The Third Option: Rather Than Pick Sides, The Public Can Pick The Truth

440px-Official_Portrait_of_President_Donald_Trumpsally_q-_yatesBelow is my column in the Hill newspaper on the decision to investigate the alleged informant targeting Trump associations and the criticism from former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates.  As noted below, I believe that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein did the right thing in referring this issue to the Inspector General for investigation.  That does not mean that a finding of wrongdoing is likely. To the contrary, my expectation is that the use of the informant will be viewed as appropriate absent additional unknown facts. However, as this piece discusses, there is a strong public interest in resolving this question either way.

Here is the column:

Last week, former acting attorney general Sally Yates denounced President Trump for his tweet “demanding” an investigation into allegations of spying on his campaign. Yates is correct that the president, again, crossed a long-honored separation between the White House and the Justice Department. Yates, however, is hardly a compelling voice on the maintaining of proper institutional roles in such cases.

Indeed, her controversial record is a case study of how officials, not just presidents, can exceed their authority in the handling of federal cases. Yates was fired for good cause by Trump after ordering the Justice Department not to defend the president’s travel ban at the start of his administration. Ironically, both Trump and Yates assumed that they had far too much inherent authority, yet, where Trump’s harm was rhetorical, Yates’s harm was institutional.

One of the most interesting aspects of Trump’s controversies over presidential power is the line between the rhetorical and the actual. If you take away Trump’s often jarring language, his actions are not that dissimilar from other presidents. Trump has complied with court orders and he has not fired special counsel Robert Mueller or others associated with the Russia investigation, at least following his disastrous decision to fire FBI director James Comey. President Obama advanced even more sweeping claims of executive authority in federal court and took equally sweeping unilateral actions.

That does not excuse Trump’s traumatizing tweets or his failure to respect lines of separation within the executive branch. The latest controversy is a good example: An investigation by the Justice Department is left to the discretion of DOJ officials who must independently determine that there is a legal and ethical basis for the investigation. The president can certainly fire someone like Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, but starting an investigation remains Rosenstein’s decision so long as he holds his office.

Ultimately, however, the controversy over the reported use of an informant to target Trump presidential campaign officials was addressed correctly. Rosenstein referred the matter to Justice Department’s inspector general, who already is looking into possible bias or misconduct by the FBI. Rosenstein took that action because he independently concluded that it was in the interest of justice. He made the same judgment when, over the objections of Trump, he appointed Mueller as special counsel and later expanded his mandate.

In this instance, Rosenstein apparently concluded that the controversy over the informant was a legitimate concern given the overall record of anti-Trump internal emails, alleged false statements by former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, controversial secret warrants, and the use of a dossier funded by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. It does not mean that the use of an informant was improper but, rather, that the allegations warrant an investigation by career officials.

Yates is the inverse of Trump in that her rhetoric is reassuring but her actions were ruinous for her institution. There was no ethical or legal basis for her actions during her short term as acting attorney general. Yates showed a fundamental misunderstanding of her role in shutting down Justice Department in defiance of Trump. She simply declared that, “At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with [my] responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful.” In other words, convince me.

Our system does not work that way. In taking her unprecedented action, Yates seemed to confuse her personal and her professional judgment on the defense of this federal policy. Absent a clearly unconstitutional act, she had a duty to defend the policy. This is not a judgment call where reasonable minds could disagree. It must be an act that is so clearly and demonstrably unconstitutional that no good-faith argument can be made in court. That clearly was not the case with the travel ban litigation, in which good arguments were presented on both sides.

The respected Office of Legal Counsel had concluded that the president’s order was lawful. Yates chose to disregard those career Justice Department lawyers. Many legal experts believed the existing precedent favored Trump’s right to take the action despite personal reservations over the policy itself. Ultimately, judges divided on the question, though most courts ruled against the administration. The issue is now pending a decision from the Supreme Court, and is likely to divide the justices.

Former Democratic and Republican Justice Department officials have said Yates did not state a compelling basis for her unprecedented action. She could have resigned but, instead, she elected to obstruct the White House and force her inevitable termination just days before she was planning to leave the Justice Department. It made her an instant hero but her actions will remain a troubling chapter in the agency’s history.

None of this changes the dilemma for citizens trying to make sense out of these controversies. While each side claims the other side is undermining our democratic traditions, the truth is that both parties are doing so in seeking to undermine these investigations. If Trump officials colluded with a foreign government in our election or obstructed justice, that is a serious matter for the integrity of our political system. If the Obama administration improperly used national security powers to investigate the campaign of its opposing party, that is obviously no less a serious matter.

Both sides often manifest a similar purpose to delegitimize or even derail investigations that could prove embarrassing for their party or helpful to their opponents. We are constantly given secondhand information or leaks filtered through a thick screen of partisan advocates. The public would be wise to reject the cyphers on both sides and focus on the factual over the rhetorical. That requires the completion of the investigations of both the Trump campaign and the FBI with a full public disclosure of the unvarnished and unedited facts.

This country is facing a crisis of faith. We have never been more divided or more unsure of our institutions. Washington thrives on getting people to take sides: Pick the red or the blue. There is a third option: No sides. We can instead pick the truth and demand the right to decide for ourselves.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

284 thoughts on “The Third Option: Rather Than Pick Sides, The Public Can Pick The Truth”

  1. OK I don’t get why Trump is stepping over any line here.

    Rosenstein should recuse. But he refuses to. Apparently Sessions feels he cannot step in to correct that behavior.

    So the Justice Department system has failed. There’s nobody internal that can fix this and so it is the duty of the POTUS to get involved as only he has the authority to tell them all to sort their shit out.

    What other option is there?

    1. POTUS’s abouting to get involved is limited by the fact that those who are out of control are paining any effort to bring them under any control as obstruction. And the press, the left, and particularly left legal scholars are aiding an abetting this.

      We can debate the law and constitution until we are blue.

      We need not get into the arcane details – all that needs to be addressed is where in the constitution did it create a DOJ, FBI, and SC that are completely independent of any oversight or control.

      The question is not can there be an investigation.
      It is how did we get this cabal in government that is effectively unanswerable to anyone.

      Trump may not direct DOJ as any effort to do so is painted as obstruction.
      While DOJ is stonewalling congresses efforts at oversight.

  2. A rather pointless back and forth has been censored from this thread. I presume by the Great God of the Internet.

  3. If you do not comprehend what I have said – how do you know I do not understand what you have said.

  4. Right or wrong should never be filtered through political goggles or Machiavellian politics.

    The only addition I would contribute is that it seems unwise to trust the DOJ and FBI when there are allegations it has become weaponized against the Republican Party.

  5. Pragmatism doesn’t mean what at least one person here thinks it means. The Webster definition is inadequate. See the Encyclopedia of Philosophy @ Stanford.

    1. Or you can just take a hike, you flaming jackass who never has anything of substance to offer.

      I SAID that the definition I cited work for me. If you read my statement, then it would be hard to miss that qualifier unless you WANTED to miss it

      .I don’t give a rats ass about what definitions work for you, nor do I care a wit about the Encyclopedia of Philosphy @ Stanford. I’ve studied my share of philosophy and had a mensa buddy that couldn’t shut up about the subject, which is a subject I don’t find particularly compelling compared with other fields of study.

      I cited concise definitions provided by the best dictionary of American English (as opposed to British, Canadian, Australian English, etc.) that has yet been published, and I cited those definitions for a REASON which someone such as yourself couldn’t comprehend in a million years, sitting there in your sniper’s nest taking random shots and anybody who walks by.

      1. Then call it Bayer’s Own Version of Pragmatism.

        But Webster didn’t do justice to the philosophical principle.

        Remain an insultive ignoramus, then.

          1. Dr. Benson is the only commenter here who would have found fault with his own use of the word principle in the context of pragmatist philosophy. We must all try harder so that Dr. Benson will not have to bust his own chops all by his lonesome.

            1. This is all Turley’s fault. He unleashed it when he concluded his original post for this thread with the following sentence:

              “We can instead pick the truth and demand the right to decide for ourselves.”

            2. L4D is enabling David Benson I am doing my best to bust David’s chops. I just got a late start this morning.

          2. Man, the most pitiful thing about you is that you apparently have no clue how pitiful you really are. And I’m sorry, but I’ll take Webster’s distilled definition over your ignorantly arrogant point of view any day of any week of any year.

            And only a total jackass would say “call it Bayer’s Own Version of Pragmatism” when I quoted it from Webster’s compared with Webster’s definition of ideology. See, what an ignorantly-arrogant jackass such as you doesn’t understand is that, as per the theory of relativity (which is no longer a theory) there are no absolutes in this universe — that everything is measured relative to something else — so the important thing is comparison. And I reached my working definition — meant for the real world, not for moron Ph.Ds with too many worthless degrees — by comparison with the same dictionary’s definition of ideology, which I’m sure you also have a problem with, because you have a problem.

            Now I’ve given more information than you’ll be able to understand if you live to be 200 or find a way of not being a total jackass — neither of which I see happening in this universe.

            Just keep taking your personality-disorder pot shots at others while crouching in your sniper’s nest, making you feel the superiority compared with others who have actual real world experiences to measure themselves by while you measure yourself in comparison with your own opinion of yourself.

        1. From Meriam-Webster Definition 2. Philosophical Pragmatism:

          An American movement in philosophy founded by C. S. Peirce and William James and marked by the doctrines that the meaning of conceptions is to be sought in their practical bearings, that the function of thought is to guide action, and that truth is preeminently to be tested by the practical consequences of belief.

          Meanwhile, L4D claims that the terms “action plan” and “plan of action” would be excessively literal translations for the mere noun pragmatism.

          1. That is a better description of pragmatism, my only original point.

            To be blunt and crude about it, it certainly appears that Beyer is Nutz!

            1. He certainly show his convolutions. How’d his shell get to be so cracked?

        2. David Benson still owes me two citations, one from the OED. David, you still haven’t supplied us with this fabulous definition of pragmatism that should make our hearts flutter and our pants wet. So far you are all talk, no game.

          1. From Gabriele Gava’s review of C. Hookway’s “The Pragmatist Maxim”

            In his paper “How to Make our Ideas Clear” Peirce famously defined truth as the final opinion held by the community of investigators and reality as the object represented in that opinion.

    2. David Benson still owes me two citations, one from the OED. So, David, just was does pragmatism really mean? You are aware that it has several meanings, not just the one you picked, right, buddy? This is why we have the OED.

      1. It has but the meaning ascribed to it by the inventors. See the Stanford University Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

        1. From Christopher Hookway of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on The Pragmatist Maxim:

          We can begin with Peirce’s canonical statement of his maxim in ‘How to Make our Ideas Clear’.

          Consider what effects, which might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have. Then, our conception of those effects is the whole of our conception of the object. (EP1: 132)

          William James cited this passage when introducing pragmatism in his 1906 lectures, and Peirce repeated it in his writings from after 1900.

          1. For instance, the object of L4D’s conception of an object is an arrow [or javelin] meeting and lodging with a target. That is so, because L4D is hopelessly infatuated with the excessively literal meanings of words. Another person might have a more metaphorical conception of an object. For instance, Rene Descartes famously conceived of a blob of wax having the property of extension as the object of his conception of body.

            Has this article been helpful?

            (Well, I didn’t think so either.)

        2. David Benson still owes me two citations, one from the OED. See the Oxford English Dictionary.

            1. David Benson still owes me two citations, one from the OED. See both my previous comment and the Oxford English Dictionary.

          1. Did you know that the Cartesian coordinate system was originally developed primarily for the purpose of Rene’s pioneering work in the field of ballistics?

            1. L4D is enabling David Benson I did not know that and after some research, I am not sure I know now.

              1. It’s all about the parabolic trajectories. (Mathematicians were the original deep-state operatives.)

                1. I would say that Socrates was the first deep stater. Always asking questions…

                  1. I forgot about old vetch-nosed gadfly. They say he served as a Magistrate in the year that The Thirty Oligarchs were arrested.

                  2. David Benson still owes me two citations, one from the OED. If only more deep staters would commit suicide.

                2. L4D is enabling David Benson You really need to read more history and Weart does not count.

    1. Thus confirming that you’re watching Hannity — as if there was any doubt.

  6. Pew has noted increasing polarization since Obama’s election.
    That significantly predates Trump.
    Less well examined is that the increase is primarily do to the hollowing out of the center.
    The right has not moved further right, but many in the center have shifted left.

    We have seen the same shift on our colleges, when have for decades been dominated by the left, but in recent years those on the moderate left have moved further towards the extreme.

    Trump is not the cause of this – but he is a symptom .

    Trump is the thumb in your eye of those in the hollowed out center and the not so extreme right to the polarized extreme left saying – we are tired of being called “hateful, hating haters” – we have accommodated the left on nearly everything and yet those on the left still call us racist, misogynist, or whatever ist comes to mind.

    The country is in trouble, but the problem is nearly exclusively on the left.

    As Turley notes, if you disregard the rhetoric Trump is not particularly extreme as a president.

    Obama was rhetorically benign but acted lawlessly.

    There is much to complain about regarding the political right – even the extreme right, but they are not the problem.

    1. “The country is in trouble, but the problem is nearly exclusively on the left.”

      The country is in trouble, but the problem is nearly exclusively all the flaming ideologues who’ve been mind-conditioned into viewing the entire universe as being comprised of polar opposites.

      Guess what — there’d be no right were it not for the left and no left were it not for the right. They ALL use the same flawed thought process. The thinking is identical. There is no practical difference from the way Mao Zedong thought and the way Crazy Joe McCarthy thought. They might have had different goals in mind, but the thought process they used in dreaming up those goals was identical.

      The problem you speak of is that ideologues have hijacked politics and the media with their Us vs. Them malignant ignorance. If you’re not one of us, you must be one of them.

      There is no place on the web or anywhere else that a reasonable person can obtain news that isn’t filtered and spun either left or right by demented morons, and that’s fueling the problems in America.

      And one of the manifestations of the left vs. right mentality is that ideologues are all-or-nothing extremists. They don’t compromise. They don’t listen to reason. And if you agree with one of them on 99 out of 100 issues, they will brand you as the enemy just for disagreeing with them on that one issue.

      The problems in America will never go away as long as ideologues control the political parties, the media, and the discourse. If you eliminate what you call the left, the people in the center will be branded as the new left. And if you eliminate them, the people that aren’t far enough right to suit you will be branded the new left.

      In order for your polar-opposite universe to exist, there HAS to be an opposite. Conservative whine from sun up to sun down about liberals, but the fact is that they need them and can’t exist without them, any more than you can have up without down, or in without out.

      Ideologues NEVER understand that. It’s something that their flawed thought process won’t process. Their very existence and way of thinking CREATES the enemies of which they complain. A hamster could figure that out, but an ideologue never will.

      1. The right answer to every question is NOT in the middle.

        Further a political ideology can be right 80% of the time and still wrong 20%.
        And both “sides” of some issue can be wrong – and the compromise can be wrong, and some entirely different solution can be right.

        Further all choices can be wrong – but some less than others.

        Finally – particularly where government is involved – most of the time, doing nothing is better than most actions.

        Regardless, for most questions there is a “right” or “best” or better than most answer.
        Sometimes that answer is what the Right wants. Sometimes the left, sometimes it is compromise,
        quite often it is something that neither the right or left want.

        Do not let your anger at “ideology” blind you.

        As an example – free markets are an “ideology” as it Maoism.

        Which would you bet on ? If those are the ONLY choices – there IS a right answer.

        Sometimes the left IS wrong and the right IS right.

        But mostly – libertarians are right about everything!

        1. Honestly, I haven’t a clue concerning what you’re babbling about. The only thing I can discern is that you failed to comprehend my meaning. And I’m not surprised. Clearly your final sentence is a joke.

      2. When I was young there were 3 networks.

        What ever is wrong with our media today – and there is ALOT wrong – this is much BETTER.

        Every oppinion on every issue is out there – you just have to learn critical thinking to sort the wheat from the chaffe.

        I honestly do not have a major problem with left wing media bias.

        Fox was the reaction to that.
        Trump is another reaction to that.

        One of the things the left does not get is that Trump won for a reason – it was not Russia.
        It was backlash. Enough people said NO to the past 8 years, to being called hateful hating haters.

        Some of those who voter for trump are hatefull hating haters. Just as many who did not are.
        But most are not.

        You are right that divergent views will exist.

        You are wrong that the left and the right as they currently exist are a requirment.

        We try ideas – those of the left, those of the right we see which work and which do not, and we learn and move on. Then over time we forget and sometimes have to relearn.

        But progress inherently means we are slowly improving.

        1. OK, I’m grasping part of your confusion. I did NOT say “that the left and the right as they currently exist are a requirment.” I said that if one exists, the other must exist. If you can’t understand that, I can’t explain it to you better than I stated. A hamster could figure it out, but an ideologue never will.

          And I totally disagree with your conclusion that what we have now is better than what we previously had by way of media. My first job (1968, age 15, after school with underage work permit in hand) was in a library, where part of my duties included manning the periodical archives and helping people with research. This was in the days before all one had to do was google a few key phrases to find what they were looking for. So I became reasonably familiar with a wide range of periodicals, ranging from the NYT to Der Spiegel, as well as the sort of people who came to the library looking for information from each publication.

          And I can assure you that decent, reasonably accurate information was available back then in bulk quantities, mostly because the professional-journalism practice of the day was to separate “news” from “opinion.” That practice went out of style and now one is hard pressed to find any working journalist that even knows the difference between fact and opinion, and they’ve even begun just outright making up the facts.

          Mostly, I think you fail to understand that the concepts “left” and “right” are not the only way to think. Those concepts were actually planted in people’s minds to make them easier to manipulate and to keep the public divided into factions that are always at each other’s throats so that they won’t join together and pose a threat to the real power structure.

          You really need to cleanse your mind of the mind-conditioning about “left” and “right.”

          1. If you are saying that there must be atleast two positions and they must be antipodal in someway – that is practically a meaningless tautology.

            Nothing dictates that there must be a “right” or “left” beyond that if there are two positions one will be described as right of the other.

            But everything is relative. Hillary is RIGHT of Sanders.
            Trump is LEFT of Santorum.

            Nor is everthing inherently on a single axis.

            Libertarians are RIGHT of progressives on fiscal issues and LEFT of conservatives on social issues – though “social issues” and civil liberties are forking.

            Social conservatives are both right and left of supply siders – depending on the issue.

            Ultimately “right” and “left” have very diluted meaning.

          2. We are debating oppinions.

            But there are facts.

            Though I will agree that journalists on the whole were more ethical in the past, that there was better division, and there was more order.

            I do not agree that there was even a fraction as much information.

            Milton Friedman had to do decades of research to find data I can in minutes.

            There is far more chaos today, skills in critical thinking, and sorting wheat from chaffe are far more important today than in the last.

            But I honestly beleive we are better off with an infinite number of sources of information with all their different biases, in myriads of forms.

            The chaos means more confrontation. It means accepting that the media is highly biased.
            No I do not think the the media was AS biased in the past, but it also was not confronted on its bias.

            I would rather live in a world where Rachel Madow and Alex Jones piss over each other to their cults, and I can read Turley and Tribe and Derschowitz, and Ken White and Andrew McCarthy and …….

            I would rather have CNN and the president hacking away at each other openly, than the press hiding from us that the president is a pervert.

    1. That’s what I thought when I first heard the title of the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It sounded like the name of a bar that I wouldn’t want to accidentally wander into.

  7. “This country is facing a crisis of faith. We have never been more divided or more unsure of our institutions.”

    I missed this little dittie by JT in the first once over. Thanks to NII for highlighting it.

    There is no crisis of faith in our institutions and we’re hardly divided. This is true because we have never put or faith in “institutions.” Black, White, Asian and every permutation thereof are united in this one grand principle: We have faith in ourselves and just tolerate the Keystone Copiness of our elected leaders and their carefully crafted political fiefdoms that are really just pathetic, ephemeral chimeras.

    We’re too busy for the banality of government. We’ll go about our lives doing what Americans do best — work hard and play hard. When our pseudo-masters get too intrusive into our lives, we’ll go all postal on them and throw them out in a political tidal wave that should have a rainbow above it with the words emblazoned “Leave Us the Hell Alone.” That’s explains America and maybe a lot of free people. Oh, you can think you’ve fooled us but that always comes back to smack you right in the face. Right Hillary? Right George H. W. Bush? Right Jimmy Carter?

    Do not test our common sense or sell us short. Down deep we’re like our philosophical ancestors — real revolutionaries. And we fight each other like Hell until somebody or something supposes they can take away our right to do exactly how we please. Then Hell gets redirected.

    1. mespo – I have always thought our political institutions worked best when they were on recess. 😉

      1. “That government is best which governs least” — Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience.

        1. William:

          I rather like this one by a favorite lawyer:

          “It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all.”
          –Thomas Jefferson to Francois D’Ivernois, 1795.

          1. Interestingly, Jefferson is the person to whom the Thoreau quote is most often misattributed, or so I’ve read.

            At any rate, I always try to keep in mind that the primary purpose of the Constitution is to protect the citizenry from its own government. It would have been helpful if the Constitution had stated that clearly in the opening sentence.

            1. The Declaration did: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. “

              1. Alas, the Declaration is not the law of the land and no longer a legally-binding document. Perhaps it should be reconstituted (pun?) and made into an Amendment.

                1. The Declaration is not Law but philosophy which is Law’s granddaddy. That’s important, too: “It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a
                  republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon
                  eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.” –Thomas
                  Jefferson: Notes on Virginia, 1782

                  1. Unfortunately, philosophy is difficult to argue — otherwise there wouldn’t have evolved so many different schools of philosophical thought over the centuries — such as my own philosophy of pragmatism, which is directly opposite to those who call themselves ideologues, either “liberal” or “conservative.”

                    “pragmatism — n. — 2 a method or tendency in philosophy *** which determines the meaning and truth of all concepts by their practical consequences ***” Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Third Edition, copyright 1997 Simon & Schuster, Inc., page 1059.

                    “ideology — n. — 2 thinking or theorizing of an idealistic, abstract, or impractical nature; fanciful speculation ***” Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Third Edition, copyright 1997 Simon & Schuster, Inc.. page 669-670.

                    Of course there are other definitions, but those two work for me, and highlight the deficiency of ideological thinking, which is the disregard for matters of practical reality.

                    Anyway, since you keep mentioning Jefferson, I’ll point out that he and Lincoln are my two favorite American heroes. I probably know more about Jefferson from architecture school than American History or other sources, but somewhere (I don’t recall where), I became familiar with his philosophy concerning higher education, which he came up with while founding the University of Virginia. That’s the thing about architectural design — all of that busy work with one’s hands leaves a ton of time for the mind to wander around, thinking about all kinds of things — sort of what happens to a guy playing center field in a ball game.

                    His philosophy concerning higher education (which you might be familiar with — I don’t know) was that universities should not offer degrees — that there should be no time table set concerning when the learning is finished, or that it is ever finished, and that a person should attend the university for 6 month or 60 years — however long that person felt that he or she was benefitting from what others had to share and/or however long that person felt that others were benefitting from what he or she had to share.

                    I actually followed that philosophy in pursuit of my own education. I’m the only one I’ve ever met who did so.

                  2. mespo,
                    It was more than a philosophical document. It was used to justify a war then, and that 4th self-evident truth is still in play today. I still cannot figure out why anyone would argue against the DoI being as relevant today as it was then. Every advancement in the cause for equality under the law and the security of rights is rooted in that document. The constitution and all laws have one purpose and that is to do for us as a group what we cannot do for ourselves; provide the equal security of natural rights.

                    I love this quote from Lincoln:

                    Fragment on the Constitution and Union

                    All this is not the result of accident. It has a philosophical cause. Without the Constitution and the Union, we could not have attained the result; but even these, are not the primary cause of our great prosperity. There is something back of these, entwining itself more closely about the human heart. That something, is the principle of “Liberty to all” — the principle that clears the path for all — gives hope to all — and, by consequence, enterprize, and industry to all.

                    The expression of that principle, in our Declaration of Independence, was most happy, and fortunate. Without this, as well as with it, we could have declared our independence of Great Britain; but without it, we could not, I think, have secured our free government, and consequent prosperity. No oppressed, people will fight, and endure, as our fathers did, without the promise of something better, than a mere change of masters.

                    The assertion of that principle, at that time, was the word, “fitly spoken” which has proved an “apple of gold” to us. The Union, and the Constitution, are the picture of silver, subsequently framed around it. The picture was made, not to conceal, or destroy the apple; but to adorn, and preserve it. The picture was made for the apple — not the apple for the picture.

                    So let us act, that neither picture, or apple shall ever be blurred, or bruised or broken.

                    That we may so act, we must study, and understand the points of danger.

                2. The declaration is the legal argument made by the colonists for abolishing the government they had and establishing a new one. There is ZERO difference in its merit or legitimacy today than in 1776.

                  The declaration is not the “law of the land” it is the supra-law of the land.
                  It is where we may go when the government we have fails to protect our rights.

                  We still have some distance before we are justified in taking up arms, but we are far too far along that path.

                  1. Nonetheless, the Declaration is NOT the law of the land. That designation is reserved for the Constitution.
                    And it is no longer a legally binding document, since its purpose — to dissolve the relationship between the Colonies and Great Britain — has been accomplished.
                    It is for future purposes you referenced that I suggested that it might be reconstituted into a Constitutional Amendment — thus becoming part of the Law of the Land.

                    1. I would suggest re-reading it. It is far more than you argue.
                      Frankly it is far more important than the consitution.

                      The constitution is a framework, a blueprint for a government.
                      The declaration is the moral, ethical philosophical and legal basis allowing us to form that government.
                      It is also the basis for ending any government.

                      Yes the courts have placed far too little importance in the most important document in not merely this countries existance, but possibily the world.

    2. There is no crisis or ambiguity in the “manifest tenor” of the Constitution. The crisis exists in those conflicted Americans endeavoring to nullify it The size and purview of government is limited by its power to tax solely for “general Welfare,” omitting and excluding individual welfare, AKA redistribution of wealth, understanding that private property is claimed and exercised “…in exclusion of every other indivdual” and that it is the duty of courts to void all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution.

      The welfare state of central planning, redistribution of wealth and social engineering, is absolutely antithetical and unconstitutional. A constitutional government will be exponentially smaller and less intrusive and meddling.

      Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1

      “The Congress shall have Power To…collect Taxes,…to…provide for the…general Welfare,…”

      James Madison defined “private property” as

      “that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.”

      “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

      – Alexander Hamilton

  8. “Some of the terrorists attacking the US were born here”

    Alas Valerie Jarrett was born in Iran and her father was investgated by the FBI for years due to communist overtures including Soviet spies

    Valerie Jarrett was resoundly called out as a communist by Stanford alumni

    “How timely to see Valerie Jarrett on the cover. You have highlighted the woman who has just been exposed as one of the most vocal advocates for Van Jones, an avowed communist and public supporter of a cop-killing murderer [death row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal], now exposed and removed from government.

    What a great lesson: Valerie’s Stanford education did not provide her with a moral compass sufficient to recognize that Jones would be bad news in any administration. I’m left wondering if Jarrett, or Stanford, can recognize the immoral shamefulness of her actions?”

  9. Professor Turley, the facts reveal an Obama/FBI/CIA/NSC/Intel conspiracy to conduct deliberate, covert, counter-Trump operations regarding the false “Russian Dossier” created by Hillary, fraudulently presented in the FISA court and to Trump as ordered of Comey by Brennan and Clapper, and to frame Papadopolous by arranging for Joseph Misfud to tell Papadopoulos that the Russians had dirt (e-mails) on Hillary then arranging for Stefan Halper to pay Papadopoulos $3,000 for a London speech and inducing Papadopolous to reveal that fact to Alexander Downer in London on a night of heavy drinking in a foreign country in circumstances controlled by Obama’s “deep state” conspirators.

    Understanding that willfully and conspiratorially conducting a coup d’etat in America is illegal and unconstitutional treason, let’s “pick the truth” and demand prosecution of those who are patently and irrefutably guilty:

    Rosenstein, Mueller, Comey, McCabe, Strozk, Page, Kadzic, Yates, Baker, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Steele, Simpson, Hillary, Huma, Lynch, Brennan, Clapper, Kerry, Stefan “The Walrus” Halper, Power, Farkas, Rice, Obama et al.

    1. George, et al;

      I was thinking about your post & it reminded me where I found a vid related to your comments about the suspected Spies Milfud, Halper, Downer, Rosenstein, Mueller, Comey, McCabe, Strozk, Page, Kadzic, Yates, Baker, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Steele, Simpson, Hillary, Huma, Lynch, Brennan, Clapper, Kerry, Stefan “The Walrus” Halper, Power, Farkas, Rice, Obama et al.:

      29:10 in vid, Bongino 5/30/18

      Push/Pull Op, to keep the Word Spy out of the public’s ear.

      Who? Why? Who is it trying to push Misfud/Halper/et al: to Spy on Team Trump?
      Rosenstein, Mueller, Comey, McCabe, Strozk, Page, Kadzic, Yates, Baker, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Steele, Simpson, Hillary, Huma, Lynch, Brennan, Clapper, Kerry, Stefan “The Walrus” Halper, Power, Farkas, Rice, Obama et al.

    1. Wait!

      Where are Obama, Rosenstein, Mueller, Comey, McCabe, Strozk, Page, Kadzic, Yates, Baker, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Steele, Simpson, Hillary, Huma, Lynch, Brennan, Clapper, Kerry, Stefan “The Walrus” Halper, Power, Farkas, Rice and the rest of the Obama Gang conducting a coup d’etat in America?

      Let’s get this party started!

      1. Round them all up just like California Attorney General Earl Warren did to do the Japanese with support from SCOTUS

        “The Japanese situation as it exists in this state today may well be the Achilles heel of the entire civilian defense effort.” The concentration camps were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Korematsu v. United States (1944) – Wiki

        1. Why did you omit the glaring, compelling diplomatic aberration relative to Japan in WWII, the detonation of atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki? President Truman “rounded up” a few Japanese in those actions, wouldn’t you say?

    2. “In fact, she had a duty not to defend it if she sincerely believed that it was unconstituutional.”

      I could be wrong, but I think the reference is to the ABA Code of Professional Responsibility, or some local bar association variant thereof, and relates to a lawyer’s duty to the law, above all else.

      1. Like that “lawyer,” “Crazy Abe” Lincoln, who suspended Habeas Corpus among many other treasonous violations of the Constitution and capital crimes.

        1. Just as with your misinterpretation of Lincoln’s statements regarding what to do with the freed slaves, you’re ignoring the FACT that the Constitution and the republic would have ceased to exist if Lincoln hadn’t taken extraordinary action. There’s no point in strictly obeying the Constitution if in doing so the Constitution would cease to exist. That’s why there’s such a thing as Martial Law. Look it up.

          1. William Bayer – what do we call a religion you cannot leave? A cult. If you freely join an organization, you should be able to freely leave it. The Republic would have remained, just smaller and with competition for land acquisition.

            1. I don’t think anyone can predict what would have happened if the South had won the Civil War. It’s entirely possible that the republic would have dissolved or been taken over by some other form of government. That’s why Franklin answered the question about what form of government we had by saying, “A republic — if you can keep it.”
              I think Lincoln was trying to preserve the republic, and I don’t find him at fault for instituting Martial Law via suspending Habeas Corpus. It would be different if Habeas Corpus had been permanently repealed.

              1. William Bayer – It isn’t called the War of Northern Aggression for nothing.

                1. It imagine it’s called that by people who also claim that freeing the slaves violated their property rights.

                  1. William Bayer – Lincoln only freed slaves in the South, not the North.

                    1. Paul, I respect you — but I’ll tell you what I just told someone else. I’m not a big fan of arguing for the sake of arguing. As a matter of practical reality, I see no benefit to this particular conversation.

                    2. No more appropriate and accurate words were ever uttered by the vanquished on any field of adversity.

                    3. Paul, I respect you — but I’ll tell you what I just told someone else. I’m not a big fan of arguing for the sake of arguing.

                      Ha ha ha. Welcome to the world of Dhili, ‘Ken Rogers’, ‘Allan’, ‘Squeaky Fromm’….

                  2. Under British law and rule then American, and for 170 years, slaves were property per bills of sale, receipts, deeds and records of such. “Crazy Abe” Lincoln confiscated private property by issuing the unconstitutional “Emancipation Proclamation,” proclamations requiring the conditions of war, insurrection or rebellion which did not exist during and after the legal and peaceful secession of the Confederate States of America. What Lincoln perpetrated were treasonous violations of fundamental law constituting a coup d’etat in America; a criminal takeover of the government.

                2. The moment the CSA legitimately and legally passed, ratified and adopted its Constitution, it completed its secession from the USA and it was a foreign, sovereign nation. Lincoln illegally and unconstitutionally executed a military attack on a sovereign foreign nation. The singular American failure is the Supreme Court.

              2. That’s absolutely brilliant. You don’t find the criminal and lawbreaker at fault for committing the crime and breaking the law. The law is there for a reason. Free enterprise is its own regulation. Consumers are the corporate CEO’s. They tell the corporation what to do. Competition can lead consumers away from one product toward another. Consumers could have stopped buying slave products putting corporations using slave labor out of business. Lincoln would not allow free enterprise to function. Lincoln should have been a zealous promoter of boycotts of products of slave labor. Lincoln wanted to dictate as a good dictator does. Lincoln’s “Reign of Terror” is not dissimilar from the unconstitutional dictatorship of the Marxist, redistributionist, socially engineered state America finds itself in currently.

                1. Honestly, you REALLY need to take a few history classes.
                  First you were whining about the slaves not being returned to the homeland — as if importation of slaves hadn’t been abolished three generations before Lincoln freed the slaves and disregarding the FACT that better than 99% of the freed slaves were born in the US and called America their home.
                  Now you’re fixated on Lincoln for some other reason you’ve dug up under the pretense that his instituting martial law during a war was somehow unlawful.
                  Well, guess what. Martial law was instituted in post-WWII Germany. Would you have left the German people alone to do as they chose, and possibly reinstituted a Nazi government?
                  I don’t really want to hear your answer to that question, because I suspect that your answer would be “yes.”
                  There are issues of practical reality involved, and you’re clearly detached from practical reality and inventing your own version of history.
                  Others might find your nonsense entertaining, but I do not.

          2. It is not possible for me to “misinterpret” Lincoln. I cut and pasted his very words. You have been revealed to be deliberately misinterpreting. You erroneously believe your twisted miscogitations have meaning and worth. Only in the court of the absurd. The fact of the “Crazy Abe” Lincoln matter is that “Crazy Abe” violated fundamental law – the Constitution. That makes Lincoln a lawbreaker. That makes Lincoln a criminal. That makes Lincoln a despot. That makes Lincoln tyrannical and oppressive dictator. Free constitutional America had the authority and the tools to abolish slavery through promotion, boycotts and divestiture. If free people in America, Europe and other countries did not want slavery, they needed only to stop their purchases of products produced on slave plantations. “If you don’t build it, they won’t come,” Anonymous. “Crazy Abe” Lincoln was a psychotic mass murderer who threw out the law and used violence in its stead. What America owed freed slaves was safe passage home; corrective action for their own good, for their sense of nationhood and for their self-esteem. That is knowable.

            1. “That makes Lincoln a lawbreaker. That makes Lincoln a criminal. That makes Lincoln a despot. That makes Lincoln tyrannical and oppressive dictator.”

              And repeating that nonsense is what makes you a jackass.

          3. Fiat justitia ruat cælum

            We do not actually know what would have happened had Lincoln not “taken extraordinary action”.

            One must be extremely careful when acting as if the ends justify the means.
            The probably do not and ones fears of what MIGHT happen are not justifications

            That is an easy game to play and always leads to tyranny.

            1. “That is an easy game to play and always leads to tyranny.”
              I’m sorry, but I don’t recognize any tyranny resulting from Lincoln’s actions. I’m aware that slave-holders regarded Lincoln’s presidency and what followed as tyranny, but them some people will say anything. The Pope is a tyrant. Martha Stewart is a tyrant. Shirley Temple was a tyrant.
              I prefer to deal in matters of practical reality, so I’m not really interested in playing these sorts of word games.

              1. Martha Stewart is a tyrant.

                One chap who attended part of her trial offered that her story was a demonstration of his father’s admonition: “Be careful how you treat people on your way up, ‘cuz your gonna meet ’em all again on your way back down”.

              2. My point is not about lincoln.

                It is that it is a fallacy to argue that but for something Lincoln did there would be anarchy.

                But for Hilter germans would have starved is an equally valid argument

                If Lincoln’s actions had some benefit – demonstrate that.

                I do not share George’s views on Lincoln or the civil war – and I have the unique pleasure of being a northerner taking US history at Ga Tech, I would have failed US history had I talked about the “civil war” rather than the “war between the states” or possible “the war of northern agression”.

                But being on the right side of an issue is not a sound basis for a fallacious argument.

                Finally, I can beleive Lincoln was a great president and the war was necescary and proper and properly decided and still beleive that in some instances Lincoln erred.

            2. By the way — using Latin to make yourself appear intelligent has the opposite effect. When having a conversation in English it’s best to stick to English unless there’s a REASON to use some other language.
              Affen sind die Wurzel allen Übels

              1. Ad hominem – that is latin too!.
                OK – that is native american.
                a capella
                ad nasuem
                a priori
                al dente

          4. Article 1, Section 9

            “The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.”

            In 1861, there was NO Rebellion or Invasion. There was legitimate SECESSION, as was the case with Catalonia, Britain in its Brexit, Scotland, Pakistan, Bangladesh, West Virginia, the British colonies in America, every nation in the former Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics et al.

            Once the CSA passed its “ordinances to dissolve,” it was a sovereign foreign nation taking no military action against the USA, no military action being necessary as the secession was completed and done.

            1. The Confederate Army had repeatedly invaded the North. And the Southern soldiers were called — wait for it — “rebels,” as in the theme song to the old TV western, “Johnny Yuma was a rebel — he roamed through the West …”

              So there was both a rebellion and invasion. Who fired the first shot of the Civil War? — wait for it — the Confederates.

              Go fly a kite. I’m sure you have an endless supply, but I’m done with your absolute NONSENSE.

              1. You have achieved complete, possibly irremediable, insanity.

                The first shot of the Civil War was legally and legitimately fired agaisnt a foreign invader in the state of

                South Carolina of the sovereign foreign nation of the Confederate States of America.

                Upon the legal and not unconstitutional secession of the CSA, “Crazy Abe” Lincoln was an invading despot.

                1. OK, jackass — now all you have to do is look up the definition of the word, “invaders” — because northern troops were already there. They invaded nothing.
                  You are the exact sort of person I despise, and speaking as a Trump supporter, having to align myself with people such as you is the most distasteful thing there is about being a Trump supporter.
                  I’d strongly recommend that you take your fixation elsewhere. The only reason you brought up Lincoln in this conversation that had NOTHING to do with Lincoln until you showed up was because you got your ass handed to you the other day by whining about the slaves not being sent back home to Africa, when anyone who graduated from elementary school would know that virtually NONE of the slaves had ever been in Africa.
                  But psychologically, you can’t stand having your utter ignorance exposed, so now you’re fixated on ME. Now you hate me even more than you hate the black people whom you hate so much that you invented a reason to pretend that you care about them by claiming that you wish they had been given their hope to be sent to Africa.
                  If you don’t take your fixation and delusions elsewhere than sticking them in replies to me, I believe this is gonna get ugly.

              2. No more appropriate and accurate words were ever uttered by the vanquished on any field of adversity.

              3. There is a memorial here in Maryland to the men, women and CHILDREN whom the despot Lincoln ordered rounded up and held behind barbed wire during the civil war. They were farm families who he thought “might be” sympathetic to the South. So what if they were? A bunch of farming families in rural Maryland? American citizens. Civilians. It mattered not to Lincoln. Most of them died during their captivity – having never been charged with anything – of thirst, hunger and thyphus. Seeing that memorial did a complete turnabout for me, from the grammar school “Lincoln is a hero,” nonsense, to researching who he really was, a corporate lawyer who represented railroads and cared not a whit about the slaves or the citizens, but only in preserving a united country for big business interests, at any cost.

                1. I’m very sorry that Lincoln freed the slaves that you would have inherited from your great great great grandfather. It must be a terrible loss and no doubt a great inconvenience for you to have to pick your own cotton.

  10. Natacha…. please state where Trump said “keep out muslims, because, doesn’t everyone know they’re all terrorists? ”

    Its amazing how when people find someone disagreeable, they simply contort/change what is said out of convenience.

    1. “please state where”…..

      it is found on the same legal document that Hillary used to insult millions of Americans as being deplorables

      You just make it up along the way since Democrats have no real plan and the media will slip hemlock into the pools of their willing accomplices

  11. JT says: ” It must be an act that is so clearly and demonstrably unconstitutional that no good-faith argument can be made in court.” The basis for the travel ban was to target Muslims, in keeping with multiple campaign promises made to Trump’s basket of deplorables. He promised them that he’d keep out Muslims, because, doesn’t everyone know that they’re all terrorists? Discriminating against a group based on religion is clearly and demonstrably unconstitutional. JT’s claim that there were “good” arguments in favor of the ban is nothing more than his spin, just like his insertion of the word “good” before the word “cause” in describing Yates’s firing. Generally, one is properly fired for “cause”. When JT spins her firing as “good cause”, he just proves again that he loves throwing red meat to the deplorables. It really disappoints me.

    As one of the Courts hearing arguments pointed out, you only need to play the tapes of what Trump said to understand that the lawyer arguments are just that: lawyer arguments. They don’t reflect the truth behind the ban, which Trump himself explained. Lawyer-spin does not create alternative facts, Kellyanne.

    Yates had no duty to enforce a travel ban based solely on religious grounds. In fact, she had a duty not to defend it if she sincerely believed that it was unconstituutional. J.T. says: “Absent a clearly unconstitutional act, she had a duty to defend the policy. This is not a judgment call where reasonable minds could disagree.” Reasonable minds DO and HAVE disagreed, including several federal judges who rejected the lawyer-spin and found the ban unconstitutional. Again, more disappointing partisanship.

    1. He promised them that he’d keep out Muslims, because, doesn’t everyone know that they’re all terrorists?

      You mean ‘Muslim’ live in only six countries?

      1. Why don’t you take up your complaints with the federal judges who ruled against Trump?

        1. Because they’re cheesy lawfare artists unworthy of the offices they hold.

          1. Because they’re cheesy lawfare artists unworthy of the offices they hold. -Nutchab

            As opposed to the nutball who plays all day, every day on the Turley blog. Having all the answers, one would think that your expertise would be in great demand — in the real world — where successful people dwell.

        2. Do you think maybe some of the votes for hillary came from the judiciary? And if you do, do you think that some of the current judiciary has taken the trouble of reading what current laws say?

      2. You have a point, but not the point you think. Trump didn’t go after people traveling from Muslim countries with lots of money, and with whom he has or wants to do business: such as Saudi Arabia, where most of the 911 terrorists hailed from, UAE, and other wealthy Muslim countries. Some of the terrorists attacking the US were born here. The travel ban, which he tried to deny was a travel ban, targeted those primarily Muslim countries that he hasn’t and doesn’t plan to do business with.

        1. Why would he? He was trying to exclude migrants from a discrete set of problem countries. You loathe rich people, but that doesn’t make it reasonable or advisable for anyone else to adopt such a disposition.

    2. Natacha – I would posit that unreasonable minds agree with the judges that supported Yates. Reasonable minds support Trump. 😉

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