There continues to be a virtual news blackout on coverage of the scandal involving House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Eric Swalwell reportedly having a long intimate relationship with a Chinese spy named Fang Fang. Some however were not content to simply ignore the story. In a more worthy of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Brad Woodhouse, the former DNC Communications Director, went on Fox News not to bury Swalwell but to praise him. Asked whether Swalwell should have been left on the House Intelligence Committee after an alleged intimate relationship with a Chinese spy, Woodhouse declared Swalwell did everything right after being notified by the FBI. He then added “we should give Eric Swalwell the congressional medal of honor his conduct.” As a military history buff, the comparison did not sit well with me, but it was particularly odd coming from Woodhouse. Continue reading “Former DNC Official: “We Should Give Eric Swalwell The Congressional Medal Of Honor For His Conduct””
“We did not belabor the point.” No words better capture the lack of intellectual and historical content of much of the cancel culture sweeping the nation. It was the response of Jeremiah Jeffries, the Chair of the San Francisco School Names Advisory Committee. The Committee has recommended the renaming of Abraham Lincoln High School as well as targeting the George Washington High School, Herbert Hoover Middle School and Paul Revere K-8. Even an elementary school named after Dianne Feinstein is being targeted. This is not the first such effort around the country that focused on Lincoln. We recently discussed the effort of University of Wisconsin college students to remove the prominent statue of Lincoln on campus as not sufficiently “pro black”and a single-handed symbol of white supremacy.”
I have previously criticized the Lincoln Project which has not only sought to dox Trump attorneys but fund a campaign of harassment targeting Republican lawyers, their firms, and their clients. The project was not only founded in part by lawyer George Conway but is funded by hundreds of lawyers who have remained silent as the Project engaged in such abusive conduct. Now, the Project has been reduced to open trolling with a commercial that literally has no value or purpose other than mocking President Trump. It is now an open trolling operations funded by lawyers around the country. To do so in the name of Abraham Lincoln is a particular disgrace.
We have been discussing the open bias shown by the media in the last four years. It is not clear if we can regain the ground lost for journalism as even journalism professors call for the rejection of objectivity in favor of advocacy. This has included shielding Joe Biden from any challenging questions during the recent election. That includes the news blackout on reporting on the Hunter Biden scandal, the subject of my column today in the Hill. CNN’s April Ryan personifies this trend. Even as the media is facing widespread criticism for burying the Hunter Biden story (and is now doing the same with the Swalwell scandal), Ryan lashed out at confidential sources responsible for leaking a recording of Joe Biden making embarrassing comments about the “defund the police” movement. Ryan is demanding to know who is responsible for allowing the embarrassing comments to be made public despite her past enthusiastic discussion of such leaks against President Donald Trump. Continue reading “CNN’s April Ryan Strikes Out At Reporters Disclosing Embarrassing Comments From Joe Biden”
It appears that Rep. Bill Pascrell (D., NJ) has a serious problem with Republicans going to court. We recently discussed Pascrell’s absurd effort to disbar roughly two dozen Republican lawyers for challenging the results of the 2020 election. Now Pascrell is declaring that 120 House Republicans signing a “Friend of the Court brief” (or amicus brief) is tantamount to supporting a rebellion against the United States and that they should be blocked from taking their seats in Congress. I previously denounced Pascrell for his “dangerous form of demagoguery.” This latest call shows the demagoguery has reached a level of utter delusion. Continue reading “No Friend of Congress: Pascrell Seeks To Block 120 House Republicans From Being Seated For Signing Amicus Brief”
A New York woman, Sarah Espinosa, 22, has been arrested for a rather odd offense after crashing her car while under the influence. That is unfortunately not particularly uncommon but she crashed her Prius into a firehouse while wearing a giant python around her neck. Beyond that curiosity, there is one aspect of her case that raises a question about redundant charging by prosecutors. Continue reading “New York Woman Wearing Python Hits Car, Crashes Through Firehouse, and Damages Firetrucks”
We often discuss media coverage and accuracy on developing legal and political controversies. Much of this discussion recently has focused on the bias shown by the media in the last four years. I have worked for the media as a legal analyst and columnist for years, but I have never before seen this raw and open bias in major media. At the same time, academics are rejecting the very concept of objectivity in journalism in favor of open advocacy.
This morning, Fox News called out all of the networks for zero coverage of the bombshell story from Axios that Rep. Eric Swalwell may have had a close relationship with a suspected Chinese spy who fled to China a few years ago. Many of us were struck by the lack of coverage, particularly given the position of Swalwell on the House Intelligence Committee and his former bid for the presidency. It was particularly striking when the media is now reluctantly covering the Hunter Biden story after a long blackout before the election. Yet, the most stark comparison is with the exhaustive coverage given the highly analogous story involving an alleged spy, Maria Butina, who had an affair with a high-ranking figure in the National Rifle Association. Continue reading “Is the Media Burying The Swalwell Story?”
We have been discussing how reporters, editors, commentators, and academics have embraced rising calls for censorship and speech controls, including President-elect Joe Biden and key advisers. This includes academics rejecting the very concept of objectivity in journalism in favor of open advocacy. Now, Columbia Journalism Dean and New Yorker writer Steve Coll has denounced how the First Amendment right to freedom of speech was being “weaponized” to protect disinformation. That’s right. A journalism dean and writer declaring that the problem is that free speech itself is allowing too much freedom on the Internet and other forums. Continue reading ““Free Speech Is Being Weaponized”: Columbia Dean and New Yorker Writer Calls For More Censorship”
Christopher Krebs, has filed a lawsuit against Trump attorney Joe diGenova over this controversial joke that Krebs should be “drawn and quartered” and then “shot” for his failures as the former head of U.S. cybersecurity. The lawsuit strikes me as meritless under governing tort doctrines. While Mark Zaid declared that “no rational person” who heard diGenova calling for a person to be drawn and quartered and then shot “would have taken it as ‘jest,’” many of us took the comment as an obvious use of exaggerated rhetoric. While I immediately condemned the language, I did not view it as a serious call for violence. Torts cases of defamation often turn common understanding of such expression as jokes or opinion. The lawsuit not only contradicts governing case law but threatens constitutional protections for free speech and the free press in seeking such tort relief.
Retired Gen. Michael Flynn embraced an extreme call this week for President Donald Trump to declare martial law to hold a new presidential election. In a tweet, Flynn appeared to endorse a call from We the People Convention to declare martial law. He added “Freedom never kneels except for God.” As someone who long criticized Flynn’s prosecution as abusive, his association is deeply disappointing. While it does not alter the view of the prosecution, it will alter the view of Flynn to support such a call. Continue reading “Flynn Retweets Call For Trump To Declare Martial Law To Hold New Elections”
We have been discussing the rising threats against Trump supporters, lawyers, and officials in recent weeks from Democratic members are calling for blacklists to the Lincoln Project leading a a national effort to harass and abuse any lawyers representing the Republican party or President Trump. Others are calling for banning those “complicit” from college campuses while still others are demanding a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” to “hold Trump and his enablers accountable for the crimes they have committed.” Now, Daily Beast editor-at-large Rick Wilson has added his own call for “humiliation,” “incarceration” and even ritualistic suicides for Trump supporters in an unhinged, vulgar column. Wilson declared “[o]nly exposure, pain, humiliation, and (inshallah) incarceration will lead to a moment of reckoning for the GOP.”
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
I found recently what may either be an unfortunate coincidence, a bad joke, or the invisible hand of Boer War veteran Harry “Breaker” Morant in police policymaking. In jest, could it be that the Boston Police Department took a line right out of the Australian film Breaker Morant when it codified the department’s Use of Deadly Force policy?
The irony might be for Australian war film buffs that the Boston Police, even when justified, actually do shoot people under “Rule 303”.
A deeply disturbing case in Los Angeles could raise some difficult legal questions. The police have released a video of three vehicles hitting that same man in the middle of a road and then fleeing the scene. The question is how to charge the drivers once they are apprehended. Continue reading “LAPD Searches For Three Drivers in Successive Hit-And-Runs Involving Same Victim”
We have been discussing the embarrassing failure of the media to ask President-elect Joe Biden any difficult questions throughout the campaign and creating a type of protective journalistic cocoon around him. That pattern has continued after the election with pre-selected reporters asking laughingly soft ball questions to Biden while continuing a virtual blackout on such stories as the Hunter Biden influence peddling controversy. Then something bizarre happened yesterday. A reporter actually asked Biden a real question. CBS News reporter Bo Erickson asked Biden about whether he would support the CDC rather than the teacher’s union on closing schools. Biden’s response was a personal attack on the reporter. This is simply not done and will not be tolerated. After all, think of the chaos: the entire press corps would be expected to ask questions and Biden would be expected to answer them. Continue reading “Say It Ain’t So, Joe: CBS Reporter Draws Ire Of Biden For Asking Substantive Question”
Attorney Bryan Lee Simmons, 50, has been sentenced to 48 months in federal prison for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. What is most striking is that Simmons cannot engage in the practice of law for three years. However, while unlikely to resume practicing in that time, it is a striking contrast to the alleged misconduct.
From July 2019 to August 2019, Simmons was part of a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in the Cass County Jail. He used attorney-client meetings to distribute the drugs while, on at least one occasion, traveling with a Colt MK IV .45 caliber pistol.
The plea agreement will result in the dismissal of a number of counts including two linked to the weapon.
Since his sentence is for four years, the three year bar on practicing law is likely to be easily satisfied. What would be interesting is whether advising other inmates as a “jailhouse lawyer” would be included. That is not necessarily “practicing law” since he is not filing papers or standing in a formal representational capacity. Moreover, he is free to represent himself in filings as an individual.