was being tried in the court of public opinion. So, he protested his innocence, loudly, in the very court in which he was being tried, the court of public opinion. As he had no right to discovery of the “evidence” against him, he was forced to deal with the testimony concerning his guilt in only one way. So, just as in a court of law, he dealt with the “witnesses” against him, mostly the media, in the same way; by impeaching them. The media could not stand that because it had no evidence against Rump, either.

    In this day and age, the innocent had better actively defend themselves or they will find themselves being “convicted” of a crime they didn’t commit. Then they will be forced to join the LA underground and become soldiers of fortune.

    regulus arcturus in reply to DouglasJBender. | April 20, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    You seem to be quite stupid.


    A synonym for progressive fool.