Author: jonathanturley

Brennan: I Did Not Mean Trump Was Treasonous When I Said His Actions Are “Nothing Short Of Treason”

220px-John_Brennan_CIA_official_portraitI have been critical of the decision of President Donald Trump to rescind the clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan and to release a list of other officials to be reviewed — officials who are uniformly critics of the President.  Despite my criticism of everyone on the list, I viewed the unprecedented action to be unwarranted and retaliatory.  However, Brennan himself does not help the case for those of us opposing the action.  This weekend Brennan walked back his earlier reckless statement that Trump press conference with Russian president Vladimir Putin was treasonous.  Now Brennan insists that when he called Trump treasonous he did not mean that he actually committed treason. Continue reading “Brennan: I Did Not Mean Trump Was Treasonous When I Said His Actions Are “Nothing Short Of Treason””

NPS Prepares Charges Against Man Who Took Selfies With Feeding Bears In Closed Park Area

screen-shot-2018-08-14-at-123215-pm.pngWe often discuss the people who refuse to adhere to park signs or barriers at the risk to themselves and wildlife. The latest march of the morons was captured on a series of selfies by a man who waded into a river full of bears in a closed section of the Katmai National Park with two other people.  The National Park Service is now preparing charges against this group after various people contacted them with the evidence from a webcam.

Continue reading “NPS Prepares Charges Against Man Who Took Selfies With Feeding Bears In Closed Park Area”

Eighteen-Year-Old Charged After Pushing Friend Off Bridge To “Help Her” . . . Resulting In Multiple Broken Bones

 

 

imagesThere is an interesting case in Washington state where Taylor Smith, 18, is facing a charge of reckless endangerment after she pushed 16-year-old Jordan Holgerson off a bridge.  Holgerson was contemplating the 60-foot plunge and hesitated. Smith insists that she was just trying to help her make the decision — both Holgerson would end up in a belly flop that left her with multiple injuries.  A conviction for the gross misdemeanor can result in as much as a year in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000.
Continue reading “Eighteen-Year-Old Charged After Pushing Friend Off Bridge To “Help Her” . . . Resulting In Multiple Broken Bones”

The False Friend Dilemma: Why Trump Has Few Options In Dealing With Omarosa

Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the continuing controversy surrounding the release of the tell-all book by Omarosa Manigault Newman.  Manigault Newman has continued her release of secret tapes featuring the President and his staff.  Her latest tape captures a private conservation with Lara Trump who offers Manigault Newman a $15,000 a month job with the Trump campaign on the promise that she will “stay positive.”  Trump refers to the rumor that Manigault Newman has dirt of Trump as she offered a job with few apparent duties or expectations other than “staying positive.”  Of course, many of us are still wondering what Manigault Newman did in the White House.  Nevertheless, the taping shows the utter lack of loyalty or honestly by Manigault Newman in dealing with friends and coworkers. 

The Trump campaign has now filed a civil action, which is discussed as a possibility in the column below.  The potential for criminal liability however is limited in this case.

Here is the column: Continue reading “The False Friend Dilemma: Why Trump Has Few Options In Dealing With Omarosa”

“Evil Is A Make-Believe Concept”: American Couple Is Murdered By ISIS While Cycling Through Tajikistan

Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan quit their jobs in Washington, D.C. to experience the world in their late 20s.  Austin wrote on the trip how he had found great decency everywhere they had gone. He wrote: “Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own… By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind.” That inspiring world adventure came to the end in Tajikistan when they and two other cyclists were hit by a car filled with ISIS fighters who jumped and stabbed them to death as “nonbelievers.”

Continue reading ““Evil Is A Make-Believe Concept”: American Couple Is Murdered By ISIS While Cycling Through Tajikistan”

Trump Revokes Clearance Of John Brennan and Orders Review Of Other Former Officials

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedIn a highly controversial move, President Donald Trump has revoked the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan and ordered the review of other officials who all share one obvious distinguishing characteristic: they are all fierce critics of Trump.  The move has been widely condemned as Nixonian and amounting to a black or enemies list.  While I have been highly critical of everyone on the list (and called for some to be fired and, in a couple cases, prosecuted), I find the move very troubling from a free speech perspective.  Indeed, I am still uncertain about the rationale for the actions and why the list would be composed entirely of Trump critics if based on a consistent, apolitical basis. Continue reading “Trump Revokes Clearance Of John Brennan and Orders Review Of Other Former Officials”

New Jersey Superintendent Who Pooped On Athletic Fields Will Receive $100,000 Compensation And Will Sue The Police For Releasing His Mugshot

download-1-1We previously discussed the bizarre case of Thomas W. Tramaglini, the former Superintendent in Holmdel, New Jersey who was found to be the serial pooper who would defecate on high school football field and running tracks.  Now Tramaglini has reached a settlement with the school district to receive more than $100,000 in a separation agreement.  He also plans to sue the police for releasing his mugshot.

Continue reading “New Jersey Superintendent Who Pooped On Athletic Fields Will Receive $100,000 Compensation And Will Sue The Police For Releasing His Mugshot”

Police Seek Man Who Jumped Protective Barrier To Spank Hippo In LA Zoo

hippo spank_1534278629661.JPG_94930055_ver1.0_640_480Police are looking for the latest idiot to ignore zoo signs and barriers (and common sense) to get a videotape of himself spanking a hippopotamus at  the Los Angeles Zoo.  The crime is trespassing but the costs can be fair higher for the animals and the intruders.  Hopefully, the police will find and charge this individual. Continue reading “Police Seek Man Who Jumped Protective Barrier To Spank Hippo In LA Zoo”

Did Manafort’s Lawyers Just Commit A Serious Violation In Its Closing Argument? [Updated]

ManafortThe end of the trial of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort today proved controversial after the defense counsel made reference to the alleged selective prosecution by the Special Counsel. If accounts are accurate, it would seem a direct violation of the prior understanding with the court that no party was to make reference to selective prosecution and the Special Counsel investigation of President Donald Trump.

Continue reading “Did Manafort’s Lawyers Just Commit A Serious Violation In Its Closing Argument? [Updated]”

Manaport Declines To Testify Or Present Defense in Alexandria Trial

ManafortIn a brief exchange with Judge T.S. Ellis III, former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort declined yesterday to take the stand in his own behalf.  His defense then declined to present its own case and moved the trial to closing arguments. Given the highly damaging evidence offered by the prosecution, there is little that will be offered to actually refute the charges.  The decision to waive testimony and a defense case can be a strong strategic choice in a case where the defense savaged the prosecution. That is not this case. Continue reading “Manaport Declines To Testify Or Present Defense in Alexandria Trial”

FIFA Rids Itself Of Corruption . . . By Eliminating “Corruption” From Its New Ethics Code and Allowing Prosecution Of Critics

William_Powell_Frith_Claude_DuvalAs many of you know, I have been a long critic of the corrupt history of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and its sleazy leadership. For years, many have called for FIFA officials to end their global reputation as corrupt and self-dealing. They showed utter contempt for such calls and investigation. It was not until the United States worked with other countries to arrest top officials that FIFA fessed up to its problems. However, it did not take long for FIFA to go back to its old ways.  It has now made future corruption scandals less likely not by the implementation of  new rules allowing the punishment of those who “defame” FIFA officials or the organization.  Indeed, the word “corruption” is no longer in the code of ethics. Moreover, bribes and other violations kept secret for ten years will be essentially wiped clean for purposes of prosecution.

 

Continue reading “FIFA Rids Itself Of Corruption . . . By Eliminating “Corruption” From Its New Ethics Code and Allowing Prosecution Of Critics”

Four “Yutes” And Counting: Controversy Grows Over The Judge’s Comments In The Manafort Trial

ManafortBelow is my column in the Hill newspaper on the controversial statements of the judge presiding over the trial of Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman. Judge T.S. Ellis III has raised growing concerns over his comments in court, particularly before the jury.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Four “Yutes” And Counting: Controversy Grows Over The Judge’s Comments In The Manafort Trial”

Churchgoers Fall Ill After Using Holy Water At Notre Dame

IMG_0298The well-known Catholic prayer states “By this holy water and by Your Precious Blood, wash away all my sins, O Lord.”  It appears however that the next question for the faithful at Notre Dame may be “what washes away the holy water?”  A significant number of churchgoers in Paris are complaining about failing ill after using the holy water at Notre Dame.  It is not a unique problem according to some studies.

Continue reading “Churchgoers Fall Ill After Using Holy Water At Notre Dame”

FBI Fires Peter Strzok

peter-strzok-and-lisa-pageControversial FBI official Peter Strzok has been fired by the FBI — joining former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe in the ignoble distinction of being terminated by an agency that rarely jettisons its own.  The firing creates an obvious dissonant element to the Democratic defense of Strzok as someone unfairly hounded by the Republicans. The terminations of McCabe and Strzok are based on the view of officials who viewed their conduct as unacceptable and, in McCabe’s case, potentially criminal.

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One notable controversy was raised by Strzok attorney Aitan Goelman, who maintained that Deputy Director David Bowdich “overruled” the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility to remove him. The suggestion is that career officials did not view Strzok’s conduct as warranting such action.

Strzok was with the FBI for 21 years.  It did not take time for Trump to tweet out the news:

 

 

Strzok was removed from the special counsel probe last year after the discovery that his incendiary text messages with FBI lawyer, who had an affair with Strzok.

I am interested in the basis for Strzok’s attorney claiming that  the deputy director “reversed the decision of the career FBI official responsible for employee discipline who concluded, through an independent review process, that a 60-day suspension and demotion from supervisory duties was the appropriate punishment.”  There should be some explanation from Goelman as to whether that is true and, if so, the basis for such a reversal.  Generally, the recommendation of the OPR carries considerable weight in such matters. However, the ultimate decisions rests with officials like Goelman on whether the findings warrant more serious sanctions.

Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks