Category: Columns

Chump Nation: The Establishment Quickly Returns To The Status Quo After The Election

220px-nancy_pelosidonald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedBelow is my column in The Hill newspaper on the rapid return to the status quo in both parties after the midterm elections, including the rapid discarding of promises made to voters on both sides.  Those massive middle-class tax cuts promised by the President before the year end?  Gone.  The promise of a new Democratic party infused with young members and new leadership? Gone.  What remains is the establishment which has succeeded again in replicating itself.  It does not matter if you are Republican or Democrat.  We have become a nation of chumps.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Chump Nation: The Establishment Quickly Returns To The Status Quo After The Election”

“I Answered Them Very Easily”: The Five Most Chilling Words In The Russian Investigation

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on reported completion of answers to the questions given to President Donald Trump by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  The White House anticipated giving the answers to the Special Counsel before Thanksgiving.  As noted below, that could put the collusion part of the investigation into high gear toward a report to Congress.

Here is the column: Continue reading ““I Answered Them Very Easily”: The Five Most Chilling Words In The Russian Investigation”

“Everybody Must Get Stone”: Mueller Moves Closer To The Possible Indictment Of Trump Confidant

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the next possible wave of indictments and specifically the targeting of Roger Stone.  This includes possible charges of false statements and more recent indications that Mueller is mulling witness tampering charges.  As Mueller prepares what may be his final set of indictments, there remains the absence of a direct U.S. figure connecting Trump to any collusion with Russia.  With Stone and former associate Jerome Corsi expecting indictments, there is a reasonable question of whether Mueller has truly run down a major figure or whether he is merely shooting the wounded at this point in his investigation.

Here is the column: Continue reading ““Everybody Must Get Stone”: Mueller Moves Closer To The Possible Indictment Of Trump Confidant”

The Prestige: How Trump Could Pull Off The Ultimate Trick in Shutting Down The Mueller Investigation

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on a novel way that President Donald Trump could use the Whitaker appointment to achieve what he has long sought: freezing or even ending the Mueller investigation.  As strange as it may seem, it could actually work if played correctly by the White House.  The White House could theoretically get a court to enjoin the Mueller investigation and keep Mueller frozen in amber until Trump’s final year when impeachment would practically impossible.

Here is the column: Continue reading “The Prestige: How Trump Could Pull Off The Ultimate Trick in Shutting Down The Mueller Investigation”

Stooge or Savior? Whitaker’s Actions Will Define Him And His Office

Matthew_G._Whitaker_official_photoBelow is my column in The Hill newspaper on the selection of Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General. While I believe that Whitaker meets the criteria under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, I have great reservations about that Act’s constitutionality in allowing unconfirmed individuals to serve in this position, as discussed in my prior column.  However, I do not believe that prior commentary as an attorney requires recusal under Justice Department rules.  Whitaker is about to establish a legacy as either a political stooge or principled lawyer.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Stooge or Savior? Whitaker’s Actions Will Define Him And His Office”

“More Sinned Against Than Sinning”: The Sacking of Sessions Leaves a Dangerous Delusion for Trump

jeff_sessions_official_portraitBelow is my column in USA Today on the sacking of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the implications for the Trump Administration.  The most worrisome thing about the forced resignation is that Trump still does not understand that Sessions not only took the only ethical course in recusing himself, but the best course for the Administration.

Here is the column: Continue reading ““More Sinned Against Than Sinning”: The Sacking of Sessions Leaves a Dangerous Delusion for Trump”

Politics By Other Means: Both Trump and Pelosi Suggest Using Investigations For Political Purposes

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the mutual threats from Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump to use investigations in a tit-for-tat struggle with the new Congress.  In his press conference after the election, Trump said that he is prepared to adopt the same “war-like” stance and “They can play that game, but we can play it better.”

This promises to be long and intense two years, but there does not appear to be much hope for actually addressing some of the important issues that divide this country.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Politics By Other Means: Both Trump and Pelosi Suggest Using Investigations For Political Purposes”

After 150 Years, Courts Should Clearly and Finally Define The Question Of Birthright Citizenship

As we have discussed over the last couple days, President Donald Trump’s pledge to end birthright citizenship by an executive order has caused a firestorm.  Where President Donald Trump is wrong is to claim the ability to end birthright citizenship for undocumented individuals through an executive order.  The column below in USA Today explains that Trump would lose under two out of three interpretations of the 14th Amendment.  Even if he prevailed on the one possible interpretation, I remain opposed (as I was under President Barack Obama) to unilaterally ordered such major changes through executive orders.   Putting aside the means, I have been surprised by the many statements that the meaning of the 14th Amendment as it relates to illegal or undocumented is absolutely unclear and unassailable.  In fact, while birthright citizenship is unassailable, the scope of the amendment has long been questioned including both Democratic and Republican members long proposing legislative limits (including former Sen. Harry Reid).  An argument can be made for a more limited meaning, even though the plain meaning of the Amendment (and the interpretation that I would tend to favor) would militate toward the broader meaning.  Regardless, a clear and final ruling on the 14th Amendment should be welcomed — confirming whether this is a matter for legislative reform or constitutional amendment.  Trump should drop the executive order approach so the focus of any judicial review is on the meaning of the 14th amendment and not the means used by the President.

Here is the column: Continue reading “After 150 Years, Courts Should Clearly and Finally Define The Question Of Birthright Citizenship”

Cultural Appropriation Is The Scariest Part Of Halloween This Year

vintage-halloween-costumes-2Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the now annual controversy over Halloween costumes and objections over cultural appropriation.  This week universities mounted campaigns against offensive costumes while commentators lashed out at cultural appropriation.  For example, students at Michigan State University this week were given warnings that a costume of a giant taco was not offensive but becomes offensive if the student puts on a sombrero.  Other colleges threatened discipline for costumes that are culturally appropriating or inappropriate.  These campaigns seem to grow each year even though we have never had a serious debate over the meaning and application of cultural appropriation charges over costumes.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Cultural Appropriation Is The Scariest Part Of Halloween This Year”

Till Death Do Us Part: Nellie Ohr Invokes Spousal Privilege To Refuse To Answer Questions From Congress

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the surprising invocation of spousal privilege by Nellie Our to refuse to answer questions about her communications with her husband, Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. While the privilege remains an important protection, this invocation raises serious questions about its use where a husband and wife mix marital and professional relationships.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Till Death Do Us Part: Nellie Ohr Invokes Spousal Privilege To Refuse To Answer Questions From Congress”

St. Lawrence University and The Effort To Rescind The Honorary Degree Of Susan Collins

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the call by alumni and professors at St. Lawrence University to strip Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) of her honorary degree in light of her vote to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh.  The university has now confirmed that they have never rescinded an honorary degree and will not start with Collins.  Putting aside the prevalent “rape culture” declared by almost a hundred faculty members, the two letters reflect the diminishing hold of intellectual honesty and integrity at our places of higher education.

Here is the column: Continue reading “St. Lawrence University and The Effort To Rescind The Honorary Degree Of Susan Collins”

Three Reasons Mueller May Not Charge On Obstruction

440px-Alfred_Hitchcock_(1955)Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the curious status of the obstruction investigation that was the original rationale for a special counsel investigation.  While Special Counsel Robert Mueller is likely to sharply chastise (with good reason) Trump’s comments and conduct vis-a-vis former FBI Director James Comey, he is not making any of the moves that one would expect from a prosecutor building an obstruction case.  Here are three reasons why this may be the Hickcockian bomb that does not go off. Continue reading “Three Reasons Mueller May Not Charge On Obstruction”

Fourteen Months and Counting: Rob Rosenstein Should Recuse Himself From The Mueller Probe

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on recent stories indicating that top Justice Department officials raised the recusal of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein back in June 2017.  I first raised Rosenstein’s recusal in June and August of that year when the Mueller investigation began based on his role in the firing of James Comey and I have repeatedly called for the recusal since then (here and here and here).  Unless Mueller has told Rosenstein that he does not consider obstruction to be a serious matter for criminal investigation in this context, it is difficult to see how Rosenstein can continue. Indeed, even if Mueller rejects obstruction theories, Rosenstein should not have continued as his superior in the investigation while that matter was explored in compliance with the mandate given Mueller.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “Fourteen Months and Counting: Rob Rosenstein Should Recuse Himself From The Mueller Probe”

“Horror Has A Face”: Primordial Politics and the Aftermath of the Kavanaugh Confirmation

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the aftermath of the Kavanaugh confirmation. It is not that there is no winner and loser as much as both Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh are both winners and losers.

It will take time to decide which party will benefit, but there is clearly Brett bump for Republicans going into the midterms.  Yet, the confirmation will also continue to resonate Democratic voters.

Continue reading ““Horror Has A Face”: Primordial Politics and the Aftermath of the Kavanaugh Confirmation”