Menendez Case Goes To Jury . . . Jurors Sends Out Question “What Is A Senator?”

220px-The_Jury_by_John_MorganOk, maybe counsel over shot the jury a bit in the trial of Senator Robert Menendez. The Senator is facing allegations of bribes from Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen ranging from luxury vacations to luxury flights to campaign contributions.   After presenting a fairly complex case of gifts, influence peddling, and nuanced criminal standards, a question can back from the jury.  The juror asked the judge “what is a senator?”

 

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Clinton Campaign Lawyer Marc Elias Allegedly Sat Next To Podesta As He Denied Any Campaign Involvement in the Russian Dossier

download-1Yesterday, we discussed the potentially precarious ethical position of Hillary Clinton’s campaign lawyer Marc Elias, who allegedly denied media reports that the Clinton campaign had any connection to the controversial Russian Dossier.  After the Washington Post ran an extensive story on how the Clinton Campaign and Democratic National Committee hired controversial research firm Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on Donald Trump in Russia in the “Russian Dossier” matter.  Reporters at the New York Times have accused Elias of lying in past categorical denials of any connection to Clinton or the DNC.  The reports indicate that not only did the Clinton team fund the opposition research but that Elias may have been the person handling much of the arrangements.  Now Elias’ position has worsened after a report out of Congress that he was present in an interview when campaign chairman John Podesta denied any campaign role in the funding or acquisition of the dossier.

 

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Unfit or Unpopular? Trump Critics Turn To The 25th Amendment To End His Presidency

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedBelow is my column in the Washington Post on the movement to remove President Donald Trump through Section 4 of the 25th Amendment.  Richard Painter, the chief White House ethics lawyer under George W. Bush recently declared the “answer” to Trump suggestion of a Democrat and Russian collusion in the election is “Amendment 25.”  Previously, Painter wrote a piece with clinical psychologist Leanne Watt, Ph.D. where they discussed the “downward mental health spiral” of Trump. They identified the illness as “extreme narcissism or self-centeredness” as well as “an extreme anti-social tendency, an inability to understand how other people feel.” That, Painter suggests, is enough for the first removal of a president under the 25th Amendment in the history of the country. If so, half of the presidents could have been removed for their “self-centeredness” and “anti-social tendencies.”  I strongly disagree with such interpretations.

Here is the column:

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“REDEMPTION”: EO3 AND THE TRAVEL BAN 3.0 SEQUEL

images-1donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedBelow is my column in the Hill Newspaper on third round of litigation over the immigration orders issued by President Donald Trump.  On Friday, in Honolulu, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson converted the earlier temporary restraining order into a preliminary injunction.  With the two decisions in Hawaii and Maryland, the appeals should move on an expedited basis back to the Supreme Court (which is expected to dismiss the second immigration case from the second round of litigation this week).  Like T3, EO3 could be named “Redemption” as the Administration gears up for what is likely (and hopefully) the final round in this series.

Here is the column:

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Court Rules That Menendez Case Will Go To The Jury For A Verdict On Public Corruption

800x-1Senator Robert Menendez and his close friend Salomon Melgen, a Florida eye doctor, are heading to a jury decision after U.S. District Judge William Walls ruled that the indictment against them for public corruption would stand.   Menendez not only stands in considerable jeopardy for his highly questionable relationship with Melgen but his conviction could flip the seat in the Senate since Governor Chris Christie would appoint his successor. ( A new governor will be elected for January).

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Democrats Challenge The Right Of Trump To Rescind Obama Order That A Federal Court Declared Unconstitutional

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedHealth_Care_Delivery_System_Reform_and_The_Patient_Protection_&_Affodable_Care_Act.pdfThere are now eighteen states and the District of Columbia lined up to challenge the executive order by President Donald Trump to rescind the Obama order giving insurance companies billions in subsidies . . . without an appropriation of Congress.  As explained below, this challenge advances a rather curious claim that Trump cannot rescind an earlier order found to be flagrantly unconstitutional by a federal court.  In most high-profile litigation cases, counsel spends considerable time exploring whether a challenge will allow a bad case to make bad law on appeal.  That would seem the most likely outcome here but much of the litigation by Democratic Attorneys General have been driven more by political than legal calculations.  Voters now expect every act of Trump to be challenged and no Democratic AG wants to be the only one to sit out a challenge to an unpopular order.  The result is a type of perpetual litigation machine where bad precedent is being cranked out because it is viewed as good politics.

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Gun Control After Heller: The Second Amendment Requires More Than Passing Rational Responses To An Irrational Act

260px-capitol_building_full_viewBelow is my column in the Hill Newspaper on the proposals for new gun control measures in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre.  As I discuss below, there are some obvious possible measures that could pass constitutional muster like banning bump stocks (which allow semi-automatic weapons to perform more like automatic weapons) and conversion kits.  However, these proposals would not have prevented the massacre.  There are many “work arounds” for semi-automatic weapons and Paddock would have likely passed any enhanced background checks.  Nevertheless, GOP members have expressed interest in some additional gun control  measures.  

Here is the column:

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