CNN’s legal analyst Asha Rangappa is calling for the impeachment of Attorney General Bill Barr. Rangappa claims that Barr “tried to bamboozle the country” in the recent controversy over the replacement of Geoffrey Berman, who until Saturday had been the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. She further states that there is no ability for the Inspector General to investigate any improper conduct despite evidence that “Barr was attempting to obstruct justice by removing [Berman]. There is no such evidence and the call for impeachment shows a continuing misconstruction of the history and standard for impeachment.
In the Trump Administration, it seems that each day brings a new NDA. From Stormy Daniels to Michael Cohen to John Bolton, NDA litigation has become the signature litigation issue of the Trump presidency. Now, President Donald Trump has invoked a NDA in response to a new tell-all book by his niece Mary Trump.
I have been a critic of the alarming criminalizing of speech in Great Britain through hate speech laws. Such laws create an insatiable appetite for greater and greater speech regulation and create a sense of empowerment among citizens to silence those with whom they disagree. Now, a Scottish man has been convicted of a message that was grossly offensive, indecent or menacing. According to the Evening Express, the prosecutor (appropriately named Susan Love) cited the fact that Terry Myers, 41, called the Irish boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend a “leprechaun.”
As a criminal defense attorney, I would consider Justin Arthur Allen Couch, 25, a bit of a challenge. He will have to be tried on a machete attack with a large machete tattoo prominently featured on his face.
Retired federal judge John Gleeson was recently appointed by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to argue against dismissal of the case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and to advise him on whether the court should substitute its own charge of charge for Flynn for now claiming innocence. I have been highly critical of Sullivan’s orders and particularly the importation of third parties to make arguments that neither party supports in a criminal case. Now Gleeson has filed a brief that confirms the worst fears that many of us had about his appointment. Gleeson assails what he called “a trumped-up accusation of government misconduct.” The ultimate position advocated in Gleeson’s arguments would be a nightmare for criminal defendants, criminal defense counsel and civil libertarians. Indeed, as discussed below, Gleeson was previously reversed as a judge for usurping the authority of prosecutors.
Gleeson actually makes the Red Queen in “Alice in Wonderland” look like an ACLU lawyer. After all she just called for “Sentence First–Verdict Afterward” Gleeson is dispensing with any need for verdict on perjury, just the sentence. However, since these arguments are viewed as inimical to the Trump Administration, many seem blind to the chilling implications.
It is considered one of the most influential (and certainly one of the most watched) films of all time. However, HBO Max has pulled “Gone with the Wind” from its library of films because of its depiction of slavery and racism. HBO says that it will not allow people to watch the film until it can create “an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions.” In other words, people will have to wait until they can be properly educated with the addition of a warning and introduction. “After all”, as Scarlett O’Hara said in the film, “tomorrow is another day!”
Figures from Glenn Greenwald to Tucker Carlson have raised the recent posting by University of Chicago Professor Brian Leiter saying that military leaders should “depose” President Donald Trump and jail him. The posting was either a poor attempt at a coup or comedy. The real problem is that in today’s environment it was unclear and, worse yet, unremarkable. On Reddit, readers were directed to “Brian Leiter (UoC professor) calls for a military coup: “Trump should be deposed and jailed” Leiter removed the statement and blamed the lack of a sense of humor on those who objected. He was not calling for a coup d’état, just musing about the possibility of a coup d’état.
Today we discussed the vow of the majority of the Minneapolis City Council to “dismantle” the police department as well as some historical comparisons to such radical actions. That effort was led in part by Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender who appeared today on CNN. When CNN’s Alisyn Camerota asked about those who are concerned about their personal safety, Bender said that such concerns “comes from a place of privilege” and that people are now experiencing the reality of life for African Americans. While not explored further by CNN, there is at least a possibility that the fear of a home intruder is not “coming from a place of privilege” but a place of self-preservation.
My last column explored how the movement for reform after the death of George Floyd is being taken over by the most radical voices among politicians, activists, and commentators. The analogy to the French Revolution seems more and more apt by the hour. Last night, a veto proof majority on the Minneapolis City Counsel vowed to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department as a “toxic” institution. What was dismissed by many in the media as simply rhetorical is now the official position of the city council of a major city with other such demands being made across the country.
In Chicago, a man wearing a Joker mask set fire to a police SUV in broad daylight. The problem is that Timothy O’Donnell has a prominent tattoo on his neck reading “Pretty.” That was one of the ways that police were able to identity him for arrest. The case however highlights the expansive claim of federal jurisdiction being used by the Justice Department.
Yesterday I wrote about the curious effort by some in politics and the media to portray “Russians” or “White Supremacists” as driving the rioting in various cities. The role of anarchists and Antifa members was obvious — and reinforced by arrests reported in various cities. This gold encrusted arrestee is Matthew Lee Rupert, 28, who was arrested in Chicago trying to pass out explosives — allegedly much like the two attorneys arrested in New York. The evidence includes a videotape on which Rupert states “we came to riot.”
While many have condemned Antifa and similar groups for destroying Minneapolis and other cities, Minneapolis city council member for Ward 5 (and son of the Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison) Jeremiah Ellison tweeted Sunday that he is not among them. Indeed, he is declaring his support for Antifa. Some of us have long opposed Antifa as a vehemently anti-free speech group. Ellison does not seem to include free speech among his priorities for voters in Ward 5. While most Democratic members have correctly condemned Antifa attacks, Ellison is one of those who continue to support the controversial group.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is facing criticism for a curious distinction that he drew in a message to protesters about how they should treat the national guard versus the police. Ellison has been in a difficult spot over the rioting following the death of George Floyd in an arrest by the Minneapolis Police Department. I thought he did well in a recent interview in resisting pressure to declare the officers clearly guilty and cautioned that everyone should allow the system to work in the bringing of any criminal charges. On this occasion, however, he seemed to throw the police, including state police and other assisting jurisdictions, under the bus.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
It seems the Trump 2020 campaign has successfully taken the cryptozoological demographic as evidenced by at least one prominent display in rural Washington State: “Bigfoot ‘Luvs’ Trump”.
The significance of this announcement cannot be understated, for it shows how even the most disaffected, and disinterested citizen of this state literally “came out of nowhere” and made it plainly clear that he was dissatisfied with the situation in the woods of Western Washington.
This dramatic shift should be a wake-up call for President Trump’s opponents in the race for the White House.