“Fake News, Fake News”: Trump Denies That He Wanted To Fire Mueller In June

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedAt the Davos conference in Switzerland, President Donald Trump denied the New York Times account that he ordered the firing of Special Counsel in June but was prevented by doing so when White House Counsel Don McGahn threatened to resign.  It is a highly disturbing allegation since such an act would have been catastrophic for the Trump Administration.  Now however President Trump is denying the story — responding to reporters with “fake news, fake news.”  What is curious is that the White House and particularly the White House Counsel did not deny the story.

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California’s Immigrant Worker Law Hands The Trump Administration A Golden Opportunity To Curtail The Golden State

imagesBelow is my column in the Hill newspaper on the new California law that the state Attorney General is pledging to enforce against employers who are cooperating with federal immigration authorities.  There are ample grounds for either businesses or the federal government or both to bring a legal action.  The arguments of California in Arizona v. United States — and the holding in that case — could prove damaging to the position of the state.

 

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Should Judges Push For Arguments By Female Lawyers?

sealThere was an interesting article in the ABA Journal this week discussing how U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Wolford has responded to a New York State Bar Association report on women participating in court arguments at a lower rate than men.  Wolford went public with how she has made it clear that, in a case where female associates were present, the court wanted to hear the argument from those attorneys as opposed to their male counterparts.  The “suggestion” raises some obvious concerns over the use of gender or age in such decisions as well as the impact on a client’s choice of counsel.

The effort of Wolford to encourage the participation of female lawyers is commendable and the New York report identifies an area of obvious concern for the bar.  However, the question is the role of the court in pushing for arguments from lawyers based on gender or age.  How can a judge ideally pursue this well-meaning purpose and should there be limits?

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Happy Anniversary To Washington’s “Least Untruthful” Witness: Clapper To Avoid Perjury Prosecution In March

220px-James_R._Clapper_official_portraitBelow is an expanded version of my column that ran in USA Today on the approaching expiration of the statute of limitations for prosecuting former National Intelligence Director James Clapper for perjury.  This is a city that protects its own and Clapper is the Beltway equivalent of a made man.  People like Clapper do not get prosecuted.  We do not call them criminal; just complicated.

Here is the column:

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“God Tells Me I Gotta”: Texas Judge Tells A Jury To Acquit Defendant After A Communication From God

300px-god2-sistine_chapelJudge Jack Robison appears to be channeling a higher authority recently in Comal County, Texas.   Robison interrupted jurors during deliberations to inform the panel that God told him to acquit Gloria Romero-Perez of trafficking a teenage girl for sex.  It appears that divine judgment did not track well with the jury, which proceeded to find Perez guilty as charged.

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Welcome To China Town: Manafort Challenge The Scope of the Special Counsel investigation

Chinatownposter1Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the filing by Paul Manafort challenging the scope of the Special Counsel investigation.  Manafort’s filing of a civil action is quite telling in this circumstance.  As a criminal defendant, he can challenge the basis for the charges.  This seems like an effort to make a public case with little likelihood of legal success.  However, the public tends not to be particularly sympathetic with accused felons complaining that they were arrested by the wrong cop.  It is true that Manafort would likely not have been charged absent the Special Counsel investigation.  However, that is like complaining about the weather in Washington.

Here is the column:

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Judge Dismisses Bundy Case With Prejudice After Finding of Extensive Unethical Conduct By Federal Prosecutors

600px-US-DeptOfJustice-Seal.svg DOJAnother major case has been thrown out due to prosecutorial abuse by the United States Department of Justice.  We have previously discussed cases where federal prosecutors have withheld evidence and filed false or misleading statements to the court.  Now,  U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro has issued a dismissal with prejudice against the Justice Department in the case against Cliven Bundy and his sons due to what Navarro describes as flagrant and knowing violations of professional ethics and federal law by the Justice Department.  In past cases, the Justice Department has shown little commitment to discipline, let alone terminate, anyone for the violations (or the waste of millions of dollars).  In this case, however, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has called for a review of the case.

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