Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on continuing rise of rage over reason in the consideration of this rush impeachment. Chairman Jerry Nadler has suggested that his committee may simply move directly to articles of impeachment this week. This rocket docket for impeachment is baffling when you have a record that is incomplete and conflicted. With Johnson, Nixon, and Clinton, the records in the House contained widely accepted criminal acts and extensive records. This record is a short as the schedule set by the Democratic leadership.
Attorney General William Barr has reportedly counseled President Donald Trump that his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has served him poorly and should be dropped. The Washington Post reported Sunday that Barr has directly raised with Trump the need for him to recognize what a liability Giuliani has become. It is an interesting story because Giuliani has not only become inappropriately intertwined with State Department business but also Justice Department business. It is not clear if Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made any such objections, but the Post is reporting that various sources have confirmed that Barr has moved against Giuliani.
Every year it seems like a teacher takes it upon himself or herself to shatter childhood fantasies about Santa. This year, the misguided educator was a substitute teacher in Brooklyn who decided that the best way to lead a discussion on “convincing” was to explain that neither Santa nor the Tooth Fairy are real. The kids in the class are six years old and it was three weeks before Christmas.
Another horrific attack in Uttar Pradesh led to the death of a twenty-three year old woman rape victim while traveling to attend a court hearing. Police accuse five men, two identified by the victim as her previous rapists, of stalking her as she prepared to board a commuter train. They doused her with kerosene then set her alight.
She then suffered having to walk nearly a kilometer afterward to summon police via telephone. She was medivaced to New Delhi having received burns to ninety-five percent of her body before suffering cardiac arrest and succumbing to her injuries.
The attack not only highlights a combative approach by some members of society toward the rights of women, but also conveys the shortcomings of a burdened legal system that in some ways facilitates retribution against victims and vigilantism against the accused. It is another, probably less recognized cost of the lack of speedy trial protections in Uttar Pradesh.
Following a doubly-fatal administration of tainted measles vaccination doses to two children and the consequent loss in confidence of much of the public in vaccines generally, a costly outbreak of measles in The Independent State of Samoa led to a return to early 20th century style public health mandates and a crackdown in free-speech liberties on those who advocate abstention from vaccination.
From October until the present, public health officials listed over four thousand new cases of measles among a population of two hundred thousand. This includes the death of sixty persons of which fifty-two were under four years in age. A leading “anti-vaxx” proponent, a self-styled traditional healer of sorts has been remanded to custody, and faces up to two years imprisonment, for reportedly denouncing vaccination efficacy and accusing the government of causing death among the Samoan People.
In response to this week’s unnecessary contentions on a personal and national scale I thought I would offer to the reader a bit of a respite and distraction. Here follow a few pictures of a journey I made to the coast, featuring the woods, lighthouses and a sunset.
Feel free to click on each image for a larger version. Enjoy…
We have previously discussed Rep. Al Green’s remarkably low and fluid standard for impeachable offenses. It now appears to be not only low and fluid but repetitive. On Thursday, the Texas Democrat said on C-Span that a “president can be impeached more than once” and that there is “no limit” to how times the House might want to impeach Trump. In my testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, I warned that this incomplete record would lend itself to a type of impulse-buy impeachment. Green’s remarks raises the specter of not just impulsive but compulsive impeachments.
The defamation trial against Elon Musk is unfolding in Los Angeles, but one story caught my eye from a litigation perspective. Yesterday, the federal judge in Unsworth v. Musk, 18-cv-08048, overruled an objection and ordered Musk to tell the jury how much he is worth. It was a surprising and troubling bench decision in my view. Most judges bar such questions to avoid prejudicing a jury. When a jury hears that someone is worth $20 billion, it can make a verdict and award seem like chump change in the jury room. While I greatly respect his brilliance and accomplishments, I have little sympathy for Musk in the case. He is being sued for a tweet calling a diver a “pedo guy” after he criticized Musk’s effort to rescue trapped kids in a Thai cave. Musk seems to be relying on a Trump-like defense that he just let’s it rip on Twitter and it was a flippant moment.
Today I posted a column addressing a false story circulating on MSNBC and other outlets that my testimony in the Clinton and Trump impeachments are in contradiction. In fact, the testimony is so close that I could be charged more with self-plagiarism than self-contradiction. However in the hearing there was another clearly false statement put into the record by the Democratic members: that I am “demonstrably wrong” in saying that this could be the fastest or shortest impeachment in history. While the effort is clearly designed to encourage people not to seriously consider my criticism of the record and process in this case, a little history — and my actual testimony — might be helpful.
In the wake of yesterday’s hearing, my office and home have been inundated with threats from people irate over the fact that I would question the sufficiency of this record for impeachment. There has also been a couple of facially false narratives that have been aired and are being widely disseminated without any apparent fact checking or analysis. I have addressed one historical point separately. In recognition of Sen. Pat Moynihan’s view that “everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts,” I have published a column on these attacks: Hill Column
This morning I will be testifying at the House Judiciary Committee in the opening hearing into the impeachment of President Donald J. Trump. My testimony is available below.
It has been roughly 20 years since I testified at the same hearing in the impeachment of President William J. Clinton and roughly 10 years since I was lead counsel at the last Senate impeachment trial (with my co-lead counsel Daniel Schwartz).
The hearing will be held at 10:00 am in 1100 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515. It is open to the public.
Below is my column in the Wall Street Journal on case that may be looming in the background of tomorrow’s opening hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on the impeachment of President Donald J. Trump.
I have been called to testify at the hearing. With only a few days to prepare, I will be completing my testimony today and I will hopefully post it before leaving for the hearing in the morning. This is a daunting but not unfamiliar challenge as an academic. It has been 20 years since I testified at the Clinton impeachment hearing with other constitutional and historical experts on this same question. It has been 10 years since I served as the last lead counsel (with Dan Schwartz) in the impeachment trial of Judge Thomas Porteous. The hearing will begin at 10:00 am in the Longworth House Office Building.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the recent comparison of Chairman Adam Schiff and others to Watergate. It is not the first time that the rhetoric has outpaced the law of impeachment. However, if we are to have a meaningful exchange about impeachment, we should make a good-faith effort to agree on the historical facts.
In celebration of Thanksgiving, I give you our annual Turkey Torts of civil and criminal cases that add liability to libations on this special day (with past cases at the bottom). Many criminal defense attorneys and torts attorneys give special thanks for a holiday that can involve copious amounts of alcohol, strained family relations, over-the-hill amateur football players, “Black Friday” sale stampedes, and novice cooks. These cases are why Johnny Carson said “Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often.”