Category: Columns

If There Was Doppler Radar For Hypocrisy, Washington Would Be Under A Mandatory Evacuation Order

download-8Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the unfolding controversy surrounding the allegations of attempted rape leveled against Judge Brett Kavanaugh.  The Republicans have called for a Monday hearing with both Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh.  However, while saying earlier that she was prepared to testify, the Committee said that Ford had not responded to multiple invitation. She has called for an investigation before she will testify — a condition that is difficult to square with her earlier statements via her counsel. In the meantime, Democrats have objected that more witnesses have not been called, including Kavanaugh high school friend Mark Judge.  Judge however has indicated that he would refuse to testify.  In other words, this is a complete mess.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “If There Was Doppler Radar For Hypocrisy, Washington Would Be Under A Mandatory Evacuation Order”

The Winners and Losers Of The Manafort Plea Bargain

Below is my column in The Hill on the Manafort plea agreement, which continued to release an unrestrained joy and ecstasy among commentators, who (yet again) predicted the imminent demise of Donald Trump. Norman Eisen, who served as White House Special Counsel for Ethics and Government Reform in the Obama administration, predicted that President Trump wouldn’t “survive” Manafort’s testimony.  That is of course without knowing if Manafort has anything damaging on Trump.  This appears an example of hope over experience in light of prior predictions of imminent indictments and resignations.  Manafort may have damaging information or he may not. There are however some clear winners and losers in the Manafort plea that are not based on pure speculation.

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Losing The High Ground: Democrats Hit Kavanaugh With Anonymous Allegation Of Sexual Assault From High School

Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the recent allegation of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the demand for a delay in his confirmation vote.  Both Kavanaugh and the other man referenced in the anonymous letter have denied the allegations from their high school days.  The reported law professor who contacted Congress appears to want the allegation considered by members but has refused to come forward and said that she did not want to be drawn into the controversy.  If that was her position, Democrats have now done the opposite and leaked the letter’s details and called for a full investigation.  If this is a law professor, it is unclear why she is not willing to come forward with an allegation of a sexual assault.  She clearly thought that the allegation should be raised with Congress but has refused to come forward to substantiate the claims. That leaves Kavanaugh in a grossly unfair position in my view.  UPDATE: Kavanaugh’s accuser has now gone public.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “Losing The High Ground: Democrats Hit Kavanaugh With Anonymous Allegation Of Sexual Assault From High School”

A Bill Comes Due: Susan Collins Faces Rising Demands To Fulfill Her Promise To Vote Against A Presumed Anti-Roe Nominee

440px-Susan_Collins_official_Senate_photoBelow is my column in The Hill newspaper on the rising pressure on Sen. Susan Collins over her vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.  There is considerable anger over Collins maintaining that she would never vote for a nominee hostile to Roe v. Wade but refusing to acknowledge the widespread view of Kavanaugh as not only hostile to the reasoning of Roe but appointed by a president who promised only to nominate an anti-Roe justice.  As with Neil Gorsuch, Collins appears inclined to vote for Kavanaugh despite her oft-repeated pledge.   She insists that she is comfortable after Kavanaugh told her that Roe is “settled” law.  However, many have put Collins’ position as falling somewhere between hopeful thinking and willful blindness.  As discussed below, the unsettling thing about settled law is that only five votes make anything truly settled on the Court.

Adding to the political dimension are polls showing that the hearings did not produce a bump for confirmation.  The latest polling shows 38 percent in favor of Kavanaugh and 39 percent opposed. 

Here is the column: Continue reading “A Bill Comes Due: Susan Collins Faces Rising Demands To Fulfill Her Promise To Vote Against A Presumed Anti-Roe Nominee”

The Real Spartacus Moment: How The Kavanaugh Hearing Played Out A Familiar Tale Of Ambition and Hubris

Tod_des_Spartacus_by_Hermann_Vogel.jpgBelow is my column in The Hill newspaper on the controversial declaration of Sen. Cory Booker (D, NJ) that he was taking his “Spartacus” stand in releasing a restricted, non-public document regardless of the consequences. Well, it was not quite a dramatic as suggested since the document was in fact already public.   As should come as no surprise to many of you who know my love for military history, I did however appreciate the reference.

Here is the column: Continue reading “The Real Spartacus Moment: How The Kavanaugh Hearing Played Out A Familiar Tale Of Ambition and Hubris”

Democratic Attacks On The Supreme Court Confuse Patterns of Principle with Politics

440px-Sheldon_Whitehouse_2010Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing and the opening statement of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse attacking the conservatives on the Supreme Court as a virtual ideological cabal.  I have always found Whitehouse an articulate and insightful member of the Congress.  He was not alone in these attacks.  However, I found the attack on the current justices to be unwarranted and distorted.  There is a tendency when you disagree with a decision like Hobby Lobby to conclude that the motivations of the justices must therefore be raw politics.  The possibility that the justices, including Justice Kennedy, are following a coherent jurisprudential view is dismissed in favor of partisanship.

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The Notorious RBG and the Problem With The Celebrity Justice

download-2Below is my column in The Hill on the continuing promotionals for “The Notorious RBG.”  I have long been a critic of this trend toward celebrity justices and the discomfort over these campaigns is not simply about Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  The culture of the Court is changing and I do not believe it is  changing for the better.

Here is the column:
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In Search Of The “Happier Prospect”: Trump Moves Toward The Removal Of McGahn and Sessions

160px-Official_Portrait_of_President_Donald_Trump_(cropped)Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the departure of White House Counsel Don McGahn.  Trump is now strongly suggesting that he may allow Attorney General Jeff Sessions to remain but only until after the approaching November elections.  At that point, the situation could change rapidly and dangerously with a divided Congress.  With the expected departure of both McGahn and Sessions, the next chapter appears a paraphrase of Dick the Butcher in Henry VI ”The first thing we dolet’s kill fire all the lawyers.”  Obviously, much will depend on their replacements but Sessions’ removal (and the reason for the removal) is far more problematic. Continue reading “In Search Of The “Happier Prospect”: Trump Moves Toward The Removal Of McGahn and Sessions”

Lanny Davis And The Year Of Lawyers Living Dangerously

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the recent admission by Michael Cohen’s lawyer that he was the source on what appears a false story on the meeting at Trump Tower with Russians and Trump officials.  Davis also admitted that he lied to the media in denying that he was the source of the story.  It may be too early to predict the demise of Davis. We discussed earlier the controversy surrounding former CNN commentator and DNC official Donna Brazile lied to the public about being the author of hacked emails giving Hillary Clinton debate questions in advance. She is back as a commentator on various networks.

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The Great American Witness Auction: How Michael Cohen And Others Are Making Millions In A Testimony Market

Microcosm_of_London_Plate_006_-_Auction_Room,_Christie's_(colour)Below is my column in The Hill on the curious role that Gofundme is playing in the ongoing controversies surrounding the Trump Administration.  There is an emerging type of market for witnesses on both sides where they compete for donors based on their potential value attacking or defending President Donald Trump.

Here is the column: Continue reading “The Great American Witness Auction: How Michael Cohen And Others Are Making Millions In A Testimony Market”

Michael Cohen’s New Role As The “Liberated” Liar “Speaking Truth To Power”

Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on Michael Cohen’s emergence as a witness against President Donald Trump. The man who declared that he would take a bullet for the President just took a plea. In the meantime, Trump friend David Pecker has been given immunity and reportedly implicated Trump in knowing about the hush money payments before they were made.  In what could well be the worst development, Allen  Weisselberg, chief financial officer for the Trump Organization, has been granted immunity.  Weisselberg is referred in the tapes Cohen secretly recorded with Trump and could offer highly damaging and detailed evidence of any criminal conduct.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Michael Cohen’s New Role As The “Liberated” Liar “Speaking Truth To Power””

One Voice Louder Than Others: Manafort’s Diminishing Options

ManafortBelow is my column in USA Today on the increasingly dire situation for Paul Manafort who is looking at roughly a decade of potential jail time after the convictions in Alexandria — and substantially more jail time if convicted in the upcoming trial in Washington, D.C.  In the meantime, yesterday, White House said that no decision has been made yet on a possible pardon for Manafort.

Manafort once said, while he listens to everyone, Trump’s voice was louder than others. That voice must be uncomfortably quiet in the aftermath of the verdict.

Here is the column: Continue reading “One Voice Louder Than Others: Manafort’s Diminishing Options”

Manafort Heads To D.C. With Eight Felonies . . . And An Increasingly Desperate Pardon Strategy

ManafortBelow is my column in The Hill newspaper on the implications of the conviction of Paul Manafort in Alexandria Virginia.  Notably, if President Donald Trump is inclined to pardon Manafort, he may want to do it before the approaching start of the D.C. trial.  The counts in the new trial are a true parade of horribles for Manafort and his image will hardly improve by the end. He will face details over his work for a blood-soaked authoritarian figure who fled into exile to Moscow.  It will be much more difficult to portray Manafort as a victim and a “good man” after that evidence is aired in open court.

I previously warned that Manafort’s obvious hung jury strategy was likely to fail.  He is now left with only his pardon strategy, though his lawyer ominously warned that he is considering “all of his options.”

Continue reading “Manafort Heads To D.C. With Eight Felonies . . . And An Increasingly Desperate Pardon Strategy”

Manafort’s Curious Defense: It Is Easy To Hang on A Hung Jury Strategy

ManafortBelow is my column in the Hill newspaper on the continuing jury deliberations in the trial of Paul Manafort in Alexandria, Virginia.  Defense counsel generally take heart in the passage of time as an indication that the jury is having difficulty in reaching a verdict. However, it can be deceiving. I took over a case in this same courthouse after a jury deliberated over a week and still convicted on all counts.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Manafort’s Curious Defense: It Is Easy To Hang on A Hung Jury Strategy”

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”