Charlottesville Protest Leads To Call For Expansion of Hate Crime and Terrorism Laws

james-alex-fields-jr-f77d1f9e078c37aeBelow is my column in The Hill on the calls for hate crime and terrorism charges against James Fields and possibly others.  The response is understandable, but the expansion of these laws raise serious free speech concerns that should be considered before prosecutors move beyond the current murder charge.

Continue reading

Gambino-Lite: Accusing Trump Of A Half-Truth Does Not Constitute A Whole Crime

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedBelow is my column in The Hill Newspaper on the most recent allegation of criminal conduct by President Donald Trump or his family.  Added to the ever-lengthening list of clear crimes is now witness tampering despite the fact that it does not come close to any prior definition of that crime.  Both Professor Lawrence Tribe and CNN Legal Analyst Norm Eisen (Eisen previously said that Trump’s conversations with James Comey could constitute witness tampering) have claimed that Trump’s dictating or contributing to the statement of his son, Donald Jr., on the Russian meeting establishes the basis for such a charge.  I obviously disagree.

Here is the column.

Continue reading

Scaramucci’s Profane Tirade Is No “Italian Thing”

scaramucciBelow is my column in USA Today on the profane and shocking statements by the new White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci.  The staements were later defended as “an Italian thing.”  The suggestion was that this was just a form of Italian venting.  It was not.  First, as someone raised in a Sicilian family, I would not have been able to sit for a month if I ever spoke like that to anyone.  Indeed, we just celebrated the 90th birthday of my mother, Angela Piazza Turley,  in Chicago. If she read such statements by me in the press, I would have been met with a cane at the door.  Second, this was not venting. It was raving and seriously undermined both Scaramucci and the Administration.

Here is the column:

Continue reading

The Doomsday Scenario: How Replacing Sessions Could Trigger A Cascading Series Of Unfortunate Events

Superman_Doomsday_logojeff_sessions_official_portraitBelow is my column in USA Today on the possibility of a “Doomsday scenario” where President Donald Trump first fired (or forces the resignation) of Jeff Sessions and then moves to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  That scenario was reinforced yesterday with reports that Trump has discussed firing Sessions and giving a recess appointment to his successor — the very scenario laid out earlier in this column.   In addition, Trump blasted Sessions again yesterday — this time criticizing him for not replacing Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, whose wife ran for office in Virginia in 2015 and received large contributions from the Democratic Party.   

Trump’s unrelenting criticism of Sessions is occurring at the same time as new leaks about his discussing not just a replacement but a recess appointment — something the Democrats have vowed to prevent.  The question is whether some Republicans might join in that effort to prevent the type of Doomsday scenario laid out in this earlier column.

Continue reading

Trump And The Epiphany of Clarity: The Case For And Against Self-Pardons

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedBelow is my column in the Hill Newspaper on the continuing debate over the constitutionality of self-pardons.  While I view this question as a close one, I do not agree with commentators like Brookings Fellow Norman Eisen that any claim that a president can self-pardon is “absurd.”  To the contrary, I believe that Trump would have a 50-50 chance in any challenge.

Of course, the first challenge to working out the merits of such arguments would be securing judicial view. In case like Ex Parte Garland (1866), the Supreme Court has previously treated the pardon power as largely unfettered and political in natural – a power that can be used for any federal offense before, during or after a prosecution. It is not something ordinarily subject to judicial review. It is possible that a federal prosecutor could seek to bring a charge and force a court to rule on a motion to quash an indictment based on a prior self-pardon.  A decision could easily go either way on this type of close and intractable question.

Here is the column:
Continue reading

Government Ethics and the Russian Investigation: How Trump Officials, Investigators, and Critics Have Created An Ethical Quagmire In Washington

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedBelow is column in USA Today on the widening number of ethical issues generated during the Trump Administration. I have been critical of some of the practices of the Trump Administration from nepotism to retroactive waivers to failures to divest.  However, there should be equal concern and attention over some of the actions of Trump critics.  It seems that the rising political passions are blinded both sides to core ethical principles and considerations.

Here is the column.

Continue reading

Roper’s Resolve: Critics Seek Dangerous Extensions Of Treason and Other Crimes To Prosecute The Trumps

A_Man_for_All_Seasons_(1966_movie_poster)Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on how critics of Donald Trump have been calling for radical extensions or interpretations of criminal provisions against core figures. The implications for such interpretations of crimes like treason need to be considered by critics.

Continue reading