The Morning Consult/Politico weekly tracking poll shows a drop in popularity for President Donald Trump to 39 percent. That is not however a massive decline given the harsh content of the Special Counsel Report. Half of those polls still opposed impeachment. What is more notable, in my view, is that 57 percent of those polled now disapprove of Trump’s presidency. That is a daunting figure for someone entering the campaign season.
We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here). The insatiable appetite for speech criminalization and regulation was apparent this week. The government continues to struggle to deal with the “yellow vest” protests in Paris, but it has now opened a criminal investigation into protesters who yelled that police should commit suicide. Despite being treated as clearly protected political speech in the United States, such protest chants will be charged as crimes in France where free speech is being eradicated under a variety of speech codes and criminal provisions.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on a missing element in the Mueller report not just for obstruction but impeachment: intent. As I discuss, I am still baffled by the logic of Mueller in not reaching a conclusion on obstruction. It simply makes no sense given his actions on collusion and the ultimate rendering of a decision by Main Justice on obstruction. While the Justice Department (wrongly) maintains that a sitting president cannot be indicted, there is no bar on finding probable cause to believe that a president has committed a crime.
Happy Easter to all of our bloggers and readers that are celebrating today. The bunny came to the Turley house and left baskets overflowing with chocolates and candies, including a doggie basket for Luna. We have a wonderful breakfast and settled down for a fun day with family and friends.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the description of events in the Trump White House. While Trump is continuing to attack Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Trump is blaming possible “traitors” and others for their roles in the investigation. The one person who he is not blaming is himself despite the fact that the Mueller report is a 400-page tale of self-inflicted wounds.
President Donald Trump appears intent on fueling calls for impeachment with unhinged statements calling some who worked with Special Counsel Robert Mueller as possible “traitors” and promising to “turn the tables” and to “bring them to justice”. While the President could simply relish the lack of findings of any criminal conduct, he has again adopted disturbing rhetoric that is reminiscent more of authoritarian regimes than American administrations.
We have been following the scandal involving the case of sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein (left). Epstein was accused of being a sex trafficker for powerful men ranging from former President Bill Clinton to Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz. Dershowitz has called his accuser a perjurer and recently declared that he wanted to be sued for defamation. He has now gotten his wish. Dershowitz will now face a trial on the merits of the allegation after Boies Schiller filed the requested defamation action against him.
Today will be the long-awaited release of the Special Counsel report. (I will be in New York doing analysis for CBS and BBC). District Court Judge Reggie Walton however did not wait for the release of the report or the press conference planned by Attorney General Bill Barr for the morning. Walton made a surprising statement in court on Tuesday criticizing Barr. Walton objected that “The attorney general has created an environment that has caused a significant part of the public … to be concerned about whether or not there is full transparency.” Walton did not explain what precisely Barr did to create such public doubts, but the comments appeared immaterial to the merits. A few days ago, we discussed another federal judge attacking President Trump at an awards ceremony. Walton’s comments are not nearly so problematic but they were unfortunate and untimely in my view.
Below is my column in the BBC on the historical and potential legal significance of the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Much of the prosecution could turn on whether Assange is a journalist. Notably, Assange just received a European journalism award from the European parliamentarians. Assange is this year’s recipient of the 2019 GUE/NGL Award for Journalists, Whistleblowers & Defenders of the Right to Information.
In the meantime, there are some interesting comparison between the Assange and Zenger cases in the long-standing debate over what constitutes press freedoms.
As we await the release of the Special Counsel report, there are some curious standards being suggested for the release of grand jury information. Various media organizations have featured experts insisting that Barr could release such information called Rule 6(e) information. That is news for me. I was counsel in one of the largest Rule 6(e) cases, the Rocky Flats Grand Jury case, years ago in Denver. Yet, the Nation has posted an explanation by Columbia University Law Professor Jeffrey Fagan that the rules for such disclosure are “elastic” and Barr could be “creative” in making releases. In my view, that is in direct contradiction with not just long-standing but recent precedent. There should not be just a wildly different account by legal experts on such a question so I would like to explain why such views are misplaced.