Answers to Questions from the Town Hall, 23 July 2019
Q1. Don’t you think you should ask:
Mr. Mueller, during your long investigation were you aware of, or did any one bring to your attention, the best-selling book, THE DANGEROUS CASE OF DONALD TRUMP: 37 PSYCHIATRISTS AND MENTAL HEALTH EXPERTS ASSESS A PRESIDENT?
(if yes). Did you or anyone on your staff read this book and consider it’s implications for your investigation in view of the serious dangers to the country because of Mr. Trump’s major psychological mental problems?
(if no). Don’t you think when a historic number of leading psychiatrists in our country felt the imperative to publish such a book because of their unprecedented fears about a President with such severe mental problems that at least you should have been aware of their conclusions on behalf of the American people?
A1. This question was answered during the town hall. We might add that we do have knowledge of several members of the public sending the book to the Special Counsel.
Q2. Don’t you think you should ask:
Mr. Mueller, when some 700 former federal prosecutors from both political parties read your redacted report and concluded there was abundance evidence warranting Mr. Trump’s indictment, what did you think?
As you must know they concluded: “We believe strongly that…the overwhelming weight of professional judgment would come down in favor of prosecution for the conduct outlined in the Mueller Report… Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would…result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice” and that Attorney General’s Barr’s conclusions “runs counter to logic and our experience.”
So what did you think of this unprecedented federal prosecutorial conclusion published soon after your report was published? What do you think now of the mental health expert report on your report that similarly published a conclusion noting a lack of rational mental capacity in the President?
A2. This is a worthwhile analogy that we ourselves have made. When branches of government become corrupt, experts and the press are the main sources through which the people can hold them accountable. Knowledge and truth are the best weapons against tyranny.
Q3. The President just threatened to kill 10 million Afghans in less than a week. Killing on such a magnitude can only be accomplished by nuclear weapons. Since the use of nuclear weapons against insurgents is unviable, the real target of his threat is Iran. I don’t think we can afford to be quiet about this. The insecurity of this man will be the ruin of humanity if he is not stopped.
A3. We agree with your assessment of the level of danger. We seem to be heading straight toward nuclear war with Iran. Just as George W. Bush was easily manipulated into the Iraq war, Donald Trump would be even more easily manipulable into a war with Iran.
Q4. Can we provide this meeting to Vice President Mike Pence? Please. We The People have the right to inform our executives in power.
A4. We have been trying our best, but access has not been easy. Please note that, as mental health experts, we have an extra block against us, not special access. This is all the more the case as we speak about our true observations.
Q5. I assume the reason a special counsel was given the responsibility to investigate what happened in the election with Russia and the president’s involvement was concerns to protect our citizens and democracy. As mental health experts concerned about the mental health and safety of all citizens of the United States, whether the president’s behavior can be prosecuted or not, what recourse do you suggest citizens have when a president refuses to answer questions about their or their staff’s behavior under oath, appears to stoke hate and violent behavior among his followers and frequently lies or distorts truth while fostering distrust of the judicial and congressional branches of the government and of the press? All of these issues are impacting on the mental health of our society who feel that democracy is being carpet bombed daily by this president leading to an increase in anxiety, depression and psychological numbing.
A5. Even the most repressive regimes cannot remain in power when the people oppose it. This is hard to recognize when a large portion of the population is hypnotized, but the very reason for psychological manipulation is because of this truth. None of this is new. Psychiatrists have written about it, and psychologists have researched it in detail.
Q6. Do you believe the Justice Department Rule of not indicting a sitting president for criminal behavior, legally insulates a president from the law, thereby making him above the law? If so, do you believe that Rule is therefore, unconstitutional as it puts the president above the law, does not protect American citizens from further criminality and dangerous behavior of a president? (If a president were indicted, Congress would still be faced with the decision whether to Impeach.)
A6. This is not our area of expertise, but what we do know is that the President is not above mental health laws. He is clearly a danger to others by every mental health criterion, and therefore the right to treatment law applies: he needs to be contained and evaluated, with or without consent. Yet, even though there is no rule or law exempting a president from this, this has not happened, mainly because of distortion and coverup by the former White House physician.
Q7. Do you believe the president’s actions and behaviors as outlined in your Report presents a danger to America and its citizens? If so, how? (ie why is criminal behavior illegal) Changing the wording of your question— then asking what actions, behaviors, is like other criminals???
A7. Yes, this has always been our conclusion. The reasons are numerous but outlined in our book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.” First and foremost, he has exhibited dangerous behavior and is attracted to violence, regardless of what he says.
Q8. What can I do as a private citizen, other than vote, to accelerate the return to safety of our President?
A8. Given that we have a representative democracy, you must lean on your representatives to address your concerns. We as professionals are not allowed to engage in political activism based on our profession. But this is a role you can play with the information we give you. You should not underestimate your power; the people hold the greatest power, and we are here to be of service to you.
Q9. I’m curious about his Evangelical base. Why are they so devoted to a president who is almost the anti-thesis of principles they claim to value? Doesn’t this contradiction create intense anxiety in his religious followers?
A9. This question was addressed during the town hall. The power of the mind to distort reality is well known to mental health experts.
Q10. Is there a way that Rep Jamie Raskin D-MD to deliver one or more these questions to Mr. Mueller?
A10. We are sending him a copy of our questions.
Q11. Are Trump’s racism and xenophobia a symptom of his mental illness?
A11. We addressed this question at the town hall. We focused on racism and xenophobia as definite signs of his harm to society, which we have a professional responsibility to protect, as we do our patients.
Q12. Thank you for doing this. I wonder about the ‘contageous” effect of Mr. Trump’s behavior. What do you suppose is happening with Congressional Republicans and with Trump Supporters? What is the psychology of FOX news?
A12. This is what we warned against, that psychological dangerousness in the presidency would powerfully spread into social, cultural, and political (and military and climate) dangerousness. While we are all aware that the Trump presidency did not arise out of nowhere, once in place, the harm spreads rapidly and devastatingly.
Q13. Not for Muller but fot the panel: do you think the concept of Fear or Favor may be what drives administration and adjacent staff to avoid speaking up or correcting Trump’s lies, vitriolic rhetoric or conduct that places national and international security at risk? I am continually stunned at the amount and lengths those around this administration will go to avoid confronting reality. I’d like to believe that Tweet’s do not have that much power over ones’ psyche.
A13. This question has been addressed during the town hall. Again, dangerousness spreads like an infectious disease, as many violence experts have described. At the more local level, mental impairment in a powerful figure can allow for corruption and exploitation to spread, in addition to modeling.
Q14. Mr. Trump, who evidences no deeply personal religious convictions has encouraged and accepted well-funded support from far-right religious organizations who seem to be seeking for the US to become a Christian Theocracy. Most immediately, such stances provide a threat to many groups of people including women, those in need of abortions, and the LGBTQ community. While this may not seem to be as threatening as many other things pointed out in this broadcast, it is a threat to the physical and mental well-being of thousands of people. How can we care for those people.
A14. Mental health professionals are trained to look less at ideology than at psychological patterns. This is about power, not religion, especially when those who profess religion harm others (religion is a powerful way to justify illegitimate pursuits; Christian theology itself goes extensively into this as a human sin). The seeming paradox therefore disappears when we look at the deeper layers: Mr. Trump and the Christian Theocracy-seeking power structure have much in common, and both oppose the Christian message of love.
Q15. i understand trump used to be more articulate, using higher level vocabulary, phrasing and intelligent/meaningful discussion and argumentation than he now uses. What does his current speech patterns, vocabulary and inability to speak in meaningful ways or stay on track indicate about his mental state.
A15. He has markedly deteriorated, and the deterioration is now accelerating. He has many risk factors: family history of dementia, poor emotional health to start, the stress of the presidency, his own criminality that he is trying to hide, and his intense need to appear all-powerful. A full neuropsychiatric examination has been recommended for the sake of his own health, not to mention safety of the nation.
Q16. Does Trump fit the definition of “insane”. What exactly is his clinical diagnosis.
A16. This is not a medical term, but the legal definition of “insanity” is: “mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior.” High-quality information from the Mueller report has confirmed our suspicions of his frequent inability to distinguish fantasy from reality, an inability to conduct his affairs because of this detachment from reality, and uncontrollable impulsive behavior in Mr. Trump.
Q17. In response to Trumps repeated attacks on four congresswomen, would it help them gain the upper hand to list his transgressions ie. You have cost tax payers over $109 million in golf cost (and financially gained from them) WE have not. You have told over 9,000 lies to the American people, US “0” You have Mass murderers and potential mass murderers site you as their inspiration, The Four of US – 0 -. and just continue bombarding him with these truths and thus exposing the public to them?
A17. Facts need to be continually pointed out, but there needs to be an understanding that, with the level of mental impairment in this president and the impairment in the population he enables, the investment in truth will be far less. The danger he poses will not be solved through rational means; we have recommended his removal from presidential powers and have warned against his psychological manipulation of the public.
Q18. I’d like to know who, if anyone, threatened or coopted Mueller, the reasons he didn’t interview trump in person; why did Mueller “back off” his duty to the nation
A18. Under a dangerous president, “being a good soldier” means that one can become part of a dangerous machine. We learned from the Nuremburg trials that simply “following orders” is not a viable excuse. All professionals in the nation must decide for themselves if the system is functioning poorly and exercise independent judgment. Whether or not Mr. Mueller was threatened, he was unable to do this.
Q19. The polling data that Mr Manafort shared with the Russian agent. Where did this data originate? Was it CA?
A19. This seems an important question, but it is outside our expertise.
Q20. Mueller was asked to investigate Russian interference in our election, whether Trump and/or his campaign conspired with the Russians, and whether he obstructed justice. He was not asked to investigate Trump’s mental fitness or his dangerousness. It is unclear to me why Mueller should be asked about why he didn’t investigate issues that were outside of his purview. ALSO, the Judiciary Committee has to decide whether to recommend the initiation of impeachment proceedings. Impeachment is about high crimes and misdemeanors. Do the panelists think that lack of mental fitness and/or dangerousness is a “high crime” or “misdemeanor”? If not, are these proper questions for the Judiciary Committee to consider — or should some other committee deal with these questions?
A20. In every criminal investigation, and in practice every time a client is asked questions, mental capacity is assumed. However, if there are reasons to believe that a client lacks mental capacity, the legal professional is supposed to refer the person for evaluation by mental health experts. This happens in cases as wide ranging from writing a will to making medical decisions to criminal indictment. Mental capacity is a prerequisite, and therefore built into Mr. Mueller’s purview. Of course, the problem with this is that there is no provision for when the legal professional wishes to hide or avoid the signs of mental incapacity. This is when mental health professionals must speak up, as we are trying to. Of note, law professor and former chief White House counsel Richard Painter, who spoke at our March conference, stated that mental defects should be considered for impeachment: since the 25th Amendment did not exist in the first 200 years of U.S. history—and when considering “high crimes” and “misdemeanors”, a deficient mental state is implied—impeachment is very relevant.
Q21. After 2 years in office and the level of danger that is now here, is the rest of the mental health profession ready to finally speak out? As well as other academics?
A21. The leadership of the American Psychiatric Association decided on a top-down basis that it would side with the presidency than with the people, apparently for its own preservation (it has been leaked that the leadership decided to do so not to lose federal funding). Individual professionals have always wished to speak up, and many have in the beginning before the crackdown. If the media would give independent professionals a voice, I believe many more would come forth, as my organization alone has thousands of professionals who believe in speaking up. However, even the New York Times made clear it is not only unprepared to go there, but it will explicitly denounce our voices (which it did). We ourselves are extremely disappointed and alarmed that the APA took this position and proceeded to silence the entire profession through a very open campaign (since it has no legal basis, and is on dubious ethical ground, promoting public misperceptions was the only way this could have been possible).
Q22. Why is this not being televised? Can it be?
A22. We are trying. As you could see, we are professionals who are donating our own time and resources out of our sense of societal responsibility, but this is no match to the power structure that is trying to muzzle us. At our interdisciplinary conference in March with 13 well-known expert commentators from around the country, the media told us they could not cover it because of “the Goldwater rule.” Only one of the 13 was a psychiatrist. This helped confirm what we suspected: the rule was being used as an excuse for censorship. The demand must now come from the people.
Q23. “Followers of toxic leaders often do much more than simply tolerate them. They commonly adulate, abet, and actually prefer toxic leaders to their nontoxic counterparts. That astonishing choice occurs everywhere that leaders strut their stuff—in business, politics, the nonprofit world of education and religion, athletics, the family, and all the other arenas of human action.” – Lipman-Blumen, Jean. The Allure of Toxic Leaders. Is it safe to say that Mr. Trump is a toxic person?
A23. The dangers of pathological leaders stem directly from this pathological dynamic, and we have been warning against this beguiling quality. Of note: Mr. Trump is more than a toxic person who is simply a nuisance; he has the capability and drive to bring the whole nation, and world, to ruin because of the powers of the U.S. presidency that he holds.
Q24. Dr. Lee, do you think that Congress’ inaction, at least the Republicans’, regarding Trump’s aberrant and dangerous behaviors, makes them legally complicit for not demanding that his mental capacity be formally reviewed and a formal, binding determination be rendered? I feel he has, and continues to, cause psychological distress to many Americans and others around the World with his childish and irresponsible actions.
A24. Congress has surely been more than just legally complicit. From my perspective, psychological complicity has been the most dangerous of all, for we know from many reports that Republican lawmakers have recognized problems with the president since very early on. Democratic lawmakers were always on board, but they have lacked the power, and now they lack the courage with a minority Senate, it seems. The distress in the public is real and quantified through numerous sources, in both supporters and opponents of Mr. Trump.
Q25. Is there also the danger of the possibly mentally ill Trump leading the mentally ill? News outlets have been reporting today that lawyers are seeking leniency sentencing for Cesar Sayoc, who is facing a life sentence for mailing pipe bombs last Fall to Democratic politicians, media figures and celebrities he perceived as Trump’s enemies. The lawyers cite prompts from Fox News and Donald Trump for stoking the paranoid impulses of a mentally-afflicted Sayoc. Search Google News for > Cesar Sayoc
A25. The pervasive cultural influence is one of the most dangerous aspects of this presidency. Allowing this presidency to continue has had the effect of legitimizing delusions and violence, while de-legitimizing health and resistance (Mr. Trump turns everything around, as is a characteristic of pathology: disease is health, and violence is victimhood). Certainly, those with similar pathologies, including violent tendencies, will be drawn to him, and mental pathology brings with it a drive to extinguish reality and “get one’s way” will defeat any rational approach.
Q26. Are you currently working with congress? especially Nancy Pelosi? Can you provide emergency training for members of congress, government, the media, and the citizens, how to overcome Trump and how to stop things from getting worse?
A26. This has been our desire. We stopped working with Congress when over 50 Democratic members would speak with us but not one Republican. As independent consultants, we try to avoid the appearance of being partisan, but this has not brought out any Republican members. That said, Speaker Pelosi has not helped us. We were more than once scheduled to testify before Congress, as well as invited to be part of a Congressional press conference, and these were subsequently all canceled.
Q27. Question for Mr. Mueller: Since the President appears to display narcissistic behaviors, could it be said he had corrupt intent when he committed the acts of potential obstruction of justice discussed in Volume II?
A27. Perhaps you mean self-centered behaviors? Narcissistic traits and corrupt intent are two different issues, just as mental illness and lack of mental capacity are two different issues, for which we have different methods of evaluating. We would be able to offer answers if Mr. Mueller had consulted us on these.
Q28. Do you think a polygraph test for Trump would be accurate?
A28. Polygraph tests turn out negative for both innocent people and people without a conscience. Hence, such a test is likely to be inaccurate for Mr. Trump. His effects on his “base” are much the same way: some of the things he says could be of a very innocent person or the most abusive and manipulative one. It believes he is the former, which proves popular “vetting” to be inadequate.
Q29. Would it be helpful if the public bombarded Trump with comments on his known weaknesses? Perhaps causing him to finally go so far that his own party and supporters cannot deny his instability?
A29. This is a rational approach. As a mental health professional, I must point out that, when something is beyond the realm of rationality, you do not negotiate with it. What you do is contain the person and remove that person from power. It is like quarantining infectious disease. If the afflicted person is able to be treated, the person in fact returns to thank you—it is one of the most impressive experiences in the practice of mental health, and the reason why the law allows it.
Q30. I would ask Mr. Mueller during the course this investigation did you notice any pattern of any DJT’s behavoirs or attitudes as reported by others. If so what were they?
A30. Good question! It seems from the recent British ambassador’s remarks, as well as reports from people in the White House, that Mr. Trump’s behaviors and attitudes have been a universal concern.
Q31. Hi! Why aren’t Pelosi and/or Nadler listening to the mental health experts like you 5? Have they acknowledged your report at all? Thanks so much for being BRAVE to speak out + WARN the entire world! IF only Pelosi and/or Nadler were listening!!!
A31. They have both received our report. However, I have reason to believe they are specifically avoiding this topic because they do not find it politically expedient. I, of course, believe this is a mistake, for what could be more politically practical than the truth? My impression is that the party lost popular support and credibility because it tried to be the lesser tactician, rather than champions of the truth, which it already abundantly has on its side.
Q32. Someone should ask Mueller: What future actions can you predict Trump will probably do in the 2020 campaign for President? Will Trump do dangerous things in trying to get re-elected? Can his dangerousness on Twitter or in other reckless public communications be subject to legal intervention because it undermines the rule of law by encouraging perjury or a culture centered on lying and being legally immune to consequences of lying?
A32. The people seem to know this answer better than Mr. Mueller or politicians. This astute observation is amplified when we actually have the evidence and the training to back it up. As mental health professionals, we support your concerns and confirm the urgency you see.
Q33. Is Trump a bullshit artist?
A33. This is a mild phrase. He is pathologically manipulative, which can be absorbing and spellbinding without parallel in the realm of health.
Q34. Can you offer training to presidential candidates how to neutralize his tactics?
A34. I would say: please consult the experts. We deal with this routinely enough to know how powerful it is. If you had cancer or were dangerously bleeding, you would not be trying out home remedies: you must first take the bulk of the disease out or get a transfusion. Once you are stabilized, you can return to handling things on your own, but not before then.
Q35. Have you already tried to get all this info to the entire Congress? If not, why not? How about a press conference in DC ASAP.
A35. All these had been scheduled (and all canceled) since the summer of 2017. We have highly intelligent leaders in Congress, but national leadership has been overcome by party division over national protection. The only antidote I can see to this “insanity” are the people.
Q36. Are the people close to Trump aware that he is dangerous or does he have them fooled?
A36. They may be aware that he is dangerous, but they are thinking in normal terms: that there would be a limit to his dangerousness. Those who deal with pathology would suggest otherwise.
Q37. Comment ..hope everyone will see the frightening disturbing rally 45 made this morning at the Turning Point USA Youth Rally…. his serious pathology as parent though the whole hour and a half.
A37. Thank you. We have been hearing about this, and will make sure to watch it.
Q38. We have all witnessed what has been presented by the panel today, but Congress, both Democrat & Republican, have to act. What can your panel do moving forward to assist with that after the townhall today?
A38. To be honest, we are open to ideas. We have tried almost everything we can think of, risking and investing all that we have. Medical principles stipulate that we must do more than just warn in the case of danger. In most states, the duty to protect applies. The universal physicians’ pledge prepares us to sacrifice our lives, if necessary. What are your ideas as to how we can help protect the public?
Q39. To your knowledge, what percentage of members of the House and Senate have read your book and/ or attended your meetings?
A39. One hundred percent of senators have received copies, sometimes multiple, of our book. We would not be surprised if a close percentage of House representatives received it—furnished mostly by citizens. We have some champions in Congress, but they are largely powerless.
Q40. Its clear DJT is unfit to be POTUS. Why is it then politicians, legislators, and part of public continue to support him? Is Stockholm syndrome at play here? Or is it the enormity of the issue making some immobile?
A40. Both. Those who underestimate it believe they can take political advantage, while those who correctly understand it are paralyzed. This is why we have experts in society who are specifically trained for such situations, such as when dealing with brain surgery or a heart attack. They are supposed to fulfill a function at a time of need, just as you would call on a professional firefighter when a fire becomes too big to know how to handle.
Q41. Though I can appreciate due process, every minute he is in office is too dangerous, so can we, as citizens do anything that will push him over the edge so there is no choice but to remove him or limit him immediately.
A41. George Conway suggested this, but this is far too dangerous. There are proven methods of dealing with this with a focus on prevention. Evidence and knowledge about trends of these traits are enough to support action before something serious happens. Yet we choose not to make use of that knowledge. It is a tragic situation, speaking to the gravity of our nation’s poor health.
Q42. suggestions by the psychiatrists for how to get congress to eschew partisanship and stand up for principles and democracy?
A42. This would be a suggestion for the people: when there is pathology, the body’s resistance is our best hope. In our case, it would be the resistance on the part of the body politic, which refuses to accept this state of affairs. Intellectuals and the press, as checks on the government, are your friends and not enemies—in fact, the power structure’s denigration of them should alarm you, as that is what tyrannies do.
Q43. Question for the panelists: Would you be willing to testify, in a public hearing before Congress, about Mr. Trump’s dangerousness? Maybe you could answer questions of representatives or senators in such a hearing. You do not need to answer this question right now, but maybe you can answer it later.
A43. We had more than once been invited, and have been ready for two full years! Please demand that they invite us back and not cancel—I believe it is up to you!!
Q44a. Projection, reaction formation, confabulation are all present in his candidacy and actions in office. What would or should these behaviors contribute to an evaluation of competency that the general public, politicians, and cabinet members could understand?
Q44b. despite Trump’s protestations that he is the one in “control” and these are his ideas it is pretty clear others exert a large influence over him to push him in extreme directions – how does this fit in with your assessments?
A44. I will answer these together. A basic capacity evaluation, as you have seen, is an important start. Regular fitness-for-duty exams can ensure that our leaders are not too impaired to be able to consider national interest. Having leaders who can perform the job and will not harm the nation is not too much to ask. Mr. Trump, of course, is not in control, but his desire to be will make him manipulable and destructive—and a convenient asset for enemies of the nation, such as hostile powers or extreme interest groups. In fact, most national tragedies and atrocities in history could probably have been weeded out with a simple capacity exam!
Q45. Can the panelist send the conversion to tomorrow’s meeting.