Category: Congress

Democrats Cannot Erase The History Or Hypocrisy Of The Filibuster

Below is my column on the ongoing Democratic effort to get rid of the Senate filibuster. There are good-faith arguments against filibusters but there is a new campaign to declare the rule as racist. Once again, many in the media are ignoring both the history and hypocrisy surrounding the filibuster, including in the press conference last week with President Joe Biden. Biden was not asked in multiple questions on the filibuster about his defense of a rule that he now dismisses as a racist relic. In 2005 he stated:

The Senate ought not act rashly by changing its rules to satisfy a strong-willed majority acting in the heat of the moment…Proponents of the ‘nuclear option’ argue that their proposal is simply the latest iteration of a growing trend towards majoritarianism in the Senate. God save us from that fate, if it is true…Adopting the ‘nuclear option’ would change this fundamental understanding and unbroken practice of what the Senate is all about. Senators would start thinking about changing other rules when they became “inconvenient.” …Altering Senate rules to help in one political fight or another could become standard operating procedure, which, in my view, would be disastrous.”

Here is the column:

“Tomorrow It Could Be Somebody Else”: Bernie Sanders Comes Out Against Trump Twitter Ban

Twitter LogoSen Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) came out against the Twitter ban of former president Donald Trump yesterday.  Sanders expressed his discomfort with the role of Big Tech in censorship viewpoints, a sharp departure from his Democratic colleagues who have demanded more such corporate censorship. Continue reading ““Tomorrow It Could Be Somebody Else”: Bernie Sanders Comes Out Against Trump Twitter Ban”

Condemnation or Commendation? GOP Moves To Strip Swalwell From Intel Committee But The File Remains Sealed

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy filed a resolution aimed to remove Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The privileged resolution will force a vote (if only to table to resolution) and members will have to go on record on the scandal. Swalwell reportedly had an intimate relationship with a Chinese spy who raised money for him and helped place individuals in his office. However, he has insisted that he did not reveal classified information and that the FBI found no wrongdoing. Two striking narratives will emerge in the vote.  McCarthy insists that the sealed file shows disqualifying conduct while Democrats have portrayed Swalwell in more heroic terms, including one leading Democrat actually saying that Swalwell deserves to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for the affair.  Putting aside the manifest ineligibility of Swalwell on both a technical and credible basis, the immediate question is why the file remains sealed in its entirely since the Chinese and its spy already know what happened.  So does Swalwell. The only people in the dark are most voting members and, of course, the voters themselves.  The closed file raises a difficult question balancing the need for an informed vote for members against the need for privacy for an accused member.

Continue reading “Condemnation or Commendation? GOP Moves To Strip Swalwell From Intel Committee But The File Remains Sealed”

Flipping The Byrd: Democrats Demand The Firing Of The Senate Parliamentarian After The Minimum Wage Hike Is Deemed Out of Order

Democratic members this week attacked Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough after she (correctly) ruled that the inclusion of the $15 minimum wage hike in a reconciliation bill violated Senate rules. The response from Democratic members and many in the blogosphere was withering.  Rep. Ilhan Omar called for MacDonough to be fired and others denounced her actions and called the Senate to simply overrule her — and the long-standing rules.  It is not just the effort to gut or flip the “Byrd Rule” but vicious attacks on this parliamentarian that are so disconcerting.

Continue reading “Flipping The Byrd: Democrats Demand The Firing Of The Senate Parliamentarian After The Minimum Wage Hike Is Deemed Out of Order”

“Not All TV News Sources Are The Same”: Congress And The Slippery Slope Of Censorship

Congressional SealBelow is my column in the Hill on yesterday’s hearing on possible private and public limitations on free speech and the free press, including a letter from Democratic members asking companies why they do not remove Fox News and networks from cable. I recently responded to comments made by Rep. Anna Eshoo in the hearing.  However, the letter highlighted the continuing pressure from members on both Big Tech and cable suppliers to silence opposing viewpoints. What was most disappointing was that no Democratic members used the hearing to offer a simple and unifying statement: we oppose efforts to remove Fox News and these other networks from cable programming. Not a single Democratic member made that statement, which (in my view) should be easy for anyone who believes in free speech and the free press. Even though every witness (including one who lost her father to Covid-19) made that statement, no Democratic member was willing to state publicly that they would oppose efforts to remove Fox News from cable access. That silence was also chilling to the point of glacial.

Here is the column:

Continue reading ““Not All TV News Sources Are The Same”: Congress And The Slippery Slope Of Censorship”

“It All Meant Something. Until It Didn’t”: A Response To Rep. Anna Eshoo

I testified yesterday on possible private and public limitations on free speech and the free press, including a letter from Democratic members pressing companies to remove Fox News and networks from cable.  Democratic members sent the letter to AT&T, Verizon, Roku, Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Charter, DISH, Cox, Altice, Hulu and Google’s parent company, Alphabet. During the hearing, House Democrat Anna Eshoo (D., Cal.) insisted that she was only “asking questions” and then reframed the objections to the letter as whether the letter itself was a violation of the First Amendment. It seemed like the line from A Hologram for the King: “It all meant something. Until it didn’t.”

Given the limited opportunity to respond to Rep. Eshoo in the hearing, I wanted to respond. Continue reading ““It All Meant Something. Until It Didn’t”: A Response To Rep. Anna Eshoo”

Turley Testifies On Free Speech and The Free Press In House Hearing

I have the honor of testifying this afternoon before the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The hearing will address calls for public and private regulation of speech, including the recent letter from Democratic members asking why Fox News and other networks should be allowed on cable news. The hearing entitled “Fanning The Flames: Disinformation and Extremism In The Media” will be held at 12:30. My testimony is below.

Continue reading “Turley Testifies On Free Speech and The Free Press In House Hearing”

Portman’s Principled Stand: A Response To The Cincinnati Enquirer

Below is my column in the Cincinnati Enquirer in response to a column criticizing Sen. Rob Portman for his vote to acquit former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial. Portman (who recently announced that he will not run for reelection) is one of the most thoughtful and decent figures in Congress. James Freeman Clarke once said “A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman of the next generation. A politician looks for the success of his party; a statesman for that of his country.” I have spoken with Sen. Portman on constitutional and legal issues for years and he always epitomized what Clarke meant about a true statesman.  His decision not to seek reelection was a blow for the Senate as someone who was eager to work with the other party on finding solutions to our growing national problems. That is why I felt I had to respond to a recent column by Opinion Editor Kevin Aldridge. I have no doubt about Aldridge’s good-faith disagreement with the verdict. However, we need to reach a place where we can disagree on such issues without questioning each other’s integrity or honesty. To that end, I want to thank the Cincinnati Enquirer (and Mr. Aldridge) for having the integrity of running my column.  This is the essence of dialogue and we may find that what divides us is not nearly as great as what unites us as citizens.

 

Here is the column: Continue reading “Portman’s Principled Stand: A Response To The Cincinnati Enquirer”

“A Date Which Will Live In Infamy”: The Other Scandal From The Capitol Riot

Below is my column in the Hill on the lingering questions over decisions made in Congress before the Capitol riot on January 6th.  The analogy to Pearl Harbor drawn by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer may be more telling than intended.

Here is the column:

Continue reading ““A Date Which Will Live In Infamy”: The Other Scandal From The Capitol Riot”

New Comey Email Raises Additional Questions About His Use and Defense of The Steele Dossier

There is a new and intriguing document related to the Russian investigation out this week. Justthenews has released a previously undisclosed email from former FBI Director James Comey that raises additional questions about his role in using the now discredited Steele dossier as part of the FBI Russian investigation. The email on Jan. 12, 2017 email to then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper falsely claims that Christopher Steele was found to be “reliable” but then states that the FBI could not “sufficiently corroborate the reporting.” The email went out the same day that Comey signed a FISA surveillance warrant application declaring that content from Christopher Steele’s dossier had been “verified.” We are still waiting for the results of the John Durham investigation but this email raised additional questions about Comey’s role. Comey has testified that he would not have approved such surveillance if he knew then what he knew now about the Steele dossier. Continue reading “New Comey Email Raises Additional Questions About His Use and Defense of The Steele Dossier”

Mutual Destruction: How Trump’s Trial Became A Tale Of Constitutional Noir

Below is my column in the Hill on second Trump trial and how core values quickly became the extraneous to the purpose of this constitutional process.  The final chaos triggered by Rep. Jaime Raskin (D., Md) only highlighted the procedural and legal irregularities in a trial that seem increasingly detached from values like due process.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “Mutual Destruction: How Trump’s Trial Became A Tale Of Constitutional Noir”

A Return To Rage: Schumer and Pelosi Attack Members Who Voted To Acquit As Political Cowards and Shills

There was a palpable sense of relief in Washington as the Trump trial came to a chaotic but final end. The verdict is in so now the vilification can begin. Both Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi immediately weaponized the verdict and demonized those who voted to acquit. While the Democrats insisted that all senators should “vote their conscience” that only meant if their conscience supported their side.  Pelosi denounced opposing senators as cowards while Schumer lashed out at them for holding an opposing view of the evidence or the process.  While groups are targeting members on both sides of the trial, our leaders should be calling for unity and civility after the trial. Instead, they are fueling the politics of division.

Continue reading “A Return To Rage: Schumer and Pelosi Attack Members Who Voted To Acquit As Political Cowards and Shills”

Did The Democrats “Tank” The Second Trump Trial?

Below is my column in USA Today on the lack of a strategy by the House to secure conviction in the trial of former President Donald Trump. As I have previously noted, the House managers did an excellent job in their presentations and many of the videotapes rekindled the anger that most of us felt over the riot. They also reinforced the view of many (including myself) that former president Donald Trump bears responsibility in the tragedy that unfolded due to his reckless rhetoric. Yet, there was a glaring omission in the substance of the House arguments. The managers did not lay out what the standard should be in convicting a former president for incitement of an insurrection and only briefly touched on proving any “state of mind” needed for such a conviction. That is why I have referred to their case as more emotive than probative. It lacked direct evidence to support the claim that Trump wanted to incite an actual insurrection or rebellion against the United States, as alleged in the article of impeachment.  I do not believe that an acquittal was inevitable in this case, but it was all but assured by critical decisions made by the House in this impeachment. The unforced errors discussed below raise the question of whether the Democrats “tanked” the trial.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “Did The Democrats “Tank” The Second Trump Trial?”

“Much To Do About Nothing”: The Withdrawal Of The Lee Claim Has “Much To Do” With A Glaring Flaw In The House Case

At the end of its first day of argument, the Senate trial was thrown into chaos when a “juror” stood up like a scene out of Perry Mason to contest the veracity statements made by “prosecutors.” That moment came as the Senate was preparing to end for the day and Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah) jumped to his feet to object that a quote by House manager Rep. David Cicilline (D., R.I.) was false. Lee should know. They were purportedly his words.  After a frenzy on the floor and a delay of proceedings, lead House manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D., Md) announced that it would withdraw Cicilline’s statements and that “this is much ado about nothing, because it’s not critical in anyway to our case.” In reality, it had much to do about the manager’s case and highlights a glaring problem in its case.  The House has elected to try this case of incitement of insurrection largely on circumstantial evidence and using media reports rather than witness testimony. It is trial by innuendo and implication rather than direct evidence of what Trump knew and intended on January 6th. Continue reading ““Much To Do About Nothing”: The Withdrawal Of The Lee Claim Has “Much To Do” With A Glaring Flaw In The House Case”